Andrew Rankin - Metro Halifax
HALIFAX - The moment Philippe Gadoury was anticipating arrived Wednesday night.
The Halifax Mooseheads‚Äô newly acquired forward suited up on the team‚Äôs top line alongside Jonathan Drouin and Darcy Ashley.
The trio did exactly what they were supposed to, combining for seven points to lead the Mooseheads to a 5-1 victory over an overwhelmed Charlottetown Islanders squad before 7,121 ecstatic fans at the Metro Centre.
‚ÄúIt feels good,‚ÄĚ said a smiling Gadoury. ‚ÄúIt‚Äôs fun to play with players like that and I think we‚Äôre really going to do well.‚ÄĚ
Playing in his third game since being signed by the Mooseheads, Gadoury rifled home his first QMJHL goal, a crisp one-timer on a laser feed from Drouin.
It was his second point of the night, which pushed the Mooseheads ahead 3-1 near the midpoint of the middle frame.
From the moment the 19-year-old forward joined the Herd, Gadoury knew he‚Äôd have the chance to line up alongside Drouin, who returned from his world junior hiatus on Wednesday, along with netminder Zach Fucale.
‚ÄúHe has so much skill, you know he‚Äôs going to be a big time player in the NHL,‚ÄĚ said Gadoury. ‚ÄúBut (Drouin) and (Ashley) have so much talent: they‚Äôre good skaters, they have a good shot and good vision. I have to be ready all the time. Every game, every shift I have to give a 100 per cent.‚ÄĚ
Dominating from the get go, the Mooseheads outshot their opponent 48-17. After taking a two-goal lead into the final frame, Brent Andrews and MacKenzie Weegar added singles to put the contest out of reach.
Wednesday also marked the return of overager forward Andrew Ryan, who picked up an assist on the game‚Äôs opening goal.
Now that the Mooseheads are close to 100 per cent healthy, defenceman Jesse Lussier said he expects a different team to emerge with 23 games left on the Herd‚Äôs schedule before playoffs begin.
‚ÄúWith so many guys out, some of us were playing roles that we haven‚Äôt been used to in a couple years,‚ÄĚ said Lussier, who picked up two assists in the win. ‚ÄúIt helped with the development of players when guys are settling back to their regular roles. But now we have four strong lines, and we were just rolling four tonight and we put up 50 shots.‚ÄĚ
He was only too happy to see his newest teammate pick up his first Q goal.
‚Äú(Gadoury‚Äôs) only been here for three games and you can already see he‚Äôs making a big impact for our team. It shouldn‚Äôt have been his first, he‚Äôs had ample opportunities all game.‚ÄĚ
With the victory the Mooseheads improve to 28-16-0-1. They‚Äôll hit the road Saturday to take on the Rimouski Oceanic.
Ashley led the Mooseheads with a pair of goals and an assist. Luca Ciampini and Andrews picked up a goal and an assist, while Drouin finished with a pair of helpers. Alexandre Goulet responded for the Islanders.