Zadina & Mooseheads take down Islanders to stay red hot
The Mooseheads are reaching white hot territory. The team has scored 30 goals during a six game winning streak and put up a half dozen in Thursday’s important 6-3 victory over the Charlottetown Islanders. Halifax reclaimed first overall in the QMJHL standings and increased its division lead to seven points over the Islanders with another big battle between the two rivals set for Friday night in Charlottetown.
Filip Zadina had an incredible night in his first time on home ice since guiding the Czech Republic to a Bronze medal game appearance at the World Junior Hockey Championship. Zadina was honoured with a special video tribute in the pregame and proceeded to earn the first star award with two goals and one assist to help the Mooseheads improve to 27-10-4-1.
“It was awesome,” Zadina said of the video ceremony.
“It’s never happened in my life before so it was a new experience and I really enjoyed it. I want to say a big thanks to the fans.”
The highly touted NHL Draft prospect continues to see his stock rise and he now has 51 points (27 goals 24 assists) in 34 games as a rookie with Halifax. He is second in QMJHL scoring and leads all Canadian Hockey League rookies.
“We played very well and we tried to compete on every shift and put a lot of shots on net.”
The win didn’t come easy for the Mooseheads even though a hot start in the first period had them in front 3-0 after 20 minutes. Patty Kyte opened the scoring when he jumped up in the rush and tapped in the crossing pass from Arnaud Durandeau at 7:37 while Connor Moynihan and Filip Zadina also found the back of the net to put the Herd in control. The first period was played at a fast pace but things slowed a bit in the middle frame as the Islanders fought back.
Rookie Brett Budgell did not look like a newcomer to the league in just his fourth game since joining the Islanders. The second line left winger from Newfoundland was a catalyst for Charlottetown and scored twice and added an assist on P-O Joseph’s power play goal in a 5:08 span of the second period and the Islanders erased the deficit to tie things 3-3. Budgell left Chicago of the USHL to join the team that drafted him 25th overall in June’s QMJHL Entry Draft. He has not disappointed with four goals and two assists in four games.
Like a heavyweight boxing match, the Mooseheads came back with a counter punch of their own. Raphael Lavoie’s personal hot streak continued when he took a long pass from Walter Flower to come in on a breakaway and beat goalie Matt Welsh with a high shot at the 14:36 mark of the second period. The goal turned out to be the game-winner for Lavoie who also had an assist in the game. He has five straight multi-point games with 13 points scored in that stretch. Lavoie sits fourth in team scoring with 38 points overall. Zadina notched his second of the night with 31 seconds to play in the period when he kept the puck on a 2-on-1 with Lavoie and sent an off-speed shot into the cage. Arnaud Durandeau added an empty net goal for the only goal of the third period and Halifax celebrated their ninth win in 10 games.
Alex Gravel picked up the victory between the pipes for the Mooseheads with 33 saves while Welsh was tagged with the loss. He stopped 24 of 29. Otto Somppi had a great night offensively for Halifax with three assists. He leads the league in that category with 34 and he also has a QMJHL best +/- rating of +28.
The Mooseheads schedule is a tough one this weekend as the team heads straight out on the road to finish the home and home series with the Islanders Friday at 7pm in Charlottetown before travelling to Moncton on Saturday night. The next home game at Scotiabank Centre is next Wednesday at 7pm versus the Wildcats. 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.