Mike Thomas wasn’t close to being Stephen MacAulay’s most skilled teammate but the Cole Harbour native credits his former captain for playing an enormous role in his development.
In his third year in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League, MacAulay was part of the 2011 Memorial Cup winning Saint John Sea Dogs. Game in and game out he watched Thomas lead the way with his trademark tireless, selfless play.
“He didn’t have the most skill in the world,” said MacAulay, who collected 10 points in his 19-game Memorial Cup run. “But he gave an honest effort every night. He would do anything for his teammates, block shots, make big hits, and fight when he had to.
“I’ve always tried to be a little like that, a selfless teammate.”
That’s exactly why the Halifax Mooseheads acquired the 20-year-old from the Sea Dogs on Jan. 5. He’s a complete player, offering a bit of everything, says Mooseheads head coach Dominique Ducharme.
“I can put him on the power play, the PK, match him up against our opponent’s top line and he can score,” said Ducharme. “He’s a pro; he prepares like a pro.”
In 11 games with the Moose he’s produced a solid six goals and six assists to go with a plus-6 rating.
He brings with him a winning attitude also, having two President’s Cups and a Memorial Cup to show for his four plus seasons with Saint John.
He sees many similarities between that 2011 championship team and his current squad, which is poised to make a deep playoff run.
“With Saint John we always out-skilled other teams but when we won we were the hardest working team and similar to this team we have so much skill but know we have to bring the work ethic every night to be successful,” MacAulay said.
His most memorable moment with Halifax came on Jan. 18 when the Mooseheads hammered their rival Quebec Remparts 11-2 in their own building.
“That’s when I realized we are scary good.”
Mooseheads home to Rimouski on Wednesday night
It will be the top two teams in the QMJHL facing off on Wednesday as the Halifax Mooseheads host the Rimouski Oceanic at the Metro Centre at 7 p.m.
The Oceanic (35-11-1-4) sit 10 points behind the Mooseheads (41-5-2-1) for first in the QMJHL.
In their first meeting of the season Nov. 4, Rimouski edged the visiting Mooseheads 6-5 in a shoutout, snapping Halifax’s then 14-game winning streak.