The Halifax Mooseheads have been kicked while they’re down, and it might get worse before it gets better.
The Mooseheads were hammered 8-1 by the Moncton Wildcats on Sunday in the first of five straight games on the road and, in the process, lost top-four defenceman Konrad Abeltshauser for about a month because of a broken wrist.
Abeltshauser, a rookie from Germany, was playing big minutes and had two goals and four assists in 12 games.
Both setbacks were heavy blows to the Mooseheads, already firmly last in the QMJHL with a 1-10-1 record.
“We can’t let something like this discourage us,” said head coach and general manager Cam Russell, of the 8-1 loss and the injury to Abeltshauser. “We have to regroup, stick to our plan and keep moving forward. We can’t sit around feeling sorry for ourselves. That’s not going to solve anything.”
Although Sunday marked Halifax’s worst loss of the season, Russell wasn’t reading too much into it. The Wildcats were awarded six first-period power-plays and converted three times for an early 3-0 lead. They finished 5-for-12 with the man advantage and fired 47 shots on goal.
With Abeltshauser out and four Mooseheads blueliners in the penalty box in the third period, forwards Travis Randell, Gerrad Grant and Brent Andrews were forced into action on defence. Moncton scored four times in the third.
“It’s tough to get a read on a game like that where you give up that many power plays to a powerhouse like Moncton,” said Russell, who opted against commenting on the officiating. “It’s hard to get a read on what our start would have been like because we spent the whole first period in the penalty box.”
Rookie defenceman Steve Gillard (hip flexor) missed Sunday’s game, leaving the Mooseheads with six healthy defencemen. Russell said he won’t recall anybody.
The Mooseheads leave tomorrow for a three-game road trip to Quebec. They face the Remparts (6-2-3) in Quebec City on Thursday at 8 p.m. and visit the Chicoutimi Sagueneens on Friday and the Baie-Comeau Drakkar on Sunday.