A memorable 2017-18 hockey season has come to an end in Moose Country. The Halifax Mooseheads playoff run was halted sooner than hoped when the Charlottetown Islanders completed a Round 2 series sweep on Wednesday night with a 4-2 victory.
The Herd needed a win to push the series to a Game 5 back in Halifax and as they did one night earlier, got off to a decent start by building up a 2-0 lead in the second period on goals from Filip Zadina and Joel Bishop only to see it slip away. After a scoreless opening 20 minutes, Zadina notched his fifth of the playoffs when he pounced on a loose puck in the crease at the end of a power play at the 3:25 mark of the second period. The Mooseheads had the momentum in their favour when Xavier Parent helped force an Islanders turnover inside the blue line and then zipped a pass to Bishop who found himself alone in front of goalie Matt Welsh. Bishop buried the shot and the Herd were off and running just over six minutes into the middle period.
Charlottetown continued to push back as play opened up. The Moose played the final 9:35 of the period without defenceman Jared McIsaac who took a hard two hand slash across the wrist from Hunter Drew. McIsaac immediately skated to the bench and went down the tunnel. he later returned in the third period. Joel Bishop took a checking from behind penalty late in the second that he’d like to have back as Daniel Hardie struck on the power play at 17:56 to get the home team on the board.
The third period began with the Mooseheads still in front 2-1 but Charlottetown quickly pulled even when rookie Nikita Alexandrov tallied only 78 seconds after the puck dropped at center ice. The goal set off a thunderous roar from the 3600+ fans inside the Eastlink Centre who carried brooms and various signs to the game while cheering on their underdog squad. First star Keith Getson scored a dagger of a goal at 14:34 of the third period which turned out to be the game-winner for the Bridgewater, NS native. Getson had a heck of a series against his home province team with four goals and an assist. Derek Gentile later added an empty net goal to ice the series victory for the Islanders.
Alex Gravel ended the night with 31 saves on 34 shots while Matt Welsh stopped 26 of 28 shots. The Mooseheads were 0-5 on the power play. Charlottetown went 1-3 with the man advantage.
Otto Somppi returned to the lineup for the first time since leaving early in Game 1 of the opening round series versus Baie-Comeau. Somppi was nowhere near 100% but was able to contribute with an assist on Zadina’s goal.
The end of the season also means the end of the junior hockey careers of Halifax Captain Maxime Fortier, fifth year forward Connor Moynihan and goalie Blade Mann-Dixon. Fortier, the Columbus Blue Jackets prospect, finishes his tenure in Nova Scotia as the Mooseheads second all-time leading scorer with 270 points. Moynihan ends his career as one of only four Mooseheads to have ever played more than 300 games with 310 to his credit. Mann-Dixon came to the team and provided solid goaltending in his 15 months with Halifax. He won 28 of 48 games and was a veteran presence in the dressing room. The organization wishes them all the best of luck in the future.
Season Tickets are on sale now online at TicketAtlantic.com and in person at the Ticket Atlantic Box. 2018-19 Mooseheads Full Season Ticket holders will receive priority over the General Public as well as discounted pricing for 2019 Memorial Cup ticket packages.