It wasn’t supposed to end like this for the Halifax Mooseheads.
Filled with so much promise at the beginning of the season and hopes of the franchise’s first President’s Cup, few predicted the club’s trip to the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League’s semifinals would end up a monumental disaster.
But the Mooseheads’ 14th season came to an abrupt end last night as the host Gatineau Olympiques finished off the herd with a 5-2 win to sweep the best-of-seven series in four straight “I wanted to win the whole thing so bad, but we didn’t,” said Colby Pridham as he fought back tears. “It’s a terrible feeling. My heart is broken. I’ve played my last game as a Moosehead and finished the best four years of my life with a loss.”
Coming off an embarrassing 6-1 loss to the Olympiques in Game 3, Mooseheads head coach Cam Russell attempted to shake up the lineup by scratching Brad Marchand, a big-ticket trade acquisition with a reputation for clutch performances.
The move did little good, as Paul Byron — who terrorized the Mooseheads all series — scored 14 seconds in and again at the four-minute mark and Gatineau never looked back.
Pridham, who graduates as a 20-year-old, and Andrew White scored the last two goals of Halifax’s season.
“Everything ended so fast,” sighed over-age forward Bryce Swan. “Before the series started last week we never would have thought that our season would be over in six days. Everybody would have said we were crazy for thinking like that.”
The Mooseheads never regained the form that pushed them through the first two rounds. They were outplayed in the final two games, and simply couldn’t stop Byron and Claude Giroux, who combined for 10 goals and 19 points in four games.
Mooseheads forward Ryan Hillier, from Hammonds Plains, admitted it’s going to be tough coming home.
“The Mooseheads are a big part of Halifax,” Hillier said.
“It’s an honour to play for them I just wish we could have gone farther in the playoffs and bring our fans a championship.”