HALIFAX – Darcy Ashley of Brooklyn, P.E.I., walked out of the Halifax Mooseheads’ dressing room looking like he’d been through a war.
The Herd’s co-captain was in the thick of it, coming out on the losing end of a gruelling 4-3 shootout loss to the Quebec Remparts before 8,272 fans at the Metro Centre on Friday night.
In the end, the Mooseheads lost their leading scorer Jonathan Drouin and one of their top defencemen, Matt Murphy.
“They were playing a really chippy game,” said Ashley. “They came out with a lot of intensity.
“We weathered the storm for the first 10 minutes. We settled down and played our game. But they’re a fast, good hockey team. They are better than what their record shows.”
Ashley, who picked up three assists in the contest, didn’t end up unscathed either, taking a crosscheck to the throat from Remparts forward Nick Sorenson, who received a match penalty for his actions.
But the big story was the play that ended Drouin’s night, a fierce check from behind, compliments of Adam Erne, that crumpled the Herd’s star forward and left him with concussion-like symptoms.
“They were both cheap shots,” said Ashley referring to his and Drouin’s ordeal.
But Erne didn’t see it that way.
“He wasn’t far from the boards and I pushed him pretty hard,” said Erne, who also received a game misconduct for the hit. “I thought it was a dive and I thought everybody else did, too.
“I wouldn’t have even gotten a penalty if he didn’t dive into the boards.”
He also said that Drouin could have absorbed the hit standing up, and avoided injury.
“If he dives and goes head first he’s going to hurt himself,” added Erne, who also knocked Murphy out of the game with a shoulder-on-shoulder check before stealing the puck and scoring the game’s first goal.
Saturday, Mooseheads general manager Cam Russell said Drouin has a mild concussion and would not be with the team for its game Sunday in Charlottetown against the Islanders.