The Halifax Mooseheads will have a chance to capture the Rookie Challenge Championship for the second year in a row in Moncton after downing the Acadie-Bathurst Titan 6-1 to improve to 2-0 in the tournament and securing a spot in Sunday’s title game against the host Wildcats at 4:00pm.
The Mooseheads faced little resistance in their second game of the tournament which features all six teams from the Maritimes Division. Sophomore player Caleb Rich scored twice including a shorthanded tally that stood as the game-winner. He also had an assist in the win giving him five points in two games. Rookie sensation Xavier Parent was a spark plug once again for the Herd with three points on one goal and two assists. Goaltender Raphael Blais played the entire game and stopped 29 shots for the victory.
Moncton native Cole Stewart opened the scoring when he pounced on a Parent rebound in the crease on the power play at the 2:45 mark of the first period. The good special teams play continued when Rich forced a turnover in the neutral zone late in the period and took off on a breakaway to score his shorthanded goal on Titan goalie Max Walford. Halifax scored twice in each period to lock down a spot in the final for the second year in a row. Goals were scored by Rich (2), Parent, Stewart, Felix Gascon and Gavin Hart. The speedy Hart, a 12th round pick in June, played a solid game on both sides of the puck and was happy with the effort put forth by the team.
“I thought it was a really fast-paced game and the boys had a lot of good chances and we played really good defense which led us to the win.”
The Truro native is coming off an excellent season with the Pictou County Weeks Major Midgets when he scored 19 goals and 21 assists in 36 games leading Halifax to take him with their 10th pick of the QMJHL Entry Draft. He hopes he’s been able to show the Mooseheads staff some flashes of what he can provide.
“I’m a gritty player and would do anything for the team. I can block shots and score and I’m fast.”
Hart and the rest of the Mooseheads young players will get a chance to further develop their skills in the Rookie Challenge Championship game against Moncton on Sunday afternoon at the Superior Propane Centre.