By Rob Mueller
The Augusta Chronicle
AUGUSTA, Ga. – There was a brand new pair of white Jofa shin pads waiting for him at his stall in the dressing room at Augusta Ice Sports Center.
Louis Goulet held one of them in his left hand. With his right hand, the Augusta Lynx center picked up one of his old shin pads, a smaller, tattered old piece of protective gear he’d worn since he was a kid.
“My dad bought me these when I was 12, and I’ve worn them ever since,” Goulet said with a grin as he held up one of the vintage pads. “The problem is, they still fit me.”
The 25-year-old Goulet hasn’t gained much in stature since he was playing Pee Wee hockey back home in Canada. His growth as a person and a hockey player over the years is something teammates say can’t be measured.
“He works harder than anyone on the ice because he knows he has to,” Lynx assistant coach Chuck Weber said of Goulet. “He has a work ethic that’s second to none. That’s why he’s successful.”
Despite being one of the smallest players in the ECHL at 5-foot-8, Goulet has made himself one of the biggest, most important pieces of Lynx coach Stan Drulia’s puzzle.
Playing for Drulia last season with Orlando of the Atlantic Coast Hockey League, Goulet finished with 80 points on 20 goals and 60 assists in 57 games to lead the league in scoring.
Goulet came up even bigger in the playoffs and helped lead Orlando to a championship.
“I’ve always had to work harder than everyone else because of my size,” said Goulet, who has two goals and three assists in Augusta’s first 10 games, and has been one of the team’s most reliable defensive forwards.
“I’ve heard my whole life I was too small to play this game. I’ve had to do all the little things to be able to play the game.”
Goulet especially proved his mettle during his days at Mercyhurst College, a team he captained his final two years.
During Goulet’s junior season, the small school in Erie, Pa., won its first Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference and received an automatic bid to the NCAA Division I tournament.
Mercyhurst nearly pulled off one of the biggest upsets in NCAA hockey history that year in a first-round game against powerhouse Michigan. The Lakers led 3-2 in the third period before Michigan scored two late goals and escaped with a 4-3 win.
When Weber was scouting potential players as an assistant coach with the ECHL’s Trenton Titans that year, Goulet’s name kept coming up as a player to look out for.
“I’d never seen Louis play, but in my research, all the coaches from that conference told me he was the best player in the conference,” Weber said. “And everyone was saying how well he matched up with (Michigan’s top line) in the tournament. He was a guy we definitely wanted to sign.”
Weber left Trenton that spring when he followed former Titans head coach Peter Horachek to Milwaukee of the American Hockey League. Incoming Trenton coach Bill Armstrong didn’t pursue Goulet, which is when Weber recommended him to Drulia in Orlando.
“Their loss was my gain,” Drulia said. “I was extremely lucky to get him.” Lynx forward Todd Bennett, who played with Goulet in Orlando last year and against him in college, said Goulet is the consummate two-way forward.
“He was extremely difficult to play against,” said Bennett, who played at Quinnipiac College. “Last year in Orlando, he was the best player in the league. He works as hard, if not harder, than any player I’ve ever seen.”