Fewer players plus fewer games could equal more intensity at Halifax Mooseheads’ training camp in August.

The Mooseheads will open camp on Tuesday, Aug. 17, with their annual team barbecue, then hit the ice at Cole Harbour Place from Wednesday, Aug. 18, to Friday, Aug. 20.

Fewer than 50 players are expected, compared to the 64 who reported to camp last year.

That means two intrasquad teams instead of three, with practices in the morning and five-on-five games at night.

“I think you’ll see better, more spirited games in the evenings,” said Mooseheads head coach and general manager Cam Russell.

Last year, Russell eliminated practices and brought back five-on-five intrasquad hockey at camp for the first time since 2003, telling players “anything goes,” including fights.

That led to more training-camp punch-ups than had been seen cumulatively in half a decade.

Russell said morning practices are important because of the club’s goaltending depth. Returnees Mathieu Corbeil and Peter Delmas and rookie Anthony Terenzio are vying for spots.

“We want to evaluate our goalies closely and that’s why we’re having practices in the morning,” Russell said.

The Mooseheads open their four-game pre-season with a home-and-home against the Saint John Sea Dogs on Saturday, Aug. 21, in New Brunswick and Sunday, Aug. 22, at the Halifax Forum.

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