Mooseheads Crack Top Ten
Halifax has been on the edge of the National rankings for the past couple months, but were unable to be officially ranked. Following a 9-1 October that included a victory over the highly ranked Quebec Remparts, the team was able to garner Honourable Mention a couple times, but was still on the outside looking in. You could see the talent was there ad their time would come.
Frankly, I didn’t expect this to be the week the Moose were recognized amongst the CHL elite. Friday night, the Mooseheads suffered a 6-1 loss at the hands of the PEI Rocket, the last place team in the Q. Saturday, they dropped another in a 7-3 game against a Saint John Sea Dogs team that was without stars Jonathan Huberdeau, Zack Phillips and Nathan Beaulieu who had left for the Team Canada World Junior Hockey Championship selection camp.
The bounced back to defeat the Dogs on Sunday before adding another win against the Acadie-Bathurst Titan on Tuesday.
The fact that these rankings are strictly based on results or records, but on perceived strength of the team, may be how they’ve finally made the jump. I have to remind myself of that occassionally. Friday against the Rocket saw the return of last year’s leading scorer and probable 2012 NHL first round pick Martin Frk after suffering a concussion early in the year. Friday night also saw the team lose uber-rookie Nathan MacKinnon to a shoulder injury that kept him out of the weekend games. His loss could certainly account for a drop in performance.
Tuesday night saw another key addition, along with the return of Nathan MacKinnon. Jonathan Drouin, the second overall pick in this years Q draft behind only MacKinnon finally made his debut for the Mooseheads. The tardy rookie jumped right onto the team’s second line and tallied two assists, including on the game winner.
Combine the additions of Frk and Drouin with the temporary loss of MacKinnon and a depleted defense core, and there is certainly justification for the Moose to be in the top ten. With what seems to be a team on the upward trend, Halifax may be able to benefit from having played the fewest games of any team in the Q to date. I suppose I was a bit cynical by the fact the honour was delayed a bit.
Halifax will finish the unofficial first half of the season with a three-game road trip beginning tonight against the Titan before the Holiday break.
BMO CHL MasterCard Top 10 Rankings – Week 13
1. London Knights (24-6-0-1)
2. Tri-City Americans (25-7-0-0)
3. Quebec Remparts (26-6-2-1)
4. Saint John Sea Dogs (26-10-0-1)
5. Plymouth Whalers (21-8-2-1)
6. Shawinigan Cataractes (23-9-2-2)
7. Kamloops Blazers (23-9-1-0)
8. Edmonton Oil Kings (22-8-1-2)
9. Kitchener Rangers (21-9-1-0)
10. Halifax Mooseheads (21-9-1-2)
Moose Jaw Warriors (20-9-3-1)
Ottawa 67’s (18-9-3-1)
Victoriaville Tigres (21-11-0-2)