The Halifax Mooseheads’ brass has put its veterans on notice in the QMJHL pre-season — be ready or be gone.

Many of them clearly took that message to heart at the Halifax Forum last night, as returning QMJHLers contributed all of the Mooseheads goals in a 6-4 victory over the Prince Edward Island Rocket before a crowd of about 1,700.

Reigning team MVP Tomas Knotek scored twice, while 17-year-old Gabriel Desjardins and 20-year-olds Yuri Cheremetiev, Linden Bahm and Alexandre Brunet added singles.

Knotek, with his second, and Desjardins scored midway through the third period to snap a 4-4 tie.

“It’s for a good reason when (head coach) Cam (Russell) says that we need to be leaders,” said Desjardins, the team’s rookie of the year last season. “We’ve had meetings with Cam and he’s asked us to give good leadership for the rookies and give them a reason to show up every night. We did that.”

Not that the rookies slacked off. Slick 16-year-old Matthew Boudreau collected a pair of assists and had one of the highlights of the night when he stickhandled through two defenders only to be robbed by the glove of Evan Mosher.

Justin Belanger, a Halifax native, had a similarly impressive individual effort in the third period and got to strut his stuff on a top line with Bahm and returnee Charles Bety.

“My whole family was here,” said Belanger, a former star with the Halifax McDonald’s major midgets. “I’ve played here a long time and I watched the Mooseheads when I was a kid so to chuck on the jersey here was a great feeling.”

Tryout Randy Chisholm, 17, and projected starter Mathieu Corbeil each allowed two goals in Halifax’s crease.

The Mooseheads continue the pre-season tomorrow night on the road against the Moncton Wildcats.

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