COVID-19: Qualicum Beach goalie Lacouvee sees pro season come to an early end

Connor Lacouvee mans the pipes for the Maine Mariners in the ECHL. (Submitted photo)
Connor Lacouvee stops the puck for the Laval Rocket in the AHL. (Submitted photo)
Connor Lacouvee getting ready to play for Laval Rocket in the AHL. (Submitted photo)

Connor Lacouvee’s season with the Maine Mariners of the ECHL has ended early.

The goaltender from Qualicum Beach was looking forward to post-season action but did not get the opportunity as the ECHL had to cancel the remainder of the season due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

“It was a pretty good season for the team and me personally,” said Lacouvee, who posted a 20 wins, 13 losses and two overtime losses, finishing with a 2.75 goals against average and a .915 save percentage. “It’s unfortunate we didn’t get to play in the playoffs. We had a pretty solid team and we were really trending in the right direction. But this thing is bigger than hockey and everyone realizes that and just making sure everyone is safe and doing what we can to flatten the curve.”

Lacouvee, 25, continues to make strides in his hockey career. In 2018 he was given a professional tryout contract by the American Hockey League’s Utica Comets, the top farm club of the NHL’s Vancouver Canucks. Following the Utica stint, Lacouvee, a product of Oceanside Minor Hockey, was loaned to another AHL team, Laval Rocket, the top farm club for the fabled Montreal Canadiens.

READ MORE: Qualicum Beach goalie joins top club of the Montreal Canadiens

Lacouvee made a strong impression in Laval, posting a 4-1-1 record with a 1.98 GAA and .927 save percentage. It earned Lacouvee a one-year, two-way AHL/ECHL contract with the Rocket last year. However, with the Rocket already having two other backstoppers in their roster, Lacouvee was re-assigned back to the Mariners but remained tied to Laval.

“It was awesome, a good experience,” Lacouvee recalled. “Hopefully it will continue with Laval or another team. I will just keep working on getting better, enjoying it, just putting the work in and having fun with it.”

He will have to wait this summer to figure out where he will play next season. For now, Lacouvee is savouring his time off from the ice as he spending a nice vacation with his family and friends here in Qualicum Beach.

“It’s a nice break away from the game,” said Lacouvee. “But I am also doing some training and also some online courses.”

Before becoming a pro hockey player, Lacouvee built his game playing for the Cowichan Valley Capitals and Alberni Valley Bulldogs in the B.C Hockey League. Following his junior career, Lacouvee went to play for Boston University for three seasons. Then he went on to play for Minnesota State University, Mankato, where he completed his NCAA career with a 1.80 GAA and .194 save percentage.

Lacouvee said he still has plenty of improving to do. One area he’s focusing on is his speed.

“I want to be quicker with my movements, crisper, understanding my angles and why I need to move and why I don’t need to move,” said Lacouvee. “I am also learning to manage my workouts between my practices and games. I play a lot of games during the season so you have to effectively manage your time on the ice and make sure you’re not doing too much in practice all the time.”

Lacouvee was never drafted by any NHL team but believes he will make it to the world’s top league.

“I just worry about having fun at the rink, doing the little things right, working hard,” he said. “The results will take care of themselves if you put in the work and do all the right things. You can’t control who’s watching or who gets called up. It’s in my best interest to just put my best foot forward and not worry about the uncontrollables.”

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