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By Marcel Vander Wier - If the QMJHL kept a stat for words-per-minute, Victor Provencher would be a league-leader.
The first-year left winger for the PEI Rocket has quickly earned a reputation as a superpest in the mould of some of the league’s finest: Alexandre Burrows, Maxime Lapierre and Maxime Talbot.
And as the President Cup playoffs draw nearer, Provencher says his lips are just getting warmed up.
"I’m going to try and be an aggressor, talk a lot, and provoke something on the ice, every single shift," said the 5’11, 178 forward from Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu, QC. "Hit more and talk a lot."
Drafted 11th overall last year by the Rocket, Provencher has tallied seven goals, seven assists, and 54 PIM so far this season, playing a regular shift on a checking line with captain Travis McIsaac and Josh Currie.
And while he’s no longer averaging the point-per-game pace he enjoyed playing midget AAA in Quebec, Provencher’s got it in perspective.
"It’s my first season in the Q, so I just play my game," he said. "If I don’t score, it’s not my job really in my first year. Maybe at 18 and 19, I can do what I did in midget. But now, I just want to skate, hit, and provoke something."
McIsaac admits Provencher’s at his best when he’s forechecking and sparking scrums.
"If he’s skating and hitting guys and getting under people’s skin, it’s going to help us. I know playing with him, when he’s on his game, he opens up a lot of space for his other two linemates."
"He drives a few guys just nuts."
"He actually does a good job of staying disciplined too," McIsaac said. "He doesn’t take a lot of penalties when he’s doing it, especially for a young guy. He seems to walk the line pretty well."
Chirping aside, Provencher has worked hard to win the confidence of Rocket coach Eric Lavigne this season.
"I’m sure he’s going to be a good hockey player in this league," Lavigne said. "With his speed, he’s going to be able to beat defencemen, and with his shot, he’s going to be killer for sure."
Lavigne is confident that once Provencher finds himself comfortable in the Rocket system, he will regain his offensive flair and flourish into the future.
"He can shoot the puck really well," the coach stated. "He’s going to be a good power forward with hands."
Lavigne is hoping his young warrior can keep the intensity coming in the post-season.
Provencher says he’s ready.
"I love the team and hope to go far in the playoffs. I just want to provoke something on the ice, talk a lot, and do my best."
PHOTO CREDIT - Philip Reid
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