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Mooseheads happy for Pender’s return

The Halifax Mooseheads are hoping their power play gets a boost with the return of Justin Pender from injury.

The Halifax Mooseheads are hoping their power play gets a boost with the return of Justin Pender from injury.

The Mooseheads, puttering along with the worst power play in the QMJHL with a 14.5 per cent conversion rate, will welcome the hard-shooting blue-liner back to the lineup Friday after a seven-game absence with an abdominal strain. They’re on a three-game road trip to Quebec, starting against the last-place Val-d’Or Foreurs at 8:30 p.m.

“The power play is the No. 1 thing we need to get better at, and getting Pender back is definitely going to help,” said Mooseheads head coach Cam Russell. “We’re not getting enough pucks to the net and our puck recovery hasn’t been great.”

Pender was used as a forward in two games before he got hurt, but Russell said he’ll stay mostly on the blue line.

It’s a battle for last place with the Foreurs, as both teams are tied in the Q basement with just 31 points apiece. After that, they face the mid-tier Rouyn-Noranda Huskies (Saturday, 8:30 p.m.) and the Montreal Junior (Monday, 8 p.m.).

“These are teams we can compete with,” Russell said. “These are big four-point games and we’ve got to be ready.”

The Mooseheads will be without defenceman George Dunn (flu) all weekend, while forward Eric Louis-Seize (shoulder) will be a game-day decision. Veteran goaltender Mark Yetman will get the starting nod against the Foreurs.

Halifax is 13-30-3-2 and is 2-5-2-1 in its last 10. There are 20 games remaining in the regular season.

 
 
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