Tough one to swallow. Mooseheads fall 4-3 in OT
“We’ve just got to learn from this one and move on.”
That matter-of-fact statement came from defenceman Patty Kyte moments after coming out of a very somber Mooseheads dressing room.
From the drop of the puck it looked like the Mooseheads might run away with a victory on Thursday night against Chicoutimi but as the old saying goes, you need to play a full 60 minutes. In this case they needed to play a little more and Halifax wound up on the wrong end of a 4-3 score in overtime against Chicoutimi.
The Sagueneens scored three unanswered goals to rally from a 3-1 deficit, with Kevin Klima netting the game-winner just 22 seconds into the extra period with the first shot from either team.
“We didn’t come out in the second and third as strong as we did in the third. They stuck around and got a few lucky goals,” said Kyte.
The Moose skated hard and controlled the majority of the play in the first period but were almost lulled to sleep by the visitors as the game wore on and appeared to fall into some bad habits. The story of the game turned out to be Sagueneens goalie Zachary Bouthillier. The reigning CHL Goalie of the Week stole the show with 43 saves on 46 shots and gave his team a chance to comeback and win. He was named the first star.
The Mooseheads (34-12-6-1) jumped out to a 2-0 lead early in the game after Max Fortier and Brett Crossley got the home team off to an excellent start. Fortier notched his 26th goal of the year when he tipped in a point shot by Walter Flower at the 2:04 mark. That got the student night crowd of 5,971 riled up and Crossley added to the early excitement when he scored a short-handed goal at 8:28. The Sags got a key goal from Liam Stevens before the period was done. He was fed the puck in the slot for the one-timer and made no mistake. That made the score 2-1 after 20.
Filip Zadina continued his torrid goal-scoring pace with the only goal of the second period. He grabbed his own rebound and put a backhand shot behind Bouthillier for his seventh goal in three games. The Czech import star has 34 goals this season which fourth in the league and is tops among QMJHL rookies. However that’s where the good news ended for the Mooseheads on this night. The Sags forced a Walter Flower turnover right in front of Gravel and Mathieu Desgagnes quickly put it in the back of the net to cut the Halifax lead to 3-2. Liam Stevens, the second star, silenced the fans in Moose Country when he tied the game with only five minuted remaining. Despite being out-shot 46-16 in regulation there was a sense that Chicoutimi had the momentum as the Moose struggled to create some quality scoring chances down the stretch and had a tough time breaking out of their own end. Klima ended things quickly in the extra period and Halifax was left to think about what could have been. The game was a potential first round playoff preview. With 15 games to play the current matchups for the Moose would be either Chicoutimi or Baie-Comeau, although plenty can change by mid-March.
The Herd will need to put this one in the rear view mirror in a hurry as the team will board the bus in the morning and head to Saint John to face the Sea Dogs Friday night at 7pm.
There was a nice moment during the game as the Mooseheads honoured Captain Maxime Fortier with a video tribute during a league timeout for his recent milestone in becoming the player with the second most points in franchise history. Fortier surpassed Darcy Ashley earlier this week and now has 255 points in his Moose career. His goal in the loss to Chicoutimi was the 98th of his career and tied him with Ashley for fourth in fracnhise goal scoring. Only Alex Tanguay (101), Jason King (114) and Brandon Benedict (119) have broken the century mark.
Patty Kyte was named the third star of the game. He dropped the gloves with Kelly Klima early in the second period and earned the TKO in his first career fight. His teammates and fans gave him a spirited ovation when he stepped back out of the penalty box.
The OT point gives the Herd 75 on the year which is seven more than the second place team in the division, Acadie-Bathurst. Halifax remains in the second overall position in the QMJHL, trailing only Blainville-Boisbriand.
The Mooseheads next home game comes Sunday afternoon against the Shawinigan Cataractes 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 call 451-1221.