If the Halifax Mooseheads are going to scratch and claw their way out of the QMJHL basement, it’s now or never.
The last-place Mooseheads kick off a pivotal five-game homestand tonight at 7 p.m. at the Metro Centre against the Saint John Sea Dogs.
Only 11 games remain in the season, and Halifax is three points out of a playoff spot.
“The clock is counting down and we’ve got to get some points,” said Mooseheads head coach Cam Russell. “We’re within striking range now and every game counts. We’re focused on the Saint John game right now, but we know when you have (a homestand), you’ve got to take advantage of it.”
Halifax (16-35-6, 38 points) must pass Lewiston (40 points) and Baie-Comeau (41 points) to clinch a playoff spot.
The good news is that the Sea Dogs are one of only two teams in the league that the Mooseheads have a winning record against. They’re 3-2 in five matchups with Saint John. The only other team they’ve bettered this season is Victoriaville.
• Gerrad Grant is the latest player to skate through the revolving door on the Mooseheads’ top offensive line.
The 18-year-old forward from Halifax has lined up with Czech snipers Jan Stransky and Tomas Knotek recently, replacing 16-year-old rookie Gabriel Desjardins, who replaced 19-year-old Yuri Cheremetiev. It has been a good fit.
Grant, a five-foot-11 168-pounder and a seventh-round draft pick in 2007, has 18 points in 53 games as a rookie, including four goals and two assists in his past seven outings.
“He’s looked really good,” Russell said. “He’s a guy with really good vision and composure with the puck, and he really complements those skilled guys.”
• Mooseheads forwards Matt Boland and Jessyko Bernard could miss tonight’s game with shoulder injuries.