Andrew Rankin - Metro Halifax
© Nigel Armstrong - The Guardian
Halifax Mooseheads forward Timo Meier celebrates his first period goal against the Charlottetown Islanders at the Eastlink Centre on Thursday.
Troy Vance was hoping his junior hockey career wouldn’t end like this.
If the Charlottetown Islanders were to fall to the Halifax Mooseheads on Thursday night, then their towering 20-year-old Dallas Stars prospect wanted it to be close, at least.
But it wasn’t.
The Herd thoroughly humiliated the home squad in an 11-3 hammering to complete a 4-0 series sweep before a deflated audience of 1,418 at the Eastlink Centre.
“That’s the last memory I have of playing here, and it stings,” said Vance, who at least had a goal in his final QMJHL game. “But I don’t think it really reflected the matchup that was there.”
But, the truth is, it did.
Outshot 44-23, the badly overmatched Islanders were never really in the series despite a few close periods. Islanders goalie Mason McDonald, and perhaps their 17-year-old sniper Daniel Sprong, were the only factors in the way of making this matchup an outright embarrassment of a mismatch.
But in Game 4, McDonald was not on his game, giving up five straight goals before getting the yank 2:32 into the middle frame.
The Mooseheads responded unmercifully.
From game to game, the No. 2 seeded Mooseheads were on point, relentless top to bottom. While the 15th seeded Islanders could match their opponent’s grit, they simply were outclassed in the speed and skill departments.
“First of all, we were all clicking, all four lines were going,” said Mooseheads defenceman MacKenzie Weegar, who ended the night with a pair of goals. “Danny Moynihan, Connor Moynihan, Sam Leblanc, and Luca Ciampini, they were on their game all series. Most importantly our power play was key. We capitalized on our opportunities.
“We got the sweep, and that’s huge. We have a little time to rest up and get ready for the next series.”
Fellow defenceman Matt Murphy was rock solid for the Mooseheads in his own end, while quietly chipping in offensively, as well.
After praising his teammates for taking care of business in a cool and calculated manner, he also lauded the Islanders for refusing to back down.
“They showed a lot of character, and they still have a young team,” said Murphy. “And Mason McDonald played really, really well and kept them in a lot of games. They deserve a lot of credit.”
Jonathan Drouin led the Mooseheads with a pair of goals and assists. Nikolaj Ehlers and Weegar scored twice, while Timo Meier, Danny Moynihan, Connor Moynihan, Leblanc and Ciampini rounded out the scoring for the Herd.
Kameron Kielly and Sprong responded for the Islanders.