In what was the most important game of the year to this point, the Mooseheads found a way to come up with two big points against a tough opponent in an overtime thriller against Charlottetown. Jake Coughler pounced on a rebound after a big chance by Max Fortier and fired it into the net for his hat trick goal in a 6-5 Mooseheads victory.
“It’s pretty special, it’s like the cherry on top I guess but honestly I’m just so happy that we got the win right now,” a beaming Coughler said following the game.
If you couldn’t tell by the smiles and the booming music coming from the locker room afterwards, it was evident the points couldn’t have come at a better time as Halifax gave themselves a little breathing room from the pack of teams fighting to make it into the playoffs. With wins from Drummondville and Val d’Or the Moose will go into the weekend sitting 15th overall, one point ahead of 16th place Rimouski and three up on Sherbrooke. The top 16 teams make the postseason. The Mooseheads can clinch a spot with a win on Friday or a loss by the Phoenix.
Times were tense at Scotiabank Centre for the 7,772 in attendance after the Islanders stormed back with three consecutive third period goals to tie the game at 5-5 but Coughler just about blew the roof off the building when he struck for his 31st of the season only 54 seconds into the extra period. The 20-year-old forward was a man on a mission in this game as he helped lead the charge throughout the night, clearly hoping to extend his QMJHL career into the playoffs.
“I’m just so proud of these guys and honestly we’ve worked hard for so long and finally the bounces went our way,” he said.
The Mooseheads got off to a hot start with three goals in the first period as Max Fortier, Keigan Goetz and Benoit-Olivier Groulx lit the lamp putting the home team ahead 3-0 after 20 minutes. Charlottetown cut into the lead in the second period with two goals from Alex Dostie book-ending Coughler’s first tally of the night and the Moose held a 4-2 advantage going into the third period.
That’s when the high powered offense of the Islanders took over and put plenty of pressure on the young Mooseheads too reel off three goals in a little more the seven minutes and stunned the fan faithful. Once the game was tied 5-5, Halifax’s spark came back and they pushed the play heading into the overtime period and Jake Coughler cemented his first star performance with the biggest goal of his Mooseheads career. Captain Keigan Goetz was all smiles after the game.
“It feels amazing I mean the boys are all really pumped up right now and it’s a big monkey off our back.”
Nico Hischier was another driving force in the victory and finished the night with three assists in a second star performance. Alex Dostie took the third star honours for the Isles with two goals and one assist.
“We stuck with it and we showed a lot of our character today,” said Goetz.
Max Fortier had an excellent game for the Herd scoring a goal and doing most of the work on the overtime winner as the big players came through on a night when the Mooseheads needed them to. The assists for Halifax were contributed by; Hischier (3), Fortier, Groulx, Jared McIsaac, Jocktan Chainey, Connor Moynihan, Raphael Lavoie, Joel Bishop, Arnaud Durandeau and Alex Gravel.
The Mooseheads round out the regular season with two equally important home games on Friday against Cape Breton and Saturday versus Saint John. The Mooseheads will even wear special St. Paddy’s Day green jerseys during the Friday night game at 7pm against the Screaming Eagles and finish things off with Fan Appreciation Day at 4pm Saturday against the Sea Dogs.
Tickets for all Mooseheads home games are available now at the Ticket Atlantic Box Office at Scotiabank Centre, select Superstore Outlets, TicketAtlantic.com or by phone at 902-451-1221