The familiar rivalry between the Halifax Mooseheads and Moncton Wildcats was renewed in pre-season action Friday night at the historic Halifax Forum. The Cats came out on top in this one, taking down the Mooseheads 3-1 on a warm night in the old arena.
The visitors scored twice in the opening period and once in the final stanza to grab the win with Jaxon Bellamy, Brady Pataki and Jeremy McKenna getting the goals. Halifax veteran Barrett Dachyshyn tallied for the Mooseheads at 9:27 of the second period on a setup by linemate Raphael Lavoie to temporarily cut the Moncton lead in half, but that was all the scoring the Herd could come up with against goalie Mark Grametbauer who stopped 29 of 30 shots.
The Mooseheads controlled much of the play in the opening 20 minutes, outshooting their opponents 13-6 but the effort didn’t pay off as they found themselves down 2-0 in the intermission. Dachyshyn felt the play tilted in favour of the Wildcats after that.
“In the last 40 minutes we kind of got off our game a little bit and started trying to do things by ourselves and not playing as a team.”
Head Coach Jim Midgley put together a towering second line of Dachyshyn, Lavoie and Connor Moynihan for the game and the big three came through on the lone Halifax goal near the halfway point of the contest.
“Raphy (Lavoie) did all the work. He kind of went end-to-end with the puck and I was coming up high, he fed me and I just fired it and it went in,” Dachyshyn said.
There was a buzz among fans who had their first opportunity to view CHL Import Draft pick Filip Zadina for the first time in game action. Zadina nearly scored at the tail end of his first shift of the game when Connor Moynihan created a chance in front for the Czech Republic forward who tipped the puck on goal as Grametbauer made the save.
Zadina was involved in a scary moment early in the third period when overage defenceman Nicholas Welsh hit him from behind into the corner boards. Zadina stayed down on the ice for about one minute while Athletic Therapist Robin Hunter attended to him. The rookie was able to get up and skate off on his own and returned to the game after a brief visit to the dressing room. He was shaken up but not injured on the play. That seemed to spark the rivalry as the Mooseheads didn’t like what happened to their new teammate. Cooper Jones and Jacob Arsenault dropped the gloves and Brett Crossley sent a message to Welsh by dropping the Moncton defenceman with one quick shot much to the delight of his teammates.
“It’s a dangerous hit, it’s his first game and he’s a well known name as well so there’s a lot of factors there,” Crossley said about the reasons for the scrap. The 19-year-old said as an older player on the team it’s his job to show the necessary leadership in those situations.
“I’m a fourth year guy on the team so in that case you just try to step up and one show your team that you’re here to play.”
The Mooseheads played without forwards Maxime Fortier, Arnaud Durandeau, Otto Somppi and defenceman Jocktan Chainey who are away at their respective NHL training camps. Gavin Hart, Cole Stewart and Jack McGovern were called up to fill their roster spots.
The two rivals will go at it again tomorrow in Springhill, NS at 4pm as the Wildcats host the back end of a home and home series. The Mooseheads will finish the pre-season schedule next Friday night on home ice at Scotiabank Centre at 7pm against Saint John. The regular season home opener is coming up on Saturday, September 30th at 7pm vs the Acadie-Bathurst Titan. Individual tickets go on sale through Ticket Atlantic on Thursday, September 14th at 11am.
Get your 2017-18 Season Tickets, 15-Game Packs and 6-Game Packs by visiting the Official Mooseheads Shop in Scotia Square Mall, by email firstname.lastname@example.org, or call 902-429-FANS.