If there was one game so far this season that the Mooseheads would like a do-over for, than Thursday’s matchup against Baie-Comeau would probably be at the top of that list. A sloppy first period that saw the team get away from their game-plan led to a pair of Drakkar goals en route to a 3-2 Mooseheads loss on home ice.
Halifax actually jumped out to a 1-0 lead on an Otto Somppi power play goal assisted by Max Fortier and BO Groulx just five seconds into the man advantage at the 6:10 mark of the first period, but some non-structured play followed by the Herd. Filip Zadina turned the puck over in his own end and goalie Alex Gravel had no chance to stop Ivan Chekhovich who ripped in his seventh goal of the season off the give and go with D’Artagnon Joly at 12:49. Less than two minutes later when the Mooseheads failed to clear the zone, Isiah Gallo-Demetris won the battle in front of Gravel and tapped in a rebound following a point shot by Yan Aucoin. The Drakkar increased their lead to 3-1 only 101 seconds into the 2nd period on another turnover by BO Groulx in front of Gravel. Jean-Simon Belanger lifted the stick of Groulx and scored from the slot and that was all Baie-Comeau would need.
Antoine Samuel was excellent between the pipes to weather the storm from Halifax and was able to keep his team in the lead. he finished with 31 saves and was named the first star of the game. Gravel did all he could as well, stopping 26 of 29 shots and was the victim of some poor play in front of him. The Mooseheads netminder was hurt in practice two weeks ago and was playing in his first game since October 22nd.
The Mooseheads did end up turning things around with 17 shots in the middle period and created plenty of offense which eventually led to a power play goal by Groulx who was set up at the side of the net and tallied his 10th of the season after a couple of stabs at the puck. Filip Zadina and Otto Somppi earned the assists after some nice puck movement on the 4-on-3 man advantage. The Moose did not carry the momentum into the third period though as the Drakkar almost lulled them to sleep with no shots from either squad until almost six minutes into play.
The game had a frustrating end for Halifax with penalties to Zadina and Fortier leaving the Mooseheads down two men as the final seconds ticked off the clock. Zadina was given five minutes and a game misconduct for a check from behind on Yan Aucoin while Fortier was called for tripping with 1:58 left on the clock. The penalties negated any chance the Moose had at a late rally and Halifax saw its record drop to 11-6-3-0.
It was an otherwise enjoyable night for Max Fortier who was able to face off against younger brother Gabriel Fortier for just the second time in their careers. The Fortier parents were also in attendance for the special occasion and watched as their sons took part in the ceremonial face off to start the game which honoured Canada’s Military veterans.
The Mooseheads will continue their longest home stand of the season on Saturday night when they host the Sherbrooke Phoenix at 7pm at Scotiabank Centre. 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.