The Halifax Mooseheads received some welcome news on Thursday when forward and Alternate Captain Otto Somppi was cleared to return to the lineup for the first time this season. The Tampa Bay Lightning prospect who had been rehabbing an off-season shoulder procedure has been a full participant in practice throughout the week after previously wearing a no contact jersey.
“It feels great. It’s been a long six months and not playing in the preseason, tomorrow is a big day for me,” he said.
Somppi is expected to play center on the Halifax’s top line with Connor Moynihan on the left wing and Captain Max Fortier on the right wing Friday night in Cape Breton. The Mooseheads and Screaming Eagles open up a home and home series as part of Rivalry Week in the QMJHL when the puck drops at 7pm at Centre 200 in Sydney.
He said the veteran trio have distinct skills that combine to make an excellent line.
“Max is very fast, probably the fastest guy in the league so it’s really fun with him and Connor is a big body out there who works hard and makes more space.”
The 19-year-old immediately adds to the depth of the roster and brings veteran experience in the face-off circle. The Finland native won 695 face-offs last season, which was 194 more than Nico Hischier who had the second most on the team. Somppi scored 41 points on 17 goals and 14 assists last season and has produced a total of 87 points in his two years with the Mooseheads since he was selected in the first round of the 2015 CHL Import Draft.
His return gives Halifax 13 healthy forwards for the first time this year which will result in some decisions for Head Coach Jim Midgley and Assistants Jon Greenwood and Sylvain Favreau. Expect to see BO Groulx center the second line with Filip Zadina on right wing and Arnaud Durandeau on left wing. Raphael Lavoie likely slides down to third line center with Xavier Parent and Joel Bishop on the wings. That leaves Brett Crossley, Barrett Dachyshyn, Ben Higgins and rookie Kyle Petten vying for ice time on the fourth line.
The Mooseheads and Screaming Eagles will be on Scotiabank Centre ice on Saturday night at 7pm in the Annual Pink in the Rink game in Halifax. The Mooseheads’ game worn jerseys will be raffled off throughout the contest with proceeds going to support the Canadian Cancer Society.
Tickets are on sale now at the Ticket Atlantic Box Office, select Superstore Outlets, TicketAtlantic.com, the Official Mooseheads Shop in Scotia Square or call 451-1221.
Get your 2017-18 Season Tickets, 15-Game Packs and 6-Game Packs by visiting the Official Mooseheads Shop in Scotia Square Mall, by email email@example.com, or call 902-429-FANS.