Filip Zadina gave his team a spark but the Mooseheads came up short in a battle for first place in the Maritimes Division, falling 3-2 on the road to the Acadie-Bathurst Titan.
The sniper from the Czech Republic scored twice including an electrifying breakaway goal with 6.3 seconds remaining in the second period to tie the game 2-2 but it was a German Rubstov tally in the third period that proved to be the difference as the Titan moved two points clear of the Herd for top spot in the division with 91 points. Both teams have just three games remaining in the regular season and the Mooseheads will host Bathurst in 68th and final game next Saturday at Scotiabank Centre.
First star Jeffrey Viel got the home team started when he sent a hard shot short-side that beat Alex Gravel at 8:34 of the opening period and that had a crowd of 3,524 hopping at the K.C. Irving Regional Centre. The Titan kept coming as Justin Ducharme struck on an odd man rush just 66 seconds later and Mitchell Balmas appeared to increase the lead to 3-0 but it was called back after a long review by the officials. The Mooseheads seemed to gain some momentum from the “no-goal” call and started to push back. Arnaud Durandeau stole the puck from Rubstov behind the Titan net and sent a pass in front for Zadina who made no mistake for his 41st goal of the year. The goal cut the Bathurst lead to 2-1 and that’s where the teams stood after 20 minutes.
Alex Gravel was the story of the second period as he made 18 saves to keep his team in the game and Zadina tied the score 2-2 with his late breakaway goal but that was the last bit of offense the Moose were able to come up with against a tough defensive squad in Bathurst. Gravel wound up making 40 saves in a losing cause but was a key reason that it was a one-goal game. His counterpart Evan Fitzpatrick made 27 saves and was named the second star. Titan defenceman Adam Holwell had an assist and was a +2 to earn the third star. The Mooseheads put on a huge push in the dying moments with the net empty but couldn’t find a way to put home the tying goal despite a few glorious chances.
Halifax has wrapped up its road portion of the regular season and will close out the schedule with a trio of home games. The Mooseheads host Saint John on Wednesday at 7pm, Moncton Friday at 7pm and Acadie-Bathurst Saturday at 4pm in what could be a very meaningful contest. 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.
Playoff tickets will go on sale to the general public on Friday morning at 11am. Click here for further details.