Narrow defeat to start the road trip
A late push resulted in a goal in the final minute but the Mooseheads ran out of time in a 3-2 road loss to the Quebec Remparts. Benoit-Olivier Groulx made things interesting when he tipped in a shot in front of Remparts goalie Dereck Baribeau with 23 seconds on the clock in what was a very good defensive effort by the victorious home team.
“They sat back and waited for us to make mistakes and they capitalized on them,” said Head Coach Jim Midgley.
The Mooseheads went down 3-1 as Quebec struck twice in a 41-second span of the third period on goals by first star Mikael Robidoux and second star Matthew Boucher. The outburst seemed to catch the Herd by surprise after the Remparts had played a very methodical game to that point.
Jocktan Chainey opened the scoring in the very early stages of the contest when his point shot beat Baribeau 1:53 after the drop of the puck in the first period. It was the New Jersey Devils prospect’s second tally of the season with Raphael Lavoie grabbing the lone assist. The teams entered into a chess match after the Chainey goal with not much in terms of scoring chances for either side through the first 35 minutes of action. The Remparts eventually tied the game 1-1 on a bit of a broken play. Olivier Garneau was sprung on a 2-on-0 breakaway with Boucher who stepped out of the penalty box to join the rush and despite an initial save from Blade Mann-Dixon, Garneau stabbed away and was able to get the puck over the line with 3:23 remaining in the middle period. The goal seemed to tilt the momentum in Quebec’s favour and they carried it into the third period when the two quick goals came at 5:54 and 6:35 to stun the Herd.
“We went down 3-1 and it wasn’t Mooseheads hockey,” a disappointed Midgley noted after the game.
Halifax threw the weight around with 24 hits compared to just 9 for the Remparts but the Moose got away from the physicality as the game wore on. 14 of those hits came in the opening period including a bone crushing blow from Joel Bishop on Braeden Virtue.
Mann-Dixon, who had 23 saves, was tagged with just his second regulation loss of the season and the Mooseheads’ record dropped to 10-5-2-0 overall. The team was placed 10th in the Canadian Hockey League top 10 rankings released earlier in the day while Quebec was eighth. The Remparts now lead the QMJHL standings with a 12-4-1-0 record which is good for 25 points, three better than the Moose. Aside from Lavoie, Halifax had assists from Jared McIsaac and Max Fortier. The Captain Fortier tied QMJHL Rookie of the Month Filip Zadina with 24 points which leads the team in the scoring department. The goal by Groulx kept the 17-year-old red hot as he has now scored nine times this season and four in his last three games.
The lineup had a different feel to it for Halifax to open the road trip with the absence of Justin Barron and Xavier Parent who have joined Hockey Canada in B.C. for the World Under 17 Hockey Challenge. With those players missing from the team and Alex Gravel still nursing an injury, the Mooseheads called up forward Cole Stewart who played on the fourth line while Kyle Petten was inserted on the same line with Barrett Dachyshyn at center and Brett Crossley moved to the blueline and was paired with Jocktan Chainey. Raphael Blais was also called up from Miramichi and will serve as Mann-Dixon’s backup on the trip.
Mooseheads’ 20-year-old Connor Moynihan pulled into a tie with Frederik Cabana for sixth all-time in games played for Halifax with 259 in the loss. Moynihan will likely finish with the fourth most games played in a Mooseheads uniform with Ali MacEachern (265) and Frederic Belanger (272) in his sights. Brandon Benedict holds the team record with 343 followed by Brent Andrews (323) and Travis Randell (316).
The road trip continues on Friday night as the Mooseheads bus makes the four and a half hour trip from Quebec City to Gatineau where Halifax will battle Vitalii Abramov and the Olympiques at 8:30pm AST. Gatineau defeated the Moncton Wildcats 4-0 earlier this evening. The Mooseheads will also visit Dominique Ducharme’s Drummondville Voltigeurs on Saturday afternoon at 4pm AST.
The next home game for Halifax is Thursday, November 9th against the Baie-Comeau Drakkar.
Tickets are on sale now at the Ticket Atlantic Box Office, select Superstore Outlets, TicketAtlantic.com, the Official Mooseheads Shop in Scotia Square or call 451-1221.