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The 2011-12 season didn't exactly go as Martin Frk planned.
Coming off a successful rookie campaign with the Halifax Mooseheads in 2010-11, Frk had high hopes for his sophomore year. The 18-year-old winger from the Czech Republic got himself in the best shape of his life over the summer and showed up at training camp at the top of his game.
But one play during the Mooseheads' second-to-last game of the preseason changed everything. Frk cut into the slot in a game against the Moncton Wildcats on Sept. 2 and opposing forward Allain Saulnier caught him with a hard open-ice hit. Frk suffered a concussion on the play and needed more than three months to recover.
He finally returned to the Halifax lineup on Dec. 9 and slowly worked his way back into form. He struggled for a while to find his A game, but with the playoffs set to start on Friday Frk is back where he wants to be.
“He’s been playing pretty good," said Mooseheads head coach Dominique Ducharme. "We see that he’s getting better and better still. If we take away the games that he played before Christmas, he’s been getting better all the time and he’s still getting better. It’s nice to see him improving like he is and playing like he is right now.”
Frk finished the regular season with 29 points in 34 games. Had he played a full season, he would have produced more than 60 points at that pace. That would have been a 10-point improvement from his rookie season when he posted 50 points.
But Frk doesn't worry about what could have been, saying he is only focused on having a great post-season.
“I am really excited because we have a great team this year," Frk said. "Last year we played just the first round and now we can go to the finals if we play good and work very hard. I can’t wait.”
The Mooseheads lost in four games to the Montreal Junior in last year's first round. But they enter this year's playoffs as the No. 6 seed and will have home-ice advantage against their rivals in Moncton in the opening series.
Ducharme expects Frk to be a key player for the Mooseheads in the post-season.
“That’s probably where we’re going to see the best from him," Ducharme said. "It’s great timing to have him at his best. He’ll have about 30 games under his belt.”
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