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Overtime Moose Magic Continues

2018-01-19

Be prepared for heart-stopping action on the ice if you plan on watching a Halifax Mooseheads game anytime soon. In fact the term cardiac kids is becoming more and more appropriate by the day. The Mooseheads have made it a habit of playing in tight, intense and exciting games since the Christmas break and Friday night at Scotiabank Centre was no exception. Jocktan Chainey drove home the game-winning goal in overtime and a very supportive crowd of 8,258 just about blew the roof off of the Scotiabank Centre in celebration.

The Mooseheads have now played in four straight overtime games and are 5-1 in OT battles since the calendar turned over to 2018. Chainey has two of the game-winners over that span while Raphael Lavoie has the other three. Halifax’s overall record improves to 30-10-5-1 to give the team a QMJHL-best 66 points. The Mooseheads have a three point lead on Blainville-Boisbriand for first place in the overall standings and a 10 point advantage on Acadie-Bathurst in the division standings.

GAME SUMMARY

Friday’s overtime didn’t look promising for a win after the officials made a late call on Benoit-Olivier Groulx at the end of regulation which resulted in a four-minute high sticking penalty and the Herd were shorthanded to begin the extra period. The Screaming Eagles took a penalty of their own only 48 seconds into play and things were evened up briefly. Cape Breton successfully killed the tripping call on Mathias Laferriere and then went back to the man advantage with Groulx in the box for another 1:12. Halifax did an excellent job on the PK as well and were able to stay afloat with the Mooseheads faithful giving a big cheer when the door opened and Groulx came back onto the ice. The teams traded chances and then Cape Breton’s Tyler Hylland was whistled for holding at 4:24 and the Herd did not waste the opportunity. After some good puck movement in the offensive zone, Chainey got the puck in the left circle and let one rip, beating goalie Kevin Mandolese and sending the screaming fans home happy.

The Mooseheads gave up a pair of leads but their determination persisted throughout the night to pick up their 15th win since December 1st. The team has gone 15-2-1-1 during that time and timely goals have been a nightly occurrence. First star Otto Somppi has been a major contributor and came through yet again in this game, scoring the game-tying goal on the power play with 3:33 to go in regulation and forcing the overtime. He finished with two goals and two assists in the game and is now the Mooseheads’ leading scorer with 55 points. That total puts him third in the QMJHL. The Tampa Bay Lightning draft pick opened the scoring against Cape Breton when he tallied at 8:15 in the first period. The lead didn’t last long though as the Screaming Eagles answered back on the power play 51 seconds afterward. The Leon Gawanke goal didn’t faze the Herd and Jake Ryczek gave his team the lead right back on the man advantage only 1:14 later.

Halifax took a 2-1 lead into the middle period and built it up to 3-1 on yet another beautiful effort by Raphael Lavoie. He drove hard to the net on the right side of Mandolese and out-muscled the defender to slip one in with his long reach as he cut across the crease for his 20th goal of the season. The second-year forward has really opened some eyes around the league lately and finished with one goal and two assists. You can’t find a player hotter than Lavoie right now and he has picked up 19 points in his last nine games. He is fourth in team scoring with 44 points.

Cape Breton turned their game up a notch and mounted a comeback. Ian Smallwood and Declan Smith both scored and the final battle of Nova Scotia of the season was knotted 3-3 after 40 minutes. The big crowd fell silent momentarily when Jordan Ty Fournier gave the Eagles a 4-3 lead, scoring on a shorthanded two-on-one rush with 5:07 to play in regulation. The fans took their energy to a level by urging on their team with chants of “Go Moose Go”  and Somppi made it worth their while with his tying tally and Chainey’s overtime winner was icing on the cake on another exciting game at Scotiabank Centre.

Blade Mann-Dixon picked up the win with 30 saves while Mandolese was handed the loss after stopping 36 shots. Halifax went 8-1 in the season series with Cape Breton.

The Herd will take their first place record on the road to Acadie-Bathurst to face the Titan Saturday night at 7pm. The last time the two teams squared off was January 7th at the KC Irving Regional Centre in another white-knuckle finish. The Titan scored four goals in the third period to force overtime before Filip Zadina netted the game-winner for the Moose. Make sure you tune in for the play by play with Garreth MacDonald on News 95.7 to see what Halifax has up its sleeve tomorrow.

The next Mooseheads home game is Saturday, January 27th at 7pm vs Saint John in the annual Teddy Bear Toss in support of Ronald McDonald House. 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.

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