Moose Split Weekend at Home

Nathan MacKinnon made his home debut in Halifax Friday evening

MacKinnon had four points in his home debut. (photo credit: Richard Lafortune)

It was a dramatically shorthanded squad that entered the first weekend homestand of the year for the Halifax Mooseheads. It was somewhat fitting that with a number of key players missing, either due to attending NHL camps or injury, the Moosheads were led by 16-year-old Nathan MacKinnon. And he did not disappoint.

The Metro Centre was filled with people and anticipation Friday night as MacKinnon was set to make his home debut in the Quebec league. After years of subpar performances, a busy off-season restocking the organization with young top-end talent had Haligonians hopeful for a return to respectability.

Despite the excitement, it was the Moose that got down early, as the Acadie-Bathurst Titan jumped out to a 1-0 lead on Christophe Losier’s first of two on the night. But it wasn’t long until the crowd got what they came for.

Less than a minute later, MacKinnon notched his first career Q goal on a nice feed from Darcy Ashley. Ashley made a point to go after the puck as MacKinnon celebrated so the rook could have the memento.

Ciampini was the third musketeer on the top line friday night and Ashley, MacKinnon and he kept the high octane offense going. The trio combined for 11 points on the night.

The lack of bodies could have contributed to letting the Titan back into Friday’s game and falling to the Moncton Wildcats on Saturday.

Friday night coach Dominique Ducharme stuck mostly with a three-line rotation. With Konrad Albethauser not back from the San Jose Sharks’ rookie camp, the Moose dressed six defencemen. They were down another after Josh Desmond received a game misconduct following a fight in the second.

A string of four penalties in the third (three by defencemen) put added pressure on Halifax, and Bathurst was able to capitalize twice on the powerplay, pushing the game to overtime.

Thanks in part to a late penalty on Bathurst, the Moose began OT on the powerplay, and it didn’t take long before Matthew Boudreau capped the game and the night off with a 5-4 win.

After the emotional victory and the physical effort put forth by the team, they seemed a step slow versus the Wildcats.

“The effort wasn’t there,” said Mooseheads blueliner Steve Gillard. “I guess we lost a bit of focus.”

Zach Fucale got his first start in the Q for the Mooseheads, but ended up on the wrong side of the 4-2 decision.

Still, all in all it should be taken as big positive for the team to have been able to perform so well with so many key pieces missing. Just imagine once the team can add Martin Frk, Brent Andrews, Alexandre Grenier and Andrew Ryan to the forward attack.

The Mooseheads are at home again this Friday as Rouyn-Noranda comes into town, and then will head out to Moncton for a game Saturday.


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