The patch of ice to the left side of the opposing team’s goal is Matthew Boudreau’s comfort zone.
The Halifax Mooseheads centre parks himself there on the power play and feasts on passes from teammates. The 19-year-old has a deadly accurate one-timer and loves to snap quick shots past the other team’s goalie.
“I had that since last year,” Boudreau said. “They call it the office. I just go there and move around. I have my ice alone so I just move up and Darcy (Ashley) tries to find me and I try to put it in.”
Boudreau often goes unnoticed on a team that features big-name offensive players like Martin Frk, Nathan MacKinnon and Jonathan Drouin. But he has quietly been producing at roughly a point-per-game pace all season and was tied for second on the team in goals after 25 games with 15. Five of those goals came from his spot on the power play.
“He can smell it,” said Mooseheads head coach Dominique Ducharme. “A goal scorer like that seems to be able to find the spots where the puck’s going to land. He knows where the rebounds are going to go and he knows where the passing lanes will be. He’s working that spot really well. He’s good at getting forgotten a little bit behind the defence and he’s good in his timing in moving towards the net. And don’t forget, he’s got a great shot. He’s deadly when he gets the puck in that area.”
Boudreau has also helped give the Mooseheads a dangerous option on the second line. MacKinnon and Drouin, along with either Frk or Stefan Fournier, form Halifax’s top unit. But Boudreau found good chemistry with Ashley and Luca Ciampini early in the season and the trio has been inseparable ever since. All three players are averaging approximately a point per game.
“It’s going well,” Boudreau said. “Everybody’s working hard. Everybody has confidence in each other on the line. I think we just need to score a bit more and things will be good.”
The line also anchors the Mooseheads’ seconds power-play unit and has helped the Mooseheads produce at an impressive 30.5 per cent clip with the man advantage.
“Each time we have a power play we need to capitalize in case something goes wrong in the game or we miss some plays or hit some posts,” Boudreau said. “I think the power play’s helping us a lot.”