The series that was never supposed to get this far is over.
The Halifax Mooseheads finally finished off the pesky Victoriaville Tigres last night with a 7-0 pummelling before a crowd of 6,013 at the Metro Centre to advance to the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League quarter-finals.
The Tigres, 27-point underdogs, weren’t expected to put up a fight, but made it a series with a pair of wins in Victoriaville last week. In the end, Halifax’s heavy offensive artillery — which averaged nearly eight goals per game in the four wins — was too much in the 4-2 best-of-seven first-round victory.
“We had a little bit of trouble in their rink, but we knew we had a great team,” said Mooseheads centre Peter-James Corsi, who was the first star with two goals and an assist.
“We knew if we worked hard, like it’s the last game of our season or our career, we’re going to come out (and win).”
There was little doubt the Mooseheads would deliver the knockout punch last night. Ryan Hillier broke the ice 7:01 in, leading off a five-goal run in an 8:37 first-period stretch.
Bryce Swan added a pair of goals in the second — his league-leading seventh and eighth in just six playoff games — and the Moose put it on cruise control from there.
A steady stream of Tigres penalties added fuel to the fire, as they took five trips to the box in the first period. The Mooseheads had a 7-0 lead after 40 minutes while going 3-for-9 on the power play and taking only a single minor of their own.
“Guys like (Brad) Marchand and Hillier got smoked from behind, and in the regular season, we would have jumped in,” Swan said. “But come playoffs, you’ve just gotta take it on the chin. You’ve got to stay disciplined to have success.”
Logan MacMillan and Tomas Knotek had Halifax’s other goals.
It was an easy night for Mark Yetman, who recorded his first career playoff shutout by stopping a ridiculously low 12 shots, including just three in the third period.
Things were so under control that right-winger Jakub Voracek, the second star with three assists, took the final 20 minutes off, saying he was under the weather with the flu.
The massive scoring edge in Halifax’s victories — 31-5 — is a telling sign of the team’s offensive firepower.
“We’re put together to scare other teams offensively,” said Swan, a 20-year-old assistant captain and Anaheim Ducks draftee. “When we hit the playoffs, everyone was ready. That’s what we were waiting the whole regular season for.”
The Mooseheads play the Cape Breton Screaming Eagles in the second round, starting Friday at the Metro Centre.
• Forwards Yuri Cheremetiev and Daniel Smith were healthy scratches for the second straight game … The league assessed little-used Tigres defenceman Kirill Tulupov a one-game suspension prior to last night’s game.