The Halifax Mooseheads showed plenty of guts and character in a 5-4 come-from-behind victory on the road against Baie-Comeau on Sunday afternoon to snap a three-game losing streak.
The Herd fought back to tie the game on three different occasions before Ben Higgins put them ahead to stay with just 4:45 remaining in regulation when he jammed in his third goal of the season during a furious scrum around Drakkar goalie Francis Leclerc. Higgins’ feet left the ice as he jumped in celebration, showing how important the two points was to the team. The win helps Halifax (40-16-6-1) keep pace with the Acadie-Bathurst Titan (39-15-7-2) and the teams remain tied in points with 87 at the top of the division.
It was a game that saw the lead change hands on five occasions and featured plenty of excitement on offense. Alex Gravel made 32 saves in the win and the Mooseheads reached the 40 win plateau for the eighth time in franchise history. Halifax used timely goals and discipline to do it as they did not grant even one power play to the opposition.
Second star Xavier Parent opened the scoring late in the first period when he skated in from the slot and sniped a wrist shot for his 12th of the season. Baie-Comeau stormed back in the middle period with two straight goals from Nathan Legare and Ivan Chekhovich to go ahead 2-1. Arnaud Durandeau pulled the Mooseheads even at 12:47 but Checkhovich, the first star, got another one only 17 seconds later and the Drakkar held a 3-2 advantage going into the third period.
The final 20 minutes of regulation saw four goals scored between the clubs and three of them by the Mooseheads. Jake Ryczek used a delay move at the blue-line to get around a forward and he sent a low wrist shot through traffic that tied the game 3-3 at the 4:21 mark. Halifax and Baie-Comeau traded chances back and forth but Legare notched his second goal of the game with exactly eight minutes to play and the Drakkar went back in front 4-3. Raphael Lavoie picked up the latest in a long line of important goals when he lifted a hard backhand shot high over Leclerc’s shoulder 2:17 later and the roller coaster of emotions continued. His 28th of the season tied the game 4-4. The Mooseheads kept coming and Ben Higgins came through in the clutch less than a minute after Lavoie’s goal to give the Herd a lead they would not relinquish.
Final shots were 43-36 in favour of the Mooseheads. Max Fortier and Connor Moynihan each had a pair of assists while Filip Zadina, Xavier Parent, Brett Crossley and Otto Somppi also had helpers. Halifax was 0-2 on the power play while Baie-Comeau did not have a man advantage.
Walter Flower, Patty Kyte and Joel Bishop remained out of action with injuries. The Mooseheads will continue their road trip on Tuesday night at 8:30pm in Rimouski and will also visit Acadie-Bathurst next Saturday afternoon. The regular season wraps up with a trio of home games at Scotiabank Centre.
The Mooseheads will host Saint John on Wednesday, March 14th at 7pm, Moncton on Friday, March 16th at 7pm while fan appreciation day will be held on Saturday, March 17th at 4pm in what could be a highly important game against the Titan in terms of playoff implications. Tickets for the three remaining home game 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.