Shooting down the Sea Dogs: Moose romp to 7-1 win
A bounce back game was needed on Saturday night following an overtime loss that was tough to swallow in Charlottetown and a bounce back was exactly what the Mooseheads got against the Sea Dogs in Saint John. A natural hat trick from Arnaud Durandeau paced the attack in a 7-1 romp over the Dogs and Halifax jumped back into first place in the Maritimes Division with a 15-7-4-0 record.
Halifax had a rather slow start to the game and trailed 15-4 in shots after the first period but were fortunate to come out of the opening 20 minutes tied 1-1 thanks to BO Groulx’s short handed goal, his 14th tally of the season. Kevin Gursoy had put Saint John in front 1-0 at 9:33 until the Mooseheads star replied 1:06 later. The Moose spent eight minutes on the penalty kill as their recent bout of undisciplined play continued however that all changed over the next 40 minutes of play.
The coaches harped on accountability on being disciplined during the first intermission and it worked because the Herd came out like gangbusters in the middle period and never looked back. Walter Flower put the Mooseheads in front to stay with a wrist shot from the slot just 52 seconds into the frame and Halifax had the Dogs on their heels. The pressure kept coming as the Mooseheads scored three goals and 14 shots in each of the final two periods in the dominating victory and the team did a much better job staying out of the box. The penalty killing unit killed off a total of seven Sea Dogs power plays and is a perfect 17 for 17 through the first two games of the road trip.
“Jonny (Jon Greenwood) brought up a tweet from the Devils about taking too many penaltues and how their coach told Nico Hischier he had to sit after taking a two and Nico said I should have to sit. So we talked about that, being accountable and being disciplined. Jonny brought that up and it was a good message and a great response,” said Head Coach Jim Midgley.
Arnaud Durandeau took over and helped put the game out of reach with his first career hat trick. He stuffed in a rebound at the side of net after Joel Bishop drove to the crease to create the chance to put the Herd up 3-1 by the 2:17 mark of the period. He followed that up with a deflection off a Raphael Lavoie shot just 23 seconds before the end of the period and he finished off the natural hatty 3:04 into the third and Halifax was in full control at 5-1.
“Arnie’s played his best hockey for us in the last three games. He’s just continued that play of working hard and moving his feet,” Midgley said.
The New York Islanders prospect was named the first star of the game for his efforts and upped his point total to 21 on the season with nine goals and 12 assists. Filip Zadina and Connor Moynihan rounded out the goal scoring for the Mooseheads who chased Saint John starting goalie Matt Williams after 40 minutes as he allowed four goals on 18 shots. He was replaced by former Amherst Ramblers goalie Joel Goguen who made his QMJHL debut in the final period. The Moncton, NB native let in three goals on 14 shots. Blade Mann-Dixon was the picture of calm as usual at the other end of the rink. The Mooseheads overager stopped 30 of 31 and took home the third star of the game.
Zadina had an assist to go along with his tally and he sits in a three-way tie with Drake Batherson and Matthew Boucher for the QMJHL scoring lead with 37 points. His 19 goals in the best in the league. It was a big night for multi-point performances for the Halifax players as Jocktan Chainey (three assists), Walter Flower (one goal & one assist), Maxime Fortier (two assists), Joel Bishop (two assists), BO Groulx (one goal & one assist), Zadina and Durandeau were all part of the onslaught. Groulx grabbed second star honours.
The Mooseheads have three out of a possible four points so far on the three-game weekend road trip and will wrap it up in Acadie-Bathurst on Sunday afternoon at 3pm. First place in the division will be up for grabs with Halifax sitting one point ahead of the Titan with 34 points.
The next home game at Scotiabank Centre is scheduled for Friday, December 1st vs Rouyn-Noranda while the Mooseheads will also host Val d’Or on Saturday, Decemer 2nd in the first ever Nurse Appreciation Night. Both games are 7pm starts. 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.