In a recent exhibition game against the Universite de Moncton Aigles Bleus, Charlie Lavigne stopped 49 of 51 shots in a 3-2 win for the Tommies.
Such a great performance only increases the weight of expectation already on the goalie’s shoulders.
During the off-season, Head Coach Mike Eagles and the Tommies were busy recruiting some much-needed talent. They were able to lure five players out of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League, one of the top junior leagues in North America.
Charlie Lavigne is the biggest talent out of the five.
Last year, Lavigne had an incredible season with the Quebec Remparts recording 34 wins, 6 shutouts, a 2.37 goals against average, and a save percentage of .916. At the end of the season, Lavigne was voted to the second All-star Team. After achieving such success in the QMJHL, Lavigne knows that he is expected to perform well for the Tommies.
“It does put a little bit of pressure on,” said Lavigne. “But I’ve played in high pressure situations before, in Quebec last year in front of 15,000 fans. I’m ready to rise for the challenge.”
Lavigne is a welcome addition on a Tommies team that struggled last season, winning just 8 out of 28 games. The team had a lot of problems, including goaltending. The trio of Matt Davis, Ben MacFarlane, and Guillaume Miszczac allowed 146 goals against. That’s an average of 5.19 per game. Matt Davis, who had a stellar season the year before last, was particularly dissapointing. In 16 games played, Davis recorded 3 wins, a goals against average of 6.05, and a save percentage of .846.
For Mike Eagles, Lavigne is the perfect fit for the void in net. Lavigne and fellow Tommie Matt Eagles played together for a season with the Moncton Wildcats two years ago.
Lavigne became close friends with the Eagles family during this time.
“I was able to watch Charlie in Moncton. I understood that he was a good goaltender,” said Mike Eagles. “He had a great season last year with the Quebec Remparts. So when the time came for us to bring in a new goaltender, Charlie was at the top of our list.”
Lavigne’s close relationship with the Eagles family helped in his decision to come to St.Thomas University.
“I was looking to play pro,” said Lavigne. “But the opportunity didn’t come along, so I had to choose somewhere to go to school. Knowing the Eagles family; it was an easy decision to come here.”
Of course, having Mike Eagles as a head coach is much different than having him as a family friend.
“He’s been running us to the ground since I got here,” said Lavigne with a smile. “It’s been a huge fitness test for me.”
There is no question that Lavigne is expected to be the number one goalie for the Tommies this season. If anything, his 49 save victory seems to solidify him for that position. Lavigne, however, isn’t ready to proclaim himself as the team’s starter just yet.
“We have three warriors in there,” he said. “ Especially Guy [Miszczac], who battles every practice, and Ben [MacFarlane] who’s a robot and stops everything.”