As the Halifax Mooseheads’ practice came to a close on Thursday, Brent Andrews ripped a one-timer past goalie Randy Chisholm and gave a mock pump of the fist in celebration.
Twenty games into his QMJHL rookie campaign, it’s a celebration the highly-touted first-round draft choice is still waiting to experience when it counts. He’s goalless as the Mooseheads kick off a five-game home stand on Friday and Saturday against the Val-d’Or Foreurs and P.E.I. Rocket.
Although most expected the 6-foot-1, 197-pound centre would have more than his meagre two assists, Andrews has brought a consistent work ethic, played well in his own zone and generated more chances than the numbers show.
“It’s alright,” he said after leaving the ice. “I’m getting my chances, so if I keep working, I know the points will come. I’m trying to work hard and play my game.”
The Mooseheads traded stalwart defender Gabriel O’Connor to the Rouyn-Noranda Huskies in the off-season to acquire the 15th overall pick used to select Andrews.
The 16-year-old from Hunter River, P.E.I., has logged as much time as anybody not named Tomas Knotek, Gerrad Grant or Travis Randell. The organization continues to peg him as the cornerstone of its rebuilding process, and the coaching staff has often compared him to Logan MacMillan.
“He’s going to be a good player in this league for a long time,” Mooseheads head coach Cam Russell said. “Sometimes, it comes later for guys, but when it comes, it comes in bunches. Eventually this season, you’ll see him bust out.”
Andrews said the speed and strength of the players and the pace of the game has been the biggest adjustment.
“Everything happens so much faster,” he said. “You have to know what you’re doing before you get the puck.”
It would be a bonus for the last-place Mooseheads if Andrews finds his offensive touch. They’re dying for someone to ignite their league-worst offence and help snap a 12-game losing streak. Andrews is as good a bet as anybody.
“You’ll see,” Russell said. “It’s like the team in general. People have to be patient. We’ll take our lumps, but next year or the year after, you’ll see a different hockey team.”