McLaren backstops the Herd to a shutout of the Dogs
Three quick goals early in the third period along with perfect goaltending from Cole McLaren helped solidify another win for the Halifax Mooseheads on Friday night as the team improved to 7-2 with a 4-0 shutout of the Sea Dogs in Saint John.
Despite a less than stellar start in the opening period that saw the Moose struggle to find their rhythm, the veteran experience of the group shone through in the end. Brock McLeod tallied what turned out to be the game-winner early in the second period and Raphael Lavoie, Xavier Parent and Samuel Asselin bunched their goals together in the 3rd period to squash any hopes the young Sea Dogs had of a comeback in front of the 3,004 fans at Harbour Station.
McLaren kept the game scoreless when he made not one, but three consecutive stops on Anthony Boucher after the Sea Dogs Captain came in on a shorthanded breakaway just a few minutes into the game. Boucher got the break on a miscue by defenceman Jocktan Chainey at the Saint John blueline. The puck bounced away from the New Jersey Devils prospect and he fell to the ice as he reached for it leaving nothing but ice between Boucher and McLaren. Those highlight reel stops were key in the win and ensured the Herd didn’t fall behind early in the game.
The teams went to their respective dressing rooms locked in a scoreless tie after 20 minutes but it was clear Halifax wasn’t happy with their performance. Things took a turn for the better in the second period as the coaching staff clearly got their message across. With the fourth line on the ice, McLeod took a feed from Cole Stewart and went short side on Alex D’Orio at the 2:40 mark to put the Moose in front. That was his first goal with the team since the 19-year-old was added as a fee agent last month. The assist for Stewart was his first career QMJHL point. Halifax took control after the goal and dictated the play for most of the game thereafter. McLaren and D’Orio traded some big saves in the second period and the Moose were up 1-0 after 40 minutes.
It wasn’t long after the start of the third period that the Mooseheads made their dominance felt. Raphael Lavoie stayed white-hot with his fourth goal in 24 hours. Saint John defenceman Michael Campoli broke his stick and you could see Lavoie’s eyes light up from the press box as he gobbled up the puck and darted out on a two-on-one rush with Arnaud Durandeau. Lavoie kept the puck and buried it behind D’Orio for his team-leading eighth goal.
Halifax then increased the lead to 3-0 on the power play as Jordan Maher made a tremendous backhand pass through the slot area to Xavier Parent who got off a hard one-timer to light the lamp. Parent sat out the night before with a minor upper-body injury but played effectively in this game. The goal was his third of the season and also featured an assist by Jared McIsaac who has collected three helpers in his two games since coming off the injured list. Samuel Asselin put the nail in the coffin just 13 seconds later on a play created by Marcel Barinka. The Czech import carried the puck down behind the net and dished out in front where Asselin was waiting with his stick on the ice and he snapped it past D’Orio for a 4-0 Mooseheads advantage. The Herd played responsible defense the rest of the way as they did everything possible to help preserve the shutout for McLaren. The goalie has now won each of his two starts this season and is the first Halifax goalie to earn a shutout since Blade Mann-Dixon did it against Charlottetown on October 1st of last season.
The Mooseheads will continue the road trip in Acadie-Bathurst on Sunday afternoon at 3pm. With nine games down the Herd only have six more to go including Sunday’s battle with the Titan before the home opener versus the Cape Breton Screaming Eagles on Saturday, October 27th at 7pm.
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.