LNAH Kicks Off 18th Season; Cornwall wins in shootout, Mirasty fights in Sorel

lnahThe Ligue Nord-Americaine de Hockey kicked off its 18th season last night and it started off with a bang. Jonquiere toppled Trois Rivieres 6-5 and Riviere-Du-Loup knocked off Thetford Mines with a 7-4 win but the big stories for the start of the season were shown in the other two games being played on Friday night.

The fans of Sorel-Tracy were in for a huge treat as legendary enforcer Jon Mirasty signed on for the opening game against the newest LNAH addition, the Valleyfield Braves. With just 18 seconds into the first period, Mirasty dropped the mitts with former Cornwall River King, Mario Joly.

42Not one of his better fights but Mirasty gave the much larger Joly a run for his money. However, even with all the fisticuffs Sorel was no match for the upstart Braves. Karl Fournier had an impressive 3 points in the first period en route to a 6-5 victory for Valleyfield.

Of course most people were looking to the Cornwall River Kings and their first regular season game. Amidst all the drama that unfolded the River Kings brass have managed to select a tough yet play making team. Yesterday’s lineup was as follows:

Forward
Bourret – Kavanagh – Chiasson
Corbeil –  Filion –  Faubert
Lessard – Pittarelli – Mazerolle1150223_10201663866259521_1465469022_n

Defence
Cloutier – Caron
Andress – Reid
Sigouin – Barker
Jasper – Sullivan

Goal
Lacasse – Murphy

Clearly we have seen much better improvement and play since the preseason match-ups now that Cornwall has solidified a core. The River Kings and St. Georges played tight and evenly into the shootout where Cornwall’s Alex Bourret came out on top with the game winner. Chris Clouthier dropped the gloves a few times to keep the crowd on its feet.

Looks like it’ll be a tight race between all 8 teams this year for the LNAH. Which is great for us hockey fans; nothing like the good ol’ hockey game in the dead of winter.

Q&A With Cornwall River King, Alex Bourret

Alex Bourret is a feisty right-winger who grew up in Quebec. Being drafted 16th overall in the first round of the 2005 NHL Entry Draft to the Atlanta Thrashers, Bourret  has played in many leagues both here and across the pond. Last season he started off with the Cornwall River Kings and then finished up in Russia. This season, he’s back in the River Kings line up for his second year.

March Hockey: How does the style of of play in Russia compare to that of North America like the LNAH or ECHL for example? What was it like with the language barrier?

WIth Brno Kometa of the Czech Republic.
WIth Brno Kometa of the Czech Republic.

Alex Bourret: I’ve played in Russia, South Korea, Czech Republic and the language barrier has always been hard (they don’t speak any English or they’re not willing to try). It’s a different game overseas, ice is bigger and it is less physical but they can play hockey that for sure.

MH: Wait a minute….South Korea?! What was THAT like?

AB: They treat you real good over there. Japan, China, nicest hotels and private jets; Everything! But hockey is another story…

MH: Are the fans/players/teams just us passionate as us Canadians are for the game?

AB: Yes they are!! Some don’t know much about hockey; It’s more a big party for them but when you hear 15 000 people  screaming for 2 hours,  it’s great. Gives you a lot of energy.

MH: Growing up who was your biggest influence on your style of play??

AB: I always compare myself to guys like Sean Avery and Darcy Tucker. I like the way they play and they are not the biggest guys either.

MH: You’re a bit of a fighter, who’s the toughest player to go toe to toe with you?

With the San Antonio Rampage of the Central Hockey League
With the San Antonio Rampage of the AHL.

AB: I remember one night in junior playing in Rimouski against Sidney Crosby. I was all over him and at one point Eric Nelson, (one of the tough guys at the time), asked me to go. Probably to scare me, I told him “Let’s go big guy!” with a BIG smile. I did pretty good on that one.

MH: And finally, if you could play with any player past or present, who would it be and why?

AB: Probably Thomas Beauregard. He was my linemate with the Wichita Thunder a year ago and we did good together. He is a sniper and I’m more of a hard-working forward.