The goals came early and often for the Mooseheads on Thursday night as they cruised to a 7-1 thumping of the Shawinigan Cataractes at Scotiabank Centre.
“We just wanted to get back on track and play simple and hard and I think that’s what we did tonight,” forward Ben Higgins said.
Halifax was the heavy favourite in the matchup and did more than live up to the billing as they scored three goals in the first period, three more in the second period and tacked on one for good measure in the third.
Patty Kyte got the ball rolling when he crashed the net to knock in a rebound just over four minutes into the contest to begin a stretch of four straight goals by Mooseheads defencemen. Jared McIsaac was next to join in the fun as his one-timer from the point on the power play beat starting goalie Justin Blanchette. Justin Barron added another a few minutes later and Blanchette got the hook from Head Coach Daniel Renaud. Barron’s tally tied a franchise record for consecutive games with a goal by a defenceman. His four straight games with a goal equaled the mark set by Jasmin Gelinas in the 1999-2000 season when he scored four between February 26th and March 4th, 2000.
The Herd took a 3-0 lead to the dressing room and came out firing again with McIsaac picking up his second goal of the evening just 2:12 into the middle frame. Ben Higgins kept the onslaught coming when he turned on the speed to split the defense, drawing a delayed penalty in the process, and then showing off his hands by going roof on goalie Antoine Coulombe.
“You know that play doesn’t happen without Brock Mcleod. I know he didn’t get an assist on it but it was a big block by him and I just went down and finished it,” Higgins said.
Xavier Parent made it a 5-0 game exactly two minutes later and Shawinigan switched goalies again by going back to the original starter Blanchette.
Play settled down for the most part after that as the Mooseheads played clock management and the teams traded goals by Arnaud Durandeau and Xavier Cormier in the third period.
Cole McLaren did a fine job between the pipes for the home team by turning aside 26 of 27 shots to earn his eighth victory in 10 starts this season and improving his impressive stats line. McLaren’s goals against average not sits at a tidy 1.67 and his save percentage is .937.
Halifax (29-8-2-1) lost forward Maxim Trepanier to an upper body injury during the game and he did not return. The left winger will be reevaluated tomorrow. Joel Bishop was assessed a five-minute major and a game misconduct for kneeing late in the second period after a collision with Vincent Senez who was helped off the ice and did not return.
The Mooseheads will visit the Cape Breton Screaming Eagles on Friday night at 7pm before returning home for a huge game against the QMJHL leading Rouyn-Noranda Huskies on Sunday afternoon at 3pm. 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.