There are more than a few experts at the Metro Centre who like to tell the Halifax Mooseheads when to shoot.
For those not keeping track, it’s pretty much every time they touch the puck inside the offensive blue-line.
But as the Mooseheads prepare for a set of home games against the Gatineau Olympiques and Victoriaville Tigres on Saturday and Sunday, the shoot-birds might want consider altering their pleas to “crash the net” or “get in front.”
It might not be as catchy, but the fact is, shots aren’t the problem thus far. The Mooseheads have out-shot three of their first four opponents — averaging a rapid-fire 35 per game — but are still the only winless team in the QMJHL.
“We feel good about the number of pucks we’re getting on net, but not the quality of shots,” said Mooseheads 18-year-old right-winger Jessyko Bernard. “We’ve got to work on crashing the net and getting rebounds. We’ve got to have that second and third effort to get there and finish ’er off.”
It’s no secret that Halifax will be hard-pressed to score goals this season. Captain Tomas Knotek and over-ager Yuri Cheremetiev are the only 20-goal scorers. The rest are either hard-working role players or unproven up-and-comers.
But to be fair, the Mooseheads did score eight goals in two games opening weekend before coming to a screeching halt last weekend with just two goals in two games.
“We’ve been struggling the past two games,” said assistant captain Travis Randell. “We’ve had our shots, we’ve had our chances, but we have to be more hungry around the net.”
Randell said a lot of pucks are going by players in front because they aren’t fighting for space to capitalize.
The 0-4 start isn’t a total shock for a rebuilding team loaded with youth. There have been positives — work ethic, to name one — but breaking the goose-egg will help.
“If we can get that first win, it will definitely help change the mood in the dressing room,” Randell said. “It’s been kind of hard, but it’s going to come … sooner or later.”