Ciampini, MacKinnon star again as Mooseheads move to top of QMJHL
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The hot hands of Luca Ciampini and Nathan MacKinnon continued to sizzle as the Halifax Mooseheads moved into a tie for first in the QMJHL on Wednesday night.
Ciampini and MacKinnon, who both enjoyed hat-trick performances in their previous game on Saturday night, had two more goals apiece in front of a crowd of 6,724 at the Metro Centre as the Mooseheads took down the Moncton Wildcats 5-1.
The win is Halifax's fifth straight and leaves the club alongside the Quebec Remparts with a 7-1 record.
“I’ve been here for four years so it’s pretty awesome — we’ve never been in the top two,” said Mooseheads centre Matthew Boudreau, who had a goal and set up both of Ciampini’s tallies.
“It’s pretty exciting for us.”
Ciampini and MacKinnon got things started early despite the absence of leading scorer Jonathan Drouin due to an upper body injury, taking advantage of a major penalty to Wildcats rookie Ivan Barbashev just 51 seconds into the contest. Both players scored on the ensuing power play in the opening five minutes and the Mooseheads never looked back.
“What more can you ask for, for the offensive guys to start off the game on a five-minute power play?” Ciampini said. “We got good momentum, scored two goals, and it for sure changed the game.”
Boudreau and Ciampini padded Halifax’s lead to 4-0 in the second half of the second period before the Wildcats finally got on the board. MacKinnon finished things off with a nifty individual effort on a power play at 5:08 of the third.
Ciampini and Boudreau were the first and second stars, while their linemate, Dominic Beauchemin, filled in for suspended right-winger Martin Frk and had a pair of helpers.
“Some nights we have to step up and tonight was the night because Jo (Drouin) wasn’t there,” Boudreau said.
Ciampini, selected second overall by the Mooseheads in 2010, had just four goals in his previous 60 games, including playoffs, prior to his two-game, five-goal outburst.
“It’s pretty awesome,” Boudreau said. “He’s got his confidence back — five goals in two games, that’s pretty good. We help him a lot and he helps us a lot and I hope he continues like that so we can keep it going.”
MacKinnon was the third star while goalie Zach Fucale made 29 saves.
The Mooseheads are on the road this weekend, visiting the Drummondville Voltigeurs on Friday at 8:30 p.m. and Shawinigan Cataractes on Saturday at 5 p.m.