Moose drop opener on Nathan MacKinnon’s night
Moose Country was treated to a first class event on Friday night prior to the Home Opener against the Charlottetown Islanders as Nathan MacKinnon had his number 22 jersey raised to the rafters. There was barely a dry eye in the house as the hometown hero and Stanley Cup Champion delivered a heartfelt speech to the fans that have been watching and cheering him on since his youngest days.
MacKinnon was joined on the ice by his parents Kathy and Graham, sister Sarah and girlfriend Charlotte as well as Mooseheads owners Peter and Sam Simon. The fans gave several thunderous ovations for Nate after a pair of tribute videos played to the near sell-out crowd.
Once the ceremonies came to a close it was time to get down to business for a youthful Mooseheads team that was missing a handful of its top stars who remain away attending NHL training camps. The game kicked off on the right foot as the club’s top pick from June opened the scoring just 7:48 into the contest. 16-year-old Liam Kilfoil, a second round selection in the most recent QMJHL Entry Draft, ripped in a low shot after a great setup by Logan Crosby to put Halifax ahead 1-0. Brady Schultz also earned an assist on the play. Unfortunately, that turned out to be the only offensive output for the home squad as Michael Horth scored a pair, including the eventual game-winner on a second period power play. Rookie Owen Conrad sealed the game with a long, empty net tally in the dying seconds to give the Isles the opening night victory.
— Halifax Mooseheads (@HFXMooseheads) September 22, 2023
Halifax played without NHL draft picks Jordan Dumais (Columbus), Jake Furlong (San Jose), Dylan MacKinnon (Nashville), Mathieu Cataford (Vegas) and goalie Mathis Rousseau who is attending Arizona’s training camp on a free agent invitation. Cataford is nursing an upper body injury and remains week-to-week.
Jack Milner made his first career start in goal for the Moose and stopped 15 of 17 shots while Charlottetown’s Carter Bickle earned his first career win after signing as an Ontario free agent earlier this month. Bickle made 23 saves to grab the win.
The teams will battle again on Saturday night in a rematch at the Eastlink Centre in Charlottetown at 7pm. The next home game for the Herd is scheduled for Friday, October 6th when Halifax plays host to Victoriaville at 7pm. Tickets are on sale now at Ticketmaster.ca.