Mooseheads Can’t Crack CHL Top 10
The likely knock on Halifax’s current winning ways could be the fact that they haven’t faced the elite teams in the Q. Aside from the games against Saint John and Quebec, which they split, none of the other opponents have .500 records. Not even the West Division leading Val-d’Or Foreurs.
But hey, this young team is showing that they can win the games they should win. They have the nineth best winning percentage in the country, second best in the Q, but it’s not just all about stats. It’s hard to argue against taking out any of the current topten, so Halifax will have to show they can maintain the pace in order to crack the rankings.
The only blemish of the Herd’s record for October came against the defending Memorial Cup champion and divisional rival Saint John Sea Dogs. The sea Dogs jumped from #3 in the National rankings last week to #2 in the latest rankings.
One night after the 5-0 shutout at the hands of the Dogs the Mooseheads defeated the Quebec Remparts (#10) before heading out on a road trip where they went 3-0.
More and more, the team is being led by their 16-year-old rookie Nathan MacKinnon. While he was certainly expected to perform well, he has been exceeding many people’s expectations. He’s seventh overall in league scoring with 27 points despite the fact that his 17 games played is fewer than any of the other in the top ten. Over the 9-1 stretch he had six goals and 11 assists.
After an inconsistent start to the year, which saw the club win one, lose one, win one, lose one,…the more consistent scoring may be thanks to some veteran help for the super-rookie.
Five veterans posted a point-per-game or better pace in October: Alexander Grenier 7G, 5A; Brent Andrews 3G, 8A; Konrad Albelthauser 5G, 4A; Cameron Critchlow 4G, 6A; Matthew Boudreau 2G, 8A. Grenier, Andrew and Abeltshauser spent a large portion of Septmeber at their respective NHL camps.
Grenier in particular has seemed to pick up his offense following the victory over his former club, the Remparts. He had two goals in that game, including the overtime winner. Grenier went on to post seven points in the final four games of October.
Negatives are being turned into postives at both ends of the ice. It could have been easy to expect some struggles the team had to depend on rookie netminder Zack Fucale. Starting goaltender Anthony Terenzio last played against saint John, backed-up against the Remparts the following night. He was unable to make the roadtrip with the team because of a neck injury. Fucale has filled in quite admirably going 6-0 for the month and is serving notice the future of Halifax goaltending may not be so far off.
The Mooseheads are getting used to winning, and there is the potential for even more. Halifax has done all of this without the services of their top returning, and potential first round draft pick Martin Frk as well as Andrew Ryan, who was also expected to be a big part of the clubs chances this year. Frk has been out with post-concussion symptons since early in the year, while Ryan has begun skating again following a high ankle sprain.
The CHL Top Ten:
1. London Knights (13-2-0-1)
2. Saint John Sea Dogs (14-5-0-0)
3. Tri-City Americans (11-5-0-0)
4. Victoriaville Tigres (14-6-0-1)
5. Mississauga St. Michael’s Majors (10-3-0-2)
6. Sarnia Sting (11-2-0-3)
7. Kamloops Blazers (11-3-0-0)
8. Shawinigan Cataractes (13-5-1-2)
9. Kootenay Ice (11-3-0-2)
10. Quebec Remparts (11-4-2-1)
Ottawa 67’s (10-3-1-0)
Spokane Chiefs (8-3-0-1)
Halifax Mooseheads (12-5-0-0)