Never count out these Halifax Mooseheads.
Just when it looked like life on the road was finally catching up to the Herd, they showed character and resilience in a fantastic 5-4 comeback overtime victory against the rival Moncton Wildcats. BO Groulx sent his team flooding onto the ice in celebration when he ripped the puck into an open net after Arnaud Durandeau fought off a Wildcats defender to poke the puck across the crease to Groulx who was staring at a wide open net.
Halifax climbed back from a 4-3 third period deficit to win for the second time this season at the Avenir Centre and improve to 9-2 overall. The Mooseheads are now just four more road games away from finally being able to play in front of their extremely patient…and excited home fans at Scotiabank Centre on Saturday, October 27th.
Rookie Marcel Barinka had the best game of his young QMJHL career as he scored his first two goals in a Mooseheads uniform including a clutch game-tying tally in the dying minutes of regulation. Barinka parked himself at the side of the net and was there to punch in a rebound off a Joel Bishop shot. The goal came with 4:41 to play and turned the momentum in the Mooseheads favour after they were showing signs of being a little tired throughout the game. Prior to the big Barinka goal, the Wildcats had scored three consecutive goals dating back to the middle of the second period which erased a 3-1 Halifax lead and gave the home team a 4-3 advantage. The Czech rookie was happy to contribute in a key situation.
“It was a tight game and we battled really hard so I think it’s good that we can win games like that,” he said.
Moncton took a 1-0 lead on the power play when Adam Capannelli scored 4:58 into the game that had a Wednesday night crowd of 3,771 feeling optimistic at the Avenir Centre. The Moose took the wind out of their sails for a while by notching three straight goals. Antoine Morand scored his sixth of the season and first since being announced as team Captain earlier in the day to tie the game 1-1. The Ducks prospect patiently held onto the puck and waited out Francis Leclerc before putting a forehand shot over the sprawling goalie. Then just before the end of the opening period it was Jake Ryczek’s first goal of the campaign that gave the Mooseheads a 2-1 lead at the 19:49 mark. The defenceman sent a hard shot through a pile of traffic in front of Leclerc on the only power play of the night for the Herd.
Barinka increased the gap to 3-1 for the Mooseheads 6:21 into the 2nd period as he took a pass at the Wildcats blueline and went down the left side before sending a wrist shot up and over the glove of Leclerc.
Moncton did not roll over as they started to control the play after the Barinka goal. Jeremy McKenna scored twice in a span of 3:23 and the teams went into the third period tied 3-3. Adam Capannelli then added his second goal of the game early in the final period and it appeared that maybe this was the night that the road trip would crack the Moose. Head Coach Eric Veilleux’s squad kept battling and persevered to come out on top, extending the winning streak to four games and pulling into a tie with Rouyn-Noranda for most points in the overall QMJHL standings with 18.
Alex Gravel earned his seventh win of the year with 26 saves. Joel Bishop made his return to the lineup after missing several games with an upper body injury. The St. John’s native was named one of four Alternate Captains earlier in the day and chipped in with and assist along with seven hits to lead both teams in the category. The Mooseheads will put the winning streak on the line again this weekend in a busy road schedule at Victoriaville on Friday, Sherbrooke on Saturday and Drummondville on Sunday.
The Mooseheads home opener is set for Saturday, October 27th at 7pm versus Cape Breton. Individual tickets to all 34 Halifax Mooseheads home games are on sale now for the General Public at the Ticket Atlantic Box Office, select Superstore outlets, TicketAtlantic.com, the Official Mooseheads Shop in Scotia Square Mall or by phone 902-451-1221.