CHARLOTTETOWN, P.E.I. – Carson MacKinnon remembers how last season ended.
His third-ranked Rimouski Oceanic squad led 14-seeded Moncton Wildcats 3-2 in the best-of-seven first-round series. They lost 2-1 in Moncton in Game 6 and 6-3 on home ice in the deciding game.
“It definitely left a sour taste in our mouth,” MacKinnon said Tuesday. “It was a great series but at the end of the day nobody likes losing. . . We definitely didn't forget about that loss last year.”
Head coach Serge Beausoleil was asked during the off-season about seeking redemption this year.
“We have nothing to be ashamed of,” the bench boss said Wednesday. “We lost in Game 7 in a best-of-seven. It’s real good experience for the kids.”
MacKinnon has been with the Oceanic for three playoffs runs, but each ended in the first round.
In his rookie season, Rimouski ran into the Charlottetown Islanders who took off in the second half of the season with the additions of Daniel Sprong, Samuel Blais, Jake Coughler and Alexis Vanier. In MacKinnon’s second year, they got the eventual President Cup-winning Saint John Sea Dogs in the opening before drawing a Wildcats squad earlier this year.
The squad is expected to be one of the top teams in the league this season.
“I want to make a deep playoff run,” MacKinnon said, noting it has good veterans and some superstar younger guys. “I think our team can do some damage this year.”
The team made some big acquisitions during the off-season, adding forwards Olivier Garneau from Quebec as well as Cedric Pare from Saint John and Jimmy Huntington from Victoriaville. They also acquired defenceman Radim Salda from Saint John, but the Czech Republic native hasn't played yet as the team worked through immigration issues. He is expected to make his debut tonight.