Mooseheads Positioned Well for Playoff Run

QMJHL League Championship logoOn the eve of the final weekend of the QMJHL regular season, I figured I’d break one of the unwritten rules of sport: Don’t look too far ahead.

It has been a while since there has been meaningful hockey played at the Metro Centre in the Spring (by the Mooseheads at least). A young Mooseheads team has already secured home-ice advantage for the first round of the playoffs. Although they won’t win their division, and likely won’t have home ice advantage in the second round, Halifax has one of the more advantageous paths to go deep in the playoffs.

The Saint John Sea Dogs have earned the right to face the lower seeds throughout the playoffs with the Q’s best record. While anything can happen in the playoffs, it will take a major upset for the league bottom-feeders to knock off the elite of the Q. While the Moose managed to keep themselves close to that top echelon, they will not catch the Victoriaville Tigres for fifth in the league. Conversely they have managed to keep ahead of a strong Rimouski Oceanic squad for sixth, the next best thing to finishing first or second overall.

Really? Not third? Fourth or fifth?

Nope. Sixth.

With the Mooseheads currently sitting in sixth, as mentioned, they’ve secured home-ice advantage in the first round. While it hasn’t been locked up yet, the Herd have a two point advantage on 7th place Rimouski with only two games left to play, and hold the first tie-breaker over the Oceanic. Halifax would just need to pick up a victory in one of their two final games agsint either Acadie-Bathurst or PEI. That would allow Halifax to draw the 11th seed in the first round. The 11th seed won’t be determined either until the final games are played this weekend, but will be one of the Acadie-Bathurst Titan, Baie-Comeau Drakkar, Drummondville Voltigeurs, Gatineau Olympic, Moncton Wildcats or Val D’or Foreurs. The six clubs are separated by a total of six points in the standings, so a lot can change between now and Sunday. As strictly a point of interest, if the playoffs started today, it would be Halifax v. Moncton.

If one were to look ahead (remember breaking unwritten rule here) to the second round, and everything follows the script (“Hello, Hockey Gods. Would you care for some temptation?), the fifth seed Tigres would be matched up against the Shawinigan Cataractes, ranked fourth in the nation. Meanwhile Halifax would meet the Florida Panth…er, Blainville-Boisbriand Armada. A team that only garnered the number three seed by winning the weaker Telus West division title. The Armada’s record would place much closer to the Moosehead’s own ranking and likely a more favourable matchup than some of the other top teams in the league.

So, once past the Armada, the Mooseheads would simply have to dispatch Saint John (or one of the other QMJHL tema that have been in the CHL Top 10) to reach the President Cup final, then face one of the top teams in the country to advance to the Memorial Cup. Unless it’s Memorial Cup host Shawinigan, at which point your off to the Mem Cup anyway. Simple, right?

*Editors Note: I had this idea in my head to write about prior to the the Armada’s current 8-1-1 stretch. They would have been mcuh farther down in the standings without the division title slot. And it should be noted that having that minicker as the “undeserrving” higher seed can provide some strong bulletin-board type material. They’ll just have print this blog post, I guess. The Armada would likely still be a more favourable opponent than Quebec, Shawinigan, and Victoriaville, but it is not represented in the standings quite so dramatically.

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