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Rewarded for their efforts

It’s no where close to the 20-straight wins the Saint John Sea Dogs arecurrently enjoying, but the rebuilding Halifax Mooseheads have beenplaying some pretty decent hockey of late.

It’s no where close to the 20-straight wins the Saint John Sea Dogs are currently enjoying, but the rebuilding Halifax Mooseheads have been playing some pretty decent hockey of late.

After starting the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League season a woeful 1-18-1, Halifax has gone 6-5-1 in its last 12 games. Put it together, and the suddenly respectable-looking Mooseheads are giving fans reason for optimism and making a push for the playoffs a real possibility.

“The effort has been there all along, but now it just seems like we’re getting rewarded for it,” said Mooseheads coach and general manager Cam Russell, whose team is seven points behind the Baie-Comeau Drakkar for the final playoff spot. “(Goaltender Mathieu) Corbeil is playing good hockey and we’ve got secondary scoring now. Before (Tomas) Knotek’s line was doing probably 50 per cent of the scoring. It’s nice to see the other lines are scoring as well.”

The stellar play of Corbeil over the last five weeks has been arguably the biggest reason for the team’s improved results.

Since Nov. 1, the 18-year-old netminder has gone 6-5, with a 2.30 goals against average and a .927 save percentage. After a shaky first two months, Corbeil has clearly established himself now as the team’s No. 1 netminder.

“It’s huge. If you’re going to have any success at all as a team, you’re going to need solid goaltending,” Russell said.

“He’s definitely been playing better, but you’re also seeing a better overall effort defensively with our defence and our forwards.”

The Mooseheads will need that to continue as they host the Moncton Wildcats Friday and the Prince Edward Island Rocket Saturday (7 p.m. start times).

Both Atlantic Division rivals have talented rosters and should be a handful for the youthful Moose.

“We realize we’re going to be overmatched against some hockey teams, but we know if we play a certain brand of hockey — a physical, responsible hockey game — we can have success, even against the good hockey teams.”

Bishop joins the Herd

The Halifax Mooseheads should sport a new face in the lineup this weekend as 16-year-old blueliner Jamie Bishop has been called up to the team. Bishop, the team’s second-round draft pick from last June’s midget draft, had been playing this season for the Saint John Vitoes of the New Brunswick Midget AAA Hockey League. A spot opened up for Bishop when the team recently traded 20-year-old blue-liner Alexandre Brunet to the Rouyn-Noranda Huskies.

 
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