It was billed as a rebuilding year but the 2006-2007 edition of the Moncton Wildcats showed what could be done with dedication and hard work. For the fifth time in the history of the franchise, the Wildcats had another season of over 80 points. The final count was 84, finishing behind the front-running Lewiston MAINEiacs and second place Cape Breton. The Cats finished fourth overall in League standings. The season’s final numbers showed Moncton with a winning percentage of .557 over the 70 game schedule.
With the departure of Ted Nolan , Danny Flynn and Dan Lacroix to the New York Islanders of the NHL, owner Robert Irving signed Boston native John Torchetti to the position of Head Coach and Director of Hockey Operations. Torch’s resume showed time spent coaching in the pros with the Los Angeles Kings, Florida Panthers and Tampa Bay Lighting of the National Hockey League, along with seasons in the AHL, IHL, CHL and the East Coast Hockey League. Torchetti recruited Tony Martino and Sebastien LaPlante to join him as assistants.
The Wildcats had lost top flight offensive and defensive players from their League Championship team but through draft picks and free agent signings found a combination that worked. Winger Matt Marquardt led the team with 41 goals and 29 assists. Veteran blue-liners Nathan Welton and Andrew MacDonald ranked second and third in scoring with 62 and 58 points respectively. The Wildcats signed Phil Mangan of the Ontario Junior A League in November and he proved to be a great find, netting 25 goals in the 51 games he played.
Maxime Lincourt joined Moncton from Val d’Or during the trading period and added scoring punch lost with the departure of Jerome Samson , who went to the Foreurs as part of the Luc Bourdon trade of the previous year. Chris Gaudet , the team captain for two years and a four year veteran was a steadying influence as a two way player while second year players Chris Morehouse and Matt Eagles brought experience and maturity to the Wildcats lineup.
Goalie Jhase Sniderman , signed by the Wildcats as a back-up during the 2005-2006 season came into his own and won a number of games with spectacular puck stopping. Rookie Nicola Riopel showed he was ready to become the team’s first string future goaltender.
The wise drafting of past years showed for Moncton as PEI native Randy Cameron made an impact along with Marc Andre Labelle , Jason Lepage and Pierre-Marc Lessard made their presence felt. Free agents Matthew Brenton and Murdock MacLellan were other young players who made an impact. Alexi Panosi , Brad Ouskun and sophomore Nick Emanuele added strength to the defensive unit.
While the Wildcats faltered during the final weeks of the regular season, their gritty, no nonsense style of play served them well and allowed them to play well above the expectations of the fans.
The players and management gave credit to the coaching style of Torchetti, Martino and LaPlante. It was wildly felt that John Torchetti should have won the QMJHL Coach of the Year Award for his efforts in working with such a diverse group of players and bringing them to their fourth place standing in the league.
In the first round of the playoffs, the Wildcats faced the Halifax Mooseheads. The series produced back and fourth swings. The first four games were won by the home team; the next two were victories for the visitors. Moncton forced a seventh and deciding game on home ice when they won game six at the Metro Centre.
The final game went to double overtime before the Mooseheads scored the winner. It was one of the best games of the year for both teams and a fitting end to a season where the Wildcats showed character and commitment in their eleventh season in the Q.
Following their elimination from the playoffs, four members of the Wildcats went on to help pro teams finish their season. Nathan Welton joined the Central Hockey League’s Laredo Bucks, Christian Gaudet signed with the Springfield Falcons of the AHL, Andrew MacDonald became a member of the Bridgeport Sound Tigers of the American Hockey League, while goaltender Jhase Sniderman found work with the Youngstown Steel Hounds of the CHL.
TOP ROW: Serge Leblanc (Equipment Manager). Alexi Pianos
, Joseph Tolles
, Nick Emmanuele
, Marcus Watson
, Brad Ouskun
, Randy Cameron
, Mark Barberio
, Murdock MacLellan
, Matthew Brenton
, Guy Savoie (Athletic Therapist).
|WILDCATS AWARD WINNERS|
|Most Valuable Player||Andrew MacDonald|
|Leading Scorer||Matt Marquardt|
|Rookie of the Year||Nicola Riopel|
|Outstanding Athletic & Scholastic Performance||Christian Gaudet|
|Most Improved Player||Pierre-Marc Lessard|
|Outstanding Defensive Defenseman||Andrew MacDonald|
|Community Spirit Award||Chris Morehouse|
|Unsung Hero||Chris Morehouse|
|RD||RA||TM||Name||Birth date||Pos.||Last team|
|6||104||MON||Matthew Brenton||1989-02-25||W||Pictou County|
|7||123||MON||Jimmy Hayes||1989-11-21||W||Nobles Greenough|
|10||180||MON||Tyler Bolduc||1989-12-14||G||Prédateurs LSL|
|11||198||MON||Andrew Harmes||1989-02-09||D||Cole Harbour|
|12||215||MON||Daniel Murphy||1989-01-12||W||Saint John|
|14||243||MON||John Heffernan||1989-06-09||C||Boston College H.S.|
|14||245||MON||Tommy Cross||1989-09-12||D||Simsbury HS|
|15||253||MON||Brogan Bailey||1989-07-13||W||South Shore|