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 Halifax Mooseheads

Mooseheads' Season Ends with Round One Exit

April 3, 2024 - Quebec Maritimes Junior Hockey League (QMJHL)
Halifax Mooseheads News Release

The 2023-24 season is over for the Halifax Mooseheads. The high hopes and expectations for the Eastern Conference's second seeded team were officially dashed on Wednesday in Acadie-Bathurst with a 3-2 loss to the Titan who secured a First Round series sweep of the Herd.

It was a disappointing ending for the Mooseheads after a long playoff drive in the spring of 2023 that saw the team reach the Gilles Courteau Trophy Finals and returned several players from the core of that team with visions of taking another shot at a league title. The Titan erased those hopes by rising to the challenge and knocking off Halifax in four consecutive games.

Colby Huggan had a big series for Bathurst and netted the game-winning goal in the second period with the second short-handed tally of the game for the Titan. He also had an assist in the victory and was named the first star for the second straight night. Huggan contributed eight points on four goals and four assists in the series.

Halifax started out on the right foot when Markus Vidicek scored midway through the first period to give the Moose a 1-0 advantage and their first lead of the series but special teams came to the forefront and favoured the Titan. They tied the game 1-1 on the power play when rookie Louis-Francois Belanger scored at the 14:17 mark. Then it was the Titan penalty kill that proved to be a difference maker when Cory MacGillivray pounced on a rebound following a miraculous save by Mathis Rousseau. Huggan finished off an odd man rush with Bobby Orr for the only goal of the second period and Bathurst took a 3-1 lead into the final 20 minutes of action.

Mooseheads rookie Liam Kilfoil continued to be a bright spot in an otherwise deflating series when he fired in his third goal in 24 hours early in the third period to give his club some hope. He was also a team-best +4 in the series. Unfortunately for the Moose, the Titan sat back and didn't allow much of anything the rest of the way, even when the Herd had a power play and also had Rousseau on the bench for a 6-on-4 attack to end the game. Final shots were 27-23 for Halifax as Antoine Keller earned another win between the pipes.

As the horn sounded to end the game, it also ended the junior hockey careers of overage players Peter Reynolds, Lou-Felix Denis and David Moravec who skated off the ice for the final time following the customary handshake line with the Titan.

Halifax played the majority of the game with five defencemen after Nashville Predators prospect Dylan MacKinnon took an undisciplined five minute major for checking to the head of former Mooseheads forward Yannik Ponzetto. MacKinnon was given the game misconduct at 12:28 of the opening period. The Herd dealt with a calamity of issues near the end of the season with the loss of Captain Jake Furlong to injury on the blueline in addition to reigning QMJHL MVP Jordan Dumais not suiting up since December due to injuries and suspension in the second half of the season. Jake Todd missed the final game with a one-game suspension stemming from an agressor penalty in Game 3.

There will be no time to rest for General Manager Cam Russell and his scouting staff as decisions will be made regarding the direction of the franchise prior to the June 7-8 QMJHL Entry Draft in Moncton, NB.

The Mooseheads organization would like to thank all the loyal fans for their incredible passion and support during this season and we look forward to seeing you when training camp begins in August for the 2024-25 season.

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Quebec Maritimes Junior Hockey League Stories from April 3, 2024

The opinions expressed in this release are those of the organization issuing it, and do not necessarily reflect the thoughts or opinions of OurSports Central or its staff.

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