The Mooseheads had plenty of jump in their game on Wednesday night in Moncton and fired more than 40 shots at their opponent for the first time this season but goalie Mark Grametbauer was the difference as he led the Wildcats to a 3-2 comeback win over Halifax at the Coliseum. The Mooseheads’ record now stands at 4-2-2-0 after a third straight narrow one-goal defeat.
The 19-year-old goaltender who grew up in Halifax and is now playing for his third team in the QMJHL was named the first star after turning aside 40 of the 42 Mooseheads shots he faced. Grametbauer didn’t allow a goal after the Mooseheads tallied twice in the first period, stopping all 28 from Halifax the rest of the night. The Wildcats opened the scoring on a Jaxon Bellamy shot from the point midway through the first period but a relentless Mooseheads offensive attack answered back 17 seconds later when Maxime Fortier fed Benoit-Olivier Groulx in the slot who ripped one in for his fifth goal of the season. Fortier later tallied from the inner hash marks to give the Herd the lead. Connor Moynihan had an assist on each of the goals.
Despite continued pressure and some big chances on a two-man advantage, Halifax couldn’t find a way to capitalize again. Jeremy McKenna had the only goal of the second period as Moncton pulled even 2-2 and Mika Cyr picked up the winner at 9:07 of the third as he banked the puck off the back of Blade Mann-Dixon’s pad immediately after the goalie made a big stop on the Wildcats leading scorer.
“One thing I told the kids after the game is that it’s important to have that killer instinct. When we have teams down and we’ve got them on their heels we have to bury our opportunities,” said Head Coach Jim Midgley.
The Moseheads had plenty of opportunities indeed with 17 shots in the first period, 12 in the second and 13 in the third. Halifax went 0-5 on the power play. Fortier fired nine shots on goal himself and was named the second star. His two points give him 12 on the year and 207 for his QMJHL career, placing him alone in sixth in team history after breaking a tie with Nikolaj Ehlers.
Fortier wasn’t the only bright spot for Head Coach Midgley who felt Jocktan Chainey gave an impressive performance.
“I really liked the way he jumped in the play, he was involved in the offense and good on defense as well.”
Cyr had two points and was named the third star for Moncton as the Cats improved their record to a QMJHL best 6-1-2-0. Cyr’s 15 points are also tops in the league. Linemate Jeremy McKenna chipped in with two points as well and the Wildcats have got some huge production from those two along with 16-year-old rookie Jakob Pelletier who plays on the left wing.
Halifax once again played without the injured trio of Otto Somppi, Walter Flower and Jordan Lepage although there is hope that Somppi might be able to return to the lineup at some point this weekend. The Mooseheads visit Cape Breton to kick off their portion of the QMJHL’s Rivalry Weeekend on Friday night at 7pm at Centre 200. The Mooseheads return to home ice Saturday night at 7pm when they host the Screaming Eagles to finish the home and home series on Pink in the Rink night at Scotiabank Centre.
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