No one can blame them for not putting it all on the line.
The Halifax Mooseheads held nothing back as they fell 3-2 to the Val-d’Or Foreurs on Tuesday night in front of a sold-out Metro Centre crowd, bringing their 2014 playoff run to a close.
“It’s disappointing to lose in Game 7, one game away from the final — it’s hard,” said Mooseheads star forward Jonathan Drouin, wiping away tears after the emotional on-ice battle.
“We had a couple shots that could have gone in, but the bounce didn’t go in …There are game like that and tonight was one of them.”
Cheered on by a raucous home crowd of 10,595, the Mooseheads put up a valiant effort, outshooting the visiting Foreurs 41-16.
But Val-d’Or netminder Antoine Bibeau stayed true to form, with 39 saves to mark another impeccable performance, denying shot after shot from the Herd’s unrelenting offence.
Heading into the third trailing the Foreurs 3-2 — with a pair of first-period markers from Philippe Gadoury and Nikolaj Ehlers — the Herd just couldn’t come up with the equalizer, despite close call after close call.
The final period remained scoreless as Val-d’Or buckled down its defence, effectively shutting down the Mooseheads’ offensive machine.
But the Herd refused to give up, right to the end.
Halifax couldn’t score on a late power play despite plenty of good chances, and then came up empty when they pulled netminder Zach Fucale for the extra attacker with about 90 seconds left.
“Tonight was just a really good show of how much character we have in the room,” said a sombre-faced Mooseheads centre Brent Andrews.
“We didn’t let off the gas; we peppered them with shots,” he added.
“I thought we might have deserved a better outcome. But that’s the way hockey goes sometimes.”
For many of the team’s older players, it marks their final season with the team.
“The last three years have been something to be proud of,” said five-year veteran forward Brent Andrews.
“It’s hard to feel that right now, but looking back … I’ll definitely appreciate playing with the talent that I did and the teams that I played on and the memories I made. I’ll definitely cherish those for a long, long time.”
The Val-d’Or Foreurs will now go on to face the Baie-Comeau Drakkar in the QMJHL final. The Drakkar edged the Blainville-Boisbriand Armanda 2-1 to take series in seven games as well.
“Halifax played well tonight. They outshot us … but we didn’t give up,” said Foreurs forward Anthony Mantha.
“We knew we had a chance in this series and right now we’re just super excited.”