The Halifax Mooseheads may have survived a big injury scare to leading scorer Nathan MacKinnon.
The 16-year-old rookie left Wednesday’s QMJHL semifinal game against the Rimouski Oceanic with around four minutes left in the third period after taking a hit behind the net from defenceman Etienne Boutet.
MacKinnon’s head made contact with the end-boards as he crumpled to the ice. He stayed down for about half a minute before skating off on his own, but went to the dressing room and did not return.
“I asked him when I walked into the room (after the game), he told me he’s fine,” said Mooseheads head coach Dominique Ducharme. “It was more of precaution. We wanted to make sure he was OK. I don’t think it’s serious because he’s fine.”
When asked if MacKinnon would play in Friday’s Game 5, Ducharme said: “Right now I believe he’s going to be in. I don’t see why he wouldn’t be.”
The Cole Harbour native leads the QMJHL playoffs in scoring with 13 goals and 13 assists for 26 points in 15 games.
MacKinnon took a spear earlier in the third period from Rimouski forward Robbie DeFulvis, an infraction Oceanic head coach Serge Beausoleil denounced.
“I’m not the kind of guy who won’t admit it — that was a bad penalty,” Beausoleil said. “It was not a four-minute penalty, it was not a spearing penalty, it was kind of a slashing penalty, but it was not a good one.”
Both Ducharme and Beausoleil said they had no issues with the Boutet hit on MacKinnon.
“It was a solid hit,” Ducharme said. “I think Nathan was a little bit reaching for the puck. That’s about it.”