Welsh shuts the door on the Mooseheads
The Charlottetown Islanders got a big effort from goaltender Matt Welsh who stymied his hometown Halifax Mooseheads time and time again in a 2-0 Islanders victory to open up the second half of the QMJHL season.
Pascal Aquin netted a pair of goals for the visitors and Welsh turned aside all 36 shots the Mooseheads fired at him before being named the first star of the game and taking over top spot as Charlottetown’s franchise leader in wins with 55.
“Matt Welsh was real good and deserved to be first star. He came in after having a good first half and carried it over into tonight,” said Mooseheads Head Coach Jim Midgley.
Halifax got some great goaltending of their own with 21 saves by Blade Mann-Dixon. He kept Charlottetown off the scoreboard for the first 36:40 of the game until Aquin carried the puck into the Mooseheads zone along the right side boards and then made a move to cut in front of defenceman Jordan Lepage and buried a shot for his 14th goal of the season. The score stayed that way for nearly an entire period but the Isles’ 20-year-old struck again, this time short-handed. Brett Crossley drew an undisciplined penalty by Sam King who was called for roughing 200 feet from his own net with 5:08 to go in regulation and the Mooseheads were awarded a crucial power play. However things didn’t go as planned. Aquin forced a turnover by Jocktan Chainey at the Charlottetown blue line and the Halifax defender couldn’t recover as he watched Aquin slide his second goal of the night behind Mann-Dixon.
The game certainly had an edge to it with these teams fighting for position in the tight division standings. There was plenty of jawing between whistles while each team lost a player to a game misconduct during a melee late in the 2nd period. Jared McIsaac was hit from behind by Cayse Ton leading to fights including McIsaac, Connor Moynihan, Hunter Drew and Nathaniel Doyon. McIsaac and Doyon were both tossed from the game with 3:45 to go in the middle period.
The 7,456 fans at Scotiabank Centre got their first look at newly acquired defenceman Jake Ryczek and by all accounts he impressed them. The Chicago Blackhawks prospects displayed his terrific skating ability and good hockey sense with the puck.
“There’s lots of things to like about him. He skates really well and has a good shot and will only continue to get better,” said Midgley.
The Mooseheads record drops to 21-10-4-1 but the team remains in first place in the Maritimes Division by one point ahead of Acadie-Bathurst. The Islanders are just three points behind the Herd with a 21-11-2-0 record. The Mooseheads will practice on Friday before playing host to the Cape Breton Screaming Eagles in Game 1 of the Hurley Cup on Saturday afternoon at 2pm. The second annual battle for Nova Scotia Junior Hockey supremacy is gearing up to be a very entertaining affair with the Eagles hosting Game 2 on Sunday at 2pm.
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.