Cam Russell didn’t flinch when his captain, Andrew Bodnarchuk, logged 50 minutes of ice time on Tuesday. In fact, he threw him out for 30 more minutes just 19 hours later.
“We’re just to the point where he’s impressed us so much, we don’t even notice it anymore,” the Halifax Mooseheads’ head coach said. “We expect it. He’s a great skater, a true competitor, and he just continues to do the job every night.”
Bodnarchuk and the rest of the Mooseheads are coming off back-to-back overtime games in Sydney — one of them the fourth-longest in Quebec Major Junior Hockey League history — and came within a hair of eliminating the Cape Breton Screaming Eagles in a four-game quarter-final sweep.
They’re back at home at the Metro Centre tonight at 7 p.m. for Game 5, still in command with a 3-1 series lead.
Russell called Bodnarchuk the Mooseheads’ best-conditioned player, saying he “never tires,” but still gave the workhorse blue-liner and the rest of the team the day off yesterday after they arrived back in Halifax by bus at 3 a.m.
Cape Breton has momentum after a 4-3 overtime win on Wednesday, the third one-goal game of the series. But Halifax enters Game 5 unbeaten in five playoff home games.
“We have to realize we’ve won three games against this team and we’ve played very well at home in the playoffs,” Russell said. “We’re not going to sweep through everybody, so I don’t think anybody’s discouraged. Everybody’s excited.”
Eagles head coach Pascal Vincent has been vocal in the media about the fact his team is drastically overmatched against the Mooseheads, despite the fact just three points separated the teams in the regular season. Russell doesn’t buy it.
“They keep playing this underdog card, but they’re a good hockey team for a lot of different reasons,” he said. “We knew it was going to be a close series. It’s good, hard-working hockey.”
>> Read Metro’s online coverage after tonight’s game at www.metronews.ca/halifax.
Moose look to finish off Eagles
Cam Russell didn’t flinch when his captain, Andrew Bodnarchuk, logged50 minutes of ice time on Tuesday. In fact, he threw him out for 30more minutes just 19 hours later.