The Mooseheads were hoping to get off to a strong start at home against Rimouski on Friday night and that’s exactly what happened in a 6-3 victory to improve to 27-8-1-1 on the season. Five players had multi-point efforts and Halifax is on a 10-1-0-1 run dating back to November 30th.
Justin Barron had the fans cheering early on as he got a shoot through some traffic that beat goalie Tristan Berube just 13 seconds into the game and Halifax was off and running. The homegrown defenceman finished his night with one goal and two assists and was named the third star.
“It was really good for us jumping out to a quick lead and we were able to hold onto it for the rest of the game,” Barron said.
The Mooseheads built up a 3-0 lead by the 5:42 mark of the second period after back-to-back goals from Raphael Lavoie. It was Lavoie’s second of the game that chased Berube from the net as he was pulled with Colten Ellis coming on in relief follwing three goals on 13 shots.
Halifax didn’t slow down once Ellis was between the pipes though. Antoine Morand and Joel Bishop greeted him with goals 26 seconds apart to put the Herd ahead 5-0 and the 7,840 fans in the building were loving it. Rimouski eventually got on the board during a two-man advantage when Olivier Garneau slid one in from close range late in the second period.
Arnaud Durandeau got that goal back for the Mooseheads early in the final stanza as he deflected in a point shot from the side of the net to make it a 6-1 game. The Oceanic would add two late tallies but the game was already fully in control by that point.
Alex Gravel had another solid outing for Halifax with 31 saves to earn his 20th victory of the season. The 20 wins matches his career high set last season. Gravel was named QMJHL Goaltender of the Month Earlier in the day.
“He’s (Gravel) been playing really great lately and he’s been huge for us,” Barron said.
The 18-year-old Chicago Blackhawks prospect produced a 6-1-0-1 record for the month with a 1.61 Goals Against Average and a .946 Save Percentage. Gravel wasn’t the only Moose player to earn accolades on Friday as Jake Ryczek was named the QMJHL Defenceman of the Month. Ryczek, also a Blackhawks prospect, had 10 points in seven games in December. He scored three goals and added seven assists while maintaining a +/- rating of +14.
Fans were pleased to be able to watch a pair of Canadian World Junior players make their return to their respective teams and GM Cam Russell made special pregame presentations to Alexis Lafreniere and the Mooseheads’ own Jared McIsaac.
The Mooseheads will return to action Saturday night against the Quebec Remparts and Justin Barron is counting on a carbon copy when it comes to the game plan.
“Hopefully we’ll get out to another quick start and just build off that and keep applying the pressure.”
The Mooseheads host the Remparts at 7pm in 90’s night at the rink. The first 4,000 fans through the gates will receive a free 90’s inspired Mooseheads t-shirt. Doors open at 6pm. Tickets are on sale now at the Ticket Atlantic Box Office, select Superstore Outlets, TicketAtlantic.com, the Official Mooseheads Shop in Scotia Square or charge by phone 902-451-1221.