Not much went right for the Mooseheads on Friday night in Sydney, Cape Breton as the Screaming Eagles came up with a 3-0 shutout of the Herd at Centre 200.
The Eagles scored in each period while goalie Kevin Mandolese stole the show with 37 saves to earn the first star and his second shutout of the season. The goalie was particularly good in the second period when the Mooseheads carried the play for the majority of the time and fired 18 shots at him. The Ottawa Senators prospect was playing in his first game back since suffering an injury against Halifax on December 30th.
The game certainly had the feel of an old-time battle between the provincial rivals with numerous penalties and post-whistle scrums. 12 roughing penalties were assessed along with a couple of unsportsmanlike conduct calls.
Egor Sokolov opened the scoring for Cape Breton with about four minutes remaining in the first period. The big Russian forward grabbed a loose puck just inside the Mooseheads blueline and cut around Denis Toner on the outside before tucking in a backhand from in tight against Alex Gravel.
In the middle frame with the Moose holding the play in the Cape Breton end for lengthy periods of time, it was Eagles veteran Shawn Boudrias who was able to score when he beat Jared McIsaac to the outside and then went high blocker side on Gravel to make it a 2-0 game for the home side with 2,741 fans coming to their feet.
Cape Breton added some insurance midway through the third period on a nice goal by Shaun Miller who skated in on an odd man rush and used a toe drag to get around a diving defender before sending a wrist shot past Gravel. The Mooseheads goalie stopped 20 of 23 shots in the game.
The loss drops Halifax’s record to 29-9-2-1 which puts them in a tie with Baie-Comeau for first place in the Eastern Conference. The Mooseheads and Drakkar have identical records through 41 games played. The Screaming Eagles improve to 25-14-1-2 and are eight points back of Halifax and Baie-Comeau. The shutout also snapped Justin Barron’s goal scoring streak at four consecutive games and he will remain tied with Jasmin Gelinas for the franchise record of consecutive games with a goal by a defenceman.
Halifax played without the injured Maxim Trepanier who left early Thursday night against Shawinigan with an upper body injury. Veteran defencemen Jocktan Chainey and Walter Flower sat out once again with upper body injuries while forward Ostap Safin remains sidelined with a lower body injury and Samuel Dube is still recovering from his sickness.
The next game is a big one for the Mooseheads with the team returning to home ice on Sunday afternoon at 3pm against Noah Dobson and the QMJHL leading Rouyn-Noranda Huskies. Dobson picked up three assists in his Huskies debut on Friday in a win over Moncton. Heading into Saturday Rouyn-Noranda sports a 33-7-0-1 record and will face off in Charlottetown before finishing their Maritime trek of three-games-in-three-days in Moose Country.
Tickets are on sale now at the Ticket Atlantic Box Office, select Superstore Outlets, TicketAtlantic.com, the Official Mooseheads Shop in Scotia Square or charge by phone 902-451-1221.