The Halifax Mooseheads pulled Nathan MacKinnon from Friday’s game after an altercation with Rimouski Oceanic defenceman Pierre-Luc Pelletier.
With the score 7-0 for the Oceanic early in the third period of Game 5 of the QMJHL semifinal, a frustrated MacKinnon threw down his gloves to fight Pelletier, but the Oceanic 20-year-old declined the invitation. Pelletier, who had cross-checked MacKinnon several times, went off for holding and MacKinnon for roughing.
The 16-year-old MacKinnon did not return to the game and was held without a point for just the third time in the QMJHL post-season.
“He just reacted — he had enough,” Mooseheads head coach Dominique Ducharme said. “At the same time, that’s the reason why we kept him out (for the rest of the game), so guys wouldn’t be going after him.”
MacKinnon has one QMJHL fight to his credit versus Sean Girard on March 16, according to HockeyFights.com.
Following are some other notes in the aftermath of Game 5.
» The nine-goal differential matched the worst playoff loss in franchise history, a 12-3 setback to Rimouski on March 24, 1998. Only six times have the Mooseheads allowed nine or more goals in the post-season.
» Ducharme said he felt the Mooseheads had some quality chances in the first period and that it could have been 3-1 or 3-2 after 20 minutes.
“We had scoring chances,” he said.
But as the score started to get away from the Mooseheads, it turned into a defensive nightmare.
“The more it goes, in that kind of night, guys start to do a little bit more (offensively) and spread out,” Ducharme said. “At one point they wanted to change things and sometimes they get out of the plan, get out of the way we play, and that’s when we get holes defensively.”
»Mooseheads captain Cameron Critchlow probably fought Jonathan Lavoie late in the first period to try to rally his team, but it backfired when he was assessed a game misconduct for taking off Lavoie’s helmet. Ducharme said “that didn’t help,” but also said later that his team “should be mature enough to get through that.”
Even worse, the Mooseheads are at risk of losing Critchlow for Game 6 because of an automatic suspension.
» Oceanic goaltender Jacob Gervais-Chouinard made 30 saves for the shutout and probably had his best game of the series. The back-breaker was probably his point-blank save on an Alexandre Grenier power-play chance in the second period with the score 4-0. The Oceanic scored moments later, with Francis Beauvillier finishing an odd-man rush.
» Oceanic forward Petr Straka, a Columbus Blue Jackets draft choice, had a goal and three assists and was the first star. He’s been Rimouski’s most dangerous forward and now has three goals, seven assists, 23 shots and a plus-4 rating in five semifinal games. Gervais-Chouinard was the second star and Scott Oke made his way into the selections for the third straight game at No. 3.