TRURO – Casey Babineau and his Rimouski Oceanic are locked in a battle with the Baie-Comeau Drakkar for top spot in the East Division as the QMJHL season winds down.
The Oceanic (39-17-3-6) currently sit two points behind the Drakkar (42-19-2-3) and hold one game in hand.
Babineau, a 20-year-old Beaver Brook native and captain of the Oceanic, has 15 points (4G, 11A) in 60 games this season, three short of his career-best 18 a year ago. The five-foot-11, 185-pound blueliner was an integral part of the team’s run to the league final last season.
The Oceanic host the Gatineau Olympiques (28-33-1-3) tonight at 8 p.m. local time before hitting he road to finish the schedule Friday against the defending Memorial Cup champion Shawinigan Cataractes (15-43-5-2) and Sunday against Patrick Roy’s Quebec Remparts (39-21-3-2).
The Drakkar are home to the Victoriaville Tigres (32-25-3-5) Friday before the Drummondville Voltigeurs (36-25-2-2) visit on Saturday.
The young Rimouski squad, which has been a surprise this season and currently sits fourth overall on the 18-team circuit, has slipped of late, going 2-5-2-1 in their past 10 games allowing the Drakkar to leapfrog them in the standings.
Babineau, a graduate of the Pictou County major midget program, was selected in the seventh round, 121st overall by the Oceanic in 2009.
Babineau, along with fellow 20-year-olds Alexandre Lavoie and Kevin Gagne were honoured by the Oceanic in a pre-game ceremony last Saturday for their service to the club and were presented with framed photos of themselves. Babineau's mother Jean was in attendance and made the official presentation to her son.