Morand is the OT hero in Chicoutimi
The Mooseheads were in a dogfight on Friday night in Chicoutimi but the top ranked team in the Canadian Hockey League found a way to come up with the victory thanks to big two-goal efforts from Antoine Morand and Arnaud Durandeau.
Morand’s second of the night was the overtime winner in a 5-4 Mooseheads win on Pink in the Rink night at the Centre Georges-Vezina. That improves Halifax’s record to an impressive 5-1. Goalie Cole McLaren made 28 saves for the win in his first career start as Head Coach Eric Veilleux gave Alex Gravel a breather with the team set to play Saturday afternoon against a very tough Baie-Comeau team.
The game featured five lead changes as the hockey clubs put on a show for the 2,539 in attendance. McLaren didn’t get off to the start he wanted as the Sagueneens got a goal from Theo Rochette on their first shot of the game just 51 seconds into action. Rochette, who was the seventh overall selection in June’s draft, earned the first star of the game.
Halifax put the rough start behind them and clawed back when Durandeau notched his first of two goals at the 5:56 mark. The NY Islanders prospect has a team-leading 10 points ( six goals four assists) in six games this season. The Moose grabbed their first lead of the night a little later in the period when he parked himself in front of goalie Zachary Bouthillier and got his stick on a low shot by Denis Toner to make it 2-1.
Chicoutimi pulled even 2-2 on the man advantage with ninth overall CHL Import pick Artemi Kniazev skating in from the point to let a blast go from the top of the circle, beating McLaren through traffic. An early second period goal from Justin Ducharme put the Sags in front 3-2 but Morand had a response as he swept in a rebound at the side of the net following a big shot from the point from Jocktan Chainey. The teams went to the dressing room tied 3-3 after 40 minutes.
The home squad had the building buzzing just 30 seconds into the final regulation period when Samuel Houde put the Sagueneens in front 4-3 and the Herd were forced to play catch up again. Second star of the night Arnaud Durandeau somehow found a way when he slipped in the tying tally following a big rush by Jake Ryczek. The puck came back out in front and a quick reaction from Durandeau tied the score 4-4 which led to overtime. That’s where Morand played the hero with his fourth goal in four games as a Moosehead. He kept all the way in a rush down the ice with Raphael Lavoie breaking toward the net and he got off a shot in tight quarters, going high on Bouthillier to win it and setting off a big celebration at centre ice by the Mooseheads.
Notes: Raphael Lavoie returned to the lineup after missing the game on Wednesday with an upper body injury. Rookie Felix Gascon, normally a defenceman, played in his first career game on the left wing on a line with Brock McLeod and Cole Stewart. The 2017 seventh round draft pick was called up earlier in the day. Halifax played without the injured Joel Bishop, Ostap Safin, Samuel Dube, Kyle Petten and Jared McIsaac. The game marked the sixth of a 15-game road trip to begin the season for the Herd .
Halifax (5-1) visits Baie-Comeau (6-0-0-1) on Saturday afternoon at 5pm Atlantic.
The Mooseheads Home Opener will be held on Saturday October 27th versus the Cape Breton Screaming Eagles 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.