Mooseheads Keep Rolling
The entire season has been better than expected for the Halifax Mooseheads. They were expected to be better than the weak teams that have graced the Metro Centre ice in recent years, but with a core of young players it was supposed to have some significant growing pains. Instead the team ended up securing home ice advantage for the first round of the playoffs, and not only are the 16 year-old contributing, they’re leading the way.
It’s not surprising that Halifax would be ahead in the opening round series with the Moncton Wildcats. What is surprising is the ease at which they have gotten out to the 3-0 series lead following Mondays 8-2 victory. I figured Halifax would get past Moncton, but it was going to be much tougher. After all, the Wildcats had a 5-3 record against the Herd in the regular season. But in the first three games of the playoffs the Moose have got themselves one win away from the next round on a combined 17-4 score.
Sixteen year old Nathan MacKinnon is amongst the top scorers in the playoffs with five goals and 2 assists through the first three games. Co-team MVP and Rookie of the Year, along with being named QMJHL Defensive Rookie of the Year, Zach Fucale has not been overly busy, but has made a number of key saves when called upon and sports a 1.33 GAA and 0.944 SV%.
And it should be noted Halifax is missing key veterans Darcy Ashley (suspended following final game or reg. season) and Konrad Abeltshauser (suspended following game 1).
There will obviously be tests for this young squad as they attempt to go deeper. It will be interesting to see how they deal with some adversity; when things aren’t coming so easily. One of those tests will be finishing off the Wildcats. Proven or mature teams have the ability to finish teams off when they get them down and don’t even give a hint of hope for comeback. The Moose can take another step by continuing their strong playoffs and bouncing Moncton on Tuesday. Of course it’s never that easy.