The real Battle of Nova Scotia is already over, but a quiet sequel begins in Rouyn-Noranda, Que., on Friday.
The Rouyn-Noranda Huskies and Saint John Sea Dogs open the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League semifinals in a best-of-seven series that will feature 10 Nova Scotians.
The Huskies have three Bluenosers in the lineup, while the Sea Dogs are tied for the QMJHL lead with seven.
The Huskies, who won the Jean Rougeau Trophy as regular-season champs, have cruised to back-to-back sweeps over the Val-d’Or Foreurs and Rimouski Oceanic, and are currently riding an impressive 11-game winning streak.
Howie Centre’s Brett Morrison, Tangier’s Tyler Hawes and Glace Bay’s Jarrad Struthers are all key players.
Morrison is a faceoff ace and top scorer with 14 points in eight games; Struthers is a hard-working penalty-killer; and Hawes is a 20-year-old assistant captain who makes an impact.
“Hawesy’s a power forward, he finishes his opponents, finishes his hits, blocks shots and brings energy to the team,” said Huskies head coach and general manager Andre Tourigny. “He’s kind of a (Boston Bruins forward) Milan Lucic-type of player.”
Saint John swept the P.E.I. Rocket in the first round and took out the surging Bathurst Titan in a six-game quarter-final.
Antigonish’s Alex Grant, the Sea Dogs’ captain, has 12 points in 10 games and anchors a beefy defence corps, while Sydney’s Ryan Sparling is tied for seventh in Q scoring with 17 points.
North Sydney’s Michael Kirkpatrick, a former Dartmouth Subways standout, is another contributor. The 17-year-old rookie forward has six points in 10 games.
“We know it will be a very tight series,” Tourigny said. “Saint John has a lot of offensive talent, four good lines, and their goalie (Travis Fullerton) is hot. Nobody thought they’d beat Bathurst, and that just shows how much talent they have.”
Halifax’s Steven Anthony, Porters Lake’s Matthew Stoddard, Musquodoboit Harbour’s Jeff McNeil and Waverley’s Scott McDonald are depth players for the Sea Dogs.
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