So much for a golden slump-busting opportunity.
The Halifax Mooseheads’ losing streak stretched to 10 games on Thursday night at the Metro Centre against an opponent that arrived in town ripe for the picking.
The Montreal Juniors, riding a six-game losing skid of their own and without star goalie Jake Allen, skated away with a comfortable 6-2 victory before a sparse crowd of 4,414.
Montreal scored 24 seconds in against the unusually lifeless Herd, and three times in the second period to grab a 4-0 lead. Even the heroics of captain Tomas Knotek — who scored twice to narrow it to 4-2 — did little to ignite a spark.
“This is the worst game I’ve seen us play … Really disappointing,” said Mooseheads head coach Cam Russell. “You’re dealing with kids, you’re not going to get perfection, but we have to let these guys know it won’t be accepted.”
Russell wasn’t just upset with his players. Some controversial officiating had him absolutely furious after Matthew Brenton scored on a penalty shot with 6:07 to go and David Stich salted it away on a breakaway with 5:14 remaining.
Feeling the Brenton ruling was generous and Stich’s goal came after a non-call, Russell slammed a player’s stick over the boards and snapped the blade in a rare show of emotion. Although he said he was “frustrated” and “didn’t agree with the calls,” his post-game concern lay elsewhere.
“We didn’t lose the game because of that,” Russell said. “We lost the game because we weren’t prepared to play. It’s as simple as that. We lacked emotion. We’re not a team that can come out flat. We don’t have enough skill to do that.”
Mooseheads winger Linden Bahm said he didn’t think the Mooseheads have “ever come out as flat as we did tonight,” while Knotek said it was “a little bit too late to start playing better hockey” after he finally found the net.
The Mooseheads, last in the QMJHL at 1-16-1, visit the Cape Breton Screaming Eagles on Friday.