While the Quebec based teams of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League have been stuck in neutral for the most part, the beat goes on in the Maritime division where the Halifax Moosehead get to showcase the skills of their talented crop of rookies. Among the rookies is a quintet of players, all hailing from the Lac St. Louis region and four of those five were members of last year’s Midget AAA Lions roster. Markus Vidicek from Kirkland, St. Laurent’s James Swan, Beaconsfield’s Robert Orr and Brady James plus Ile Bizard’s Jordan Dumais, who played for the U 15 American Selects Academy last year. “Lac St. Louis has always had a strong program,” Halifax head coach JJ Daigneault said. “We are probably the youngest average aged team in the league and that’s fine. They all have good hockey IQ, they want to learn and they are exceeding my expectations.” The four forwards of Vidicek, Swan, Orr and Dumais plus goaltender James have all contributed to the Mooseheads’ efforts in the Maritimes Division. Vidicek was selected to the QMJHL’s team of the week recently for his two goals and a pair of helpers in two games but all four points came in a 5-4 shootout victory over the Saint John Sea Dogs. In that game, he scored in the shootout as well and was assisted by his linemate Swan, who had a pair of assists while Orr chipped in with the game winner in the shootout. “I played on a line with James last year,” Markus Vidicek said. “I know what to expect from him and what he brings to the game.” Being away from home, especially during the current COVID-19 situation, having a group of players from the same organization has helped in the transition. “It makes it a lot easier in the off days,” Vidicek said. “We can hang out together and do things like we were at home.” Coach Daigneault noted that it is tough on rookies, especially this year. “I look at being a surrogate father to them,” coach Daigneault said. “I know there are parents who are chomping at the bit to be here, that wanted to be here during training camp but the situation doesn’t allow for that right now.” Being more than a coach, building relationships is important to him. “When Brady got his first win (against the Cape Breton Eagles), I made certain to ask if he had called his parents to talk about it,” he said. The rookie brigade of the Mooseheads is getting to play and log minutes as Halifax is dealing with injuries where some games they would be rolling three lines all game long. “Injuries mean opportunities for the rookie players,” he said. “They’ve all stepped up to the challenge.” Vidicek noted that, “It is a lot faster (in the Q) and the coaches have done a really good job helping us learn the different systems here.” Over the course of 10 games, Vidicek has notched three goals and five assists, Swan has been good for a trio of tallies and a quartet of helpers, Orr chipped in three goals and three assists while Dumais who went from the Lac St. Louis bantam AAA program to the American Selects Academy has three goals and four assists. James has a 1-win 2-loss record and in last Thursday’s 4-3 loss in overtime to the Moncton Wildcats, earned second star honours.

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