The Mooseheads were able to celebrate their 15th victory of the season on Friday with a 5-2 defeat of the Cape Breton Screaming Eagles on the 15th Annual DND Appreciation Night in Halifax.
Ben Higgins scored the game winning goal late in the second period and the Herd got insurance from Walter Flower and Arnaud Durandeau in the third period to earn some revenge on the Eagles who knocked off the Moose by the same 5-2 score in the Scotiabank Centre home opener on October 27th. Alex Gravel battled his way to a 31 save effort to help the Moose improve to 15-4-1-0 on the year. The 31 points has the team one point behind Moncton for the Eastern Conference lead, although the Mooseheads have played one less game than the Wildcats.
The DND Appreciation Night game is near and dear to the Mooseheads organization and its fans as they combine to raise funds for the Camp Hill Veteran’s Memorial Garden at the QEII Health Sciences Centre. Fans purchase raffle tickets on the special game worn jerseys and the latest total will put the fund raising efforts at around $190,000 for the 15 year event. This year the jerseys commemorated the 100th Anniversary of 12 Wing Shearwater. All winning numbers in the jersey raffle were claimed.
There was another impressive crowd on hand to witness the latest win. 8,540 cheered the home team on in the fourth game of the season in Moose Country which has averaged 8,689 fans so far.
The fans were in it early when Antoine Morand chased down goalie Kevin Mandolese on the short handed forecheck and forced a turnover by Cape Breton. The puck bounced out in front to Raphael Lavoie who made no mistake as he netted his 12th goal of the season at the 6:04 mark of the first period. Halifax doubled the lead to 2-0 with 29 seconds left in the period as Samuel Asselin scored his 13th goal. Marcel Barinka passed in front to Ostap Safin who found Asselin across the crease for the tap-in goal.
Adam McCormick got one back for Cape Breton with a low shot that fooled Gravel at 6:12 of the middle stanza but the hard working fourth line of Ben Higgins, Brock McLeod and Joel Bishop came up with a huge goal near the end of the period. Higgins had earlier drawn a large ovation from the fans for his work ethic on a shift that pinned the Eagles in their own end and he was rewarded for his efforts when the puck came to him in the circle and he was all alone to go high glove on Mandolese to make it a 3-1 game.
The Screaming Eagles didn’t go down without a fight as Wilson Forest once again made it a one goal game just 4:05 into the third but the Mooseheads controlled the momentum the rest of the way and Walter Flower lit the lamp for the third time this month when he zipped a point shot in for a 4-2 lead and Durandeau later iced it with an empty net tally.
3 Stars: Ben Higgins was the deserving first star of the game with his game winning goal, Samuel Asselin nabbed the second star and Cape Breton Declan Smith was named third star.
Scratches: Injuries to Cole Stewart, Kyle Petten and Samuel Dube kept the trio of forwards out of the lineup once again.
Number Changes: Ostap Safin wore #51 and Samuel Asselin #7 as the DND jerseys were ordered prior to their respective trades to the Mooseheads.
Next Game: The Mooseheads jump right back on the horse on home ice Saturday night when they host the Acadie-Bathurst Titan at 7pm. The Herd trounced the Titan 8-2 on Wednesday night in northern New Brunswick. 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.