Alexandre Goulet is proof hard work pays off.
The 17-year-old centre is flourishing in his first season with the Charlottetown Islanders, but it didn’t come easy.
There were a lot of expectations going into his first year of midget with the Lévis Commandeurs.
“It was a bad year for me,” Goulet admitted before Wednesday’s practice.
He had four goals and 10 assists in 41 games and went undrafted in his first Quebec Major Junior Hockey League Draft.
“Sure it’s a disappointment when you don’t get drafted, but I think it’s a lesson too,” he said. “You need to work harder and think about what you don’t do well and improve it to be a better hockey player.”
Call him a quick study.
He scored 29 goals and set up 30 more in 42 games in his second midget season in 2012-13.
When the Islanders stepped to the podium, with their second first-round pick of the 2013 Draft, and selected Goulet, it was the culmination of the hard work during the off-season.
“That was an amazing feeling,” said Goulet, who was sitting in the stands with his parents. “I’m proud to be an Islander.”
But the hard work didn’t stop there. He came to training camp in August and has been a key part of the Islanders all season.
He leads the team with 24 goals and is seventh in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League in rookie scoring with 35 points.
“I just try to do my best and keep working hard and we’ll see what happens at the end of the season,” Goulet said.
He has been linemates with fellow rookie Daniel Sprong for much of the season.
“He brings speed to our lineup. He’s a player who can be a difference maker on the ice by his pass or his shot,” Sprong said. “He draws penalties with his speed going around the D and has been one of our key guys this season.”
The rookies, who both skate well, have found a lot of chemistry with Sprong using his vision and passing ability to help set up Goulet. And it works the other way as well. The two don’t care whom scores, and just want the team to be successful.
They are key building blocks for the young Islanders.
“He attacks the opposition with speed,” coach Gordie Dwyer said of Goulet. “He’s not afraid to get dirty. He’s not afraid to go into high traffic areas.”
Goulet centres the team’s top line, plays on the power play and penalty kill and is working to become a 200-foot player.
While he’s not the most vocal guy, he has leadership traits.
“I think he leads by example. He works hard every time he’s on the ice,” Dwyer said. “He has a real passion for the game.”
Goulet dreams of playing professional hockey and is eligible for this year’s NHL Draft.
“He’s committed to being a hockey player,” Dwyer said.
Goulet is known for his sense of humour and can be seen most of the time smiling around the rink.
u Who – A centre with the Charlottetown Islanders in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey Legaue.
u Hometown – Disraêli, Que.
u Age – 17.
u Acquired – Drafted in the first round (19th overall) in 2013.
u Size – Five-foot-11, 190 pounds
u Statistics -
GP G A Pts.
53 24 11 35
u Did you know? - Goulet has scored on 24 per cent of his 99 shots this season.
u Key stat – While the Islanders have struggled after getting off to a strong start, Goulet is a -1 in the +/- category.
u Coach Gordie Dwyer says – “He’s got great speed, he’s strong on the puck and has a great release.”
The Charlottetown Islanders host the Moncton Wildcats tonight at 7 p.m. at Eastlink Centre.
u Records - Moncton: 29-25-0-2, won three straight; Charlottetown: 17-33-1-4, lost 12 straight.
u During the slide – The coaching staff pulls positives from each game.
u Quote - “The one consistent thing that keeps coming back is our work ethic,” coach Gordie Dwyer said. “I think the guys have done a really good job of competing hard in all those games.”
u Moncton scoring - Ivan Barbashev (23G, 36A in 41GP), Christophe Lalonde (33G, 23A in 52GP) and Vladimir Tkachev (4G, 10A in 8GP).
u Charlottetown scoing - Daniel Sprong (20G, 32A in 54GP), Alexandre Goulet (24G, 11A in 53GP) and Anthony Cortese (6G, 20A in 55GP).
u Special offer – For each ticket a fan purchases for this tonight’s game, they will receive a free ticket of equal or lesser free for Friday’s home game with the Acadie-Bathurst Titan. Visit the Eastlink Centre box office and ask for this week’s special ticket offer.