Winning Streak Snapped in OT loss
The Halifax Mooseheads have played their fair share of overtime games lately, but unfortunately for the Herd this one ended in a loss as the Moncton Wildcats (18-19-5-3) came out on top 4-3 at Scotiabank Centre on Wednesday night.
Mike Cyr ended the contest just 36 seconds into the extra period as the Mooseheads participated in their third consecutive overtime game and fifth in seven games. The Cyr goal came moments after Filip Zadina lifted a backhand shot that beat goalie Mark Grametbauer but not the far post. Halifax (29-10-5-1) also saw its season-best eight-game winning streak snapped but thanks to the point earned, the team will keep a hold on first place in the overall QMJHL standings.
That’s the third straight game between these Maritimes Division rivals that has ended in a 4-3 overtime decision but for the first time it was the Cats earning the victory. Halifax got off to a great start on a snowy night in the city. Walter Flower’s low point shot had eyes and beat Grametbauer at the 1:39 mark of the first period and the Moose took an early 1-0 lead. Otto Somppi increased the Mooseheads’ advantage to 2-0 when he tipped in a Max Fortier shot on the power play about five minutes later and that’s where things stood after the opening period.
Moncton got one back in the early stages of the second period when first star Jakob Pelletier got the puck in the slot and wired one behind Alex Gravel with six seconds to go in a penalty to Joel Bishop. The gritty Mooseheads forward was handed two minutes for roughing near the end of the first period when he wrestled a player to the ice in the Halifax goal crease. Bishop was cut on the head on the play and left the game. He is otherwise fine and is expected to be able to return for the next game.
The Mooseheads continued to hold the lead, 2-1 going into the third period but the Wildcats appeared to be gaining momentum on a night where the puck seemed to continually bounce in the wrong direction for Halifax. Anderson MacDonald tied the game 2-2 at the 4:16 mark of the third and Jeremy McKenna potted the go-ahead tally 42 seconds later when Pelletier found him in front of the net with a perfect pass. To the Mooseheads credit, even though it was certainly not their best all around effort the team managed to yet again find a way to score a clutch goal when Arnaud Durandeau won a battle behind the Moncton net and sent a pass in front to Benoit-Olivier Groulx who scored the equalizer with 6:32 to go in regulation. Groulx’s 19th of the season helped Halifax stay undefeated in regulation in 2018 with the last regulation loss coming on December 28th to Charlottetown.
Otto Somppi had two points in the game giving him nine points during a five-game point streak. He is now second to Filip Zadina in team scoring by only one point with 51. That puts the Tampa Bay Lightning prospect fourth in the QMJHL. Raphael Lavoie saw his hot streak snapped after he had collected 16 points in seven games. Players with assists in the loss were Somppi, Max Fortier, Jocktan Chainey, Arnaud Durandeau and Zadina.
Goalie Alex Gravel may have deserved a better fate in this one as he kept his team in the game all night, especially during a 14 shot first period for Moncton. Gravel made 27 saves while his counterpart Grametbauer stopped 29.
Earlier in the day Mooseheads defenceman Jared McIsaac was named an Alternate Captain with Team Orr for next week’s CHL/NHL Top Prospects game in Guelph, Ontario. He will be joined in the prestigious game by Mooseheads teammates Benoit-Olivier Groulx, Filip Zadina and Alex Gravel.
The Mooseheads, now sixth in the latest CHL Top 10 Rankings released Wednesday, will play on home ice again on Friday night against the Cape Breton Screaming Eagles at 7pm. 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.