MONTREAL — Jacob Gervais-Chouinard, a goaltender with the McGill University men’s hockey team, received a text message, Thursday night, that every young player dreams about.
It was a request from Stéphane Waite, goaltending coach for the NHL’s Montreal Canadiens, with an invitation to practice with the Habs on Friday as they had sent backup goalie Dustin Tokarski to their AHL farm team in Hamilton to play two games this weekend and get back in shape while he awaits his next NHL start.
It was the second NHL training stint for Gervais-Chouinard, a 6-foot-1, 171-pound netminder, who was previously invited to the team’s rookie camp in September, 2013 after he had signed an amateur try-out contract with Marc Bergevin, then AHL’s Hamilton Bulldogs general manager. He played three regular season AHL games, posting a 3.24 goals-against average and a .905 save percentage
Gervais-Chouinard had been practicing with the Redmen during the December exam break but has not played in almost a month since an impressive 49-save performance as McGill skated to a 6-2 victory over Carleton on Nov. 29. The 22-year-old economics sophomore is having an impressive season with a 7-2 record in nine OUA regular season starts. He is ranked second among CIS leaders in save percentage (.941) and is fourth in goals-against average (1.90).
A product of the QMJHL, where he stopped pucks for Sherbrooke, Rimouski and Val d’Or, Gervais-Chouinard enrolled at McGill last year and had a stellar freshman campaign with the Redmen. He won the Friends of McGill Hockey Trophy as the team’s rookie of the year, registering a 20-8-0 record in 32 games overall, with one shutout, a 2.37 goals-against average and .923 save percentage. In the post-season, he had a 7-3 record in 10 contests, highlighted by a single-game school playoff record 52 saves in a 3-2 double-overtime loss to Alberta in a semifinal at the national championship tournament, where he was selected as a CIS tourney all-star.
His latest stint with the Habs lasted only one day, however, as they called up goaltender Joey MacDonald from Hamilton to serve as Carey Price‘s backup Saturday night against the Ottawa Senators.
McGill, which is ranked seventh in the nation and leads the OUA East Division with a 13-3-0 record, plays next on Jan. 4 when they host the second-place UQTR Patriotes (11-2-2) in a 4 p.m. puck-drop at McConnell Arena.
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