The Halifax Mooseheads closed out the regular season with a close 2-1 defeat by the visiting Saint John Sea Dogs. The Moose played in front of a sold-out crowd of 10,595 at Scotiabank Centre on what was dubbed as Fan Appreciation Day while the team also payed tribute to the three graduating players; Keigan Goetz, Frederic Aube and Jake Coughler.
Maxime Fortier opened the scoring with his 32nd goal of the season when he broke in alone in front of goalie Alex D’Orio and beat him with some fancy stick work. The goal came a little after the midway mark of the first period with Nico Hischier and Jordan Lepage earning the assists.
The Sea Dogs, sitting 10 regulars after locking up first overall in the QMJHL, pulled even on the power play 6:28 into the second period when Joe Veleno buried a shot from the circle to the left of Alex Gravel. Saint John struck again just 26 seconds later when Bokondji Imama roofed a shot from a similar area of the ice and that stood up as the game winner.
It looked like Frederic Aube had tied the game when he tipped in a Joel Bishop point shot early in the third period, but as the Mooseheads were celebrating the officials decided to go to video review eventually deciding that the play was offside and waved off the goal. Jordan Lepage also came close to scoring when his laser from the point his the post in the second period and dropped near the line. The goal light came on but the officials did not check the video replay.
The final shots were 30-24 in favour of Saint John while the Dogs went 1-for-7 on the power play. The Mooseheads were 0-for-3 with the man advantage.
Halifax watched as the rest of the games around the league finishedin the early evening to discover that they will face the second seeded Rouyn-Noranda Huskies in the opening round of the playoffs. Halifax will open the postseason on the road Friday night against the Huskies before playing again on Saturday. Home games will be held back in Nova Scotia in the 2-3-2 series format.
There are plenty of storylines between the two teams as Mooseheads Head Coach Andre Tourigny battles the club that he was Coach/GM and part owner for several seasons. Former Halifax Captain Taylor Ford patrols the Huskies blue line after a deadline deal that brought a first round draft pick to the Mooseheads.
Individual tickets for games 3 & 4 will go on sale this Tuesday morning at 11am at the Ticket Atlantic Box Office at Scotiabank Centre, select Superstore Outlets, TicketAtlantic.com or by phone at 902-451-1221.
By virtue of the 15th seed in the playoffs, the Mooseheads will also be involved in April’s QMJHL Draft Lottery where they will have two of 21 balls in the draw which is a 9.5% chance for the top pick.