Buzzing The Net

QMJHL: Saulnier twins peak with Wildcats

The Saulnier brothers could be seen as the perfect book ends to compliment the Sedin twins.

Moncton forward Alex SaulnierThey are not only blessed with extraordinary skills, but they balance out the geographical scale that could weigh identical hockey siblings playing in Canada.

On the west coast, Daniel and Henrik Sedin have been a formidable offensive duo for over a decade with the Vancouver Canucks.

If you move east to New Brunswick and the Maritimes, Alex and Allain Saulnier are putting on quite a show in their own right with the Moncton Wildcats in the QMJHL.

Identical twins, just like the Sedins, the Saulnier brothers are two of the most talented players in their league, similar to their Swedish counterparts now playing in British Columbia.

Alex and Allain have played together since their minor hockey days, were drafted into major junior by their hometown Moncton Wildcats and have been among the QMJHL's elite over the last two seasons.

And just like the Sedins they have a knack of knowing where each other will be or is going to be just about every time they step onto the ice.

"Playing with my brother Allain in minor hockey was a lot of fun but skating side by side in junior has been really special," said Alex Saulnier.

"We were lucky enough to attend the 2009 QMJHL Entry Draft in Moncton and hear our names called by the Wildcats. It was such a relief to know we were going to the same team and when we cracked the Wildcats lineup that fall, it was a like a dream come true because we grew up watching them play."

The Moncton organization made a brilliant move by drafting the twins. They were able to not only did they bring in a pair of local kids -- but a pair of local kids who could really play.

Danny Flynn head coach and director of hokey operations for the Wildcats selected Allain and Alex in the fourth and fifth rounds after watching the duo light it up in the New Brunswick-Prince Edward Island Major Midget League.

Over the course of their three seasons in the QMJHL, Alex and Allain quickly established themselves as two of the premier forwards in the league. In their first year they helped Moncton win the President's Cup as league champion and represented the QMJHL at the 2010 Memorial Cup in Brandon, Manitoba.

"Winning and lifting the President's Cup in Moncton with my brother was a great moment that we shared together," said Alex.

"We also won the Telus Cup (National Midget championship) together on another occasion that we will never forget."

In their sophomore campaign the Saulnier's started to make a statement with their offensive production. Alex finished the year with 85 points while Allain chipped in with 71 points.

This year both skaters could raise the bar on their offensive totals even higher. After 49 games  this season, Alex has 28 goals and 72 points, Allain is right behind with 24 goals and 67 points but has played six more games.

When asked if there was any sibling rivalry between the two when it comes down to point totals Allain and Alex both agreed that the team's success comes first but admit they do not hesitate to push each other.

"We're two of the most competitive players you'll ever meet," Allain explained.

"I'm hard on Alex and he's hard on me. We push and encourage each other all the time it's just our nature and what we've done since we were young."

On the ice there's no problem figuring out which one is which because Alex shoots left and Allain is right handed but when they are in street clothes, that's a completely different story.

"I think our coach still has a hard time knowing for sure but he will never admit it," laughed Alex.

"It's tougher on our teammates, especially the new ones because it usually takes about six months to correctly identify us. I've been known to play pranks on our teammates and blame it on Allain which is always fun and he does the same thing."

With one more of junior eligibility ahead of them, the Saulniers will probably finish their careers together as overagers in Moncton.

From there Alex and Allain have no idea what the future will hold for them as hockey players.

Undrafted by any NHL team the twins plan to explore opportunities to play professional or they could attend a CIS university together and play for another four years while they earn a degree.

"We'll see what happens after next season," said Allain.

"We'll examine and be open to any possibilities that come our way but in the meantime we plan to take it day by day and do our best to bring another league championship to Moncton."

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