Zadina helps Mooseheads grab huge win in Rimouski
The Halifax Mooseheads have found their groove on the road and are back in the Maritimes Division lead with 89 points thanks to a solid 3-1 victory over Alex Lafreniere and the Rimouski Oceanic.
Filip Zadina scored once and added two assists to lead his team to the win. Halifax has also pulled ahead of Rimouski for second overall in the QMJHL standings with four games remaining in the regular season. Jocktan Chainey and Arnaud Durandeau had the other Mooseheads goals while Alex Gravel picked up the victory between the pipes by stopping 29 of 30 shots he faced.
The Herd didn’t waste anytime taking an early lead as Xavier Parent dropped a backhand pass from behind the net that found the stick of Zadina and he notched his 40th goal of the season just 47 seconds into the game. The Czech Republic star becomes only the third Mooseheads rookie to score at least 40 goals. Nikolaj Ehlers had 49 in 2013-14 while Ladislav Nagy has the record with 71 goals in 1998-99.
The hot start continued late in the first period when Zadina found Jocktan Chainey in the slot and the defenceman beat goalie Colten Ellis to make it a 2-0 game. Halifax out-shot the Oceanic 15-8 in the opening period. Sam Dove-McFalls cut the lead in half when he scored on the power play for the home team at 17:41 of the second period but that was all the offense they could muster against a very stingy Alex Gravel. The Mooseheads goalie came up with some very timely saves which included a pair of big stops on phenom Alexis Lafreniere late in the game.
Arnaud Durandeau tallied for the 20th time this season with an insurance goal just moments after an important penalty kill by Halifax. Benoit-Olivier Groulx jumped out of the box after serving two minutes for an interference infraction that he wasn’t extremely pleased about, and helped to set up Durandeau who turned on the jets to break away from the defenders before going high on Ellis to make it 3-1. The Mooseheads put it on shutdown mode the rest of the way and withstood some late pressure when Rimouski put Ellis on the bench in favour of the extra attacker. It was a near sell-out crowd of 4,344 as the hockey-loving fans came to see the rookie showdown between Zadina and Lafreniere. Players grabbing assists for the Mooseheads were; Zadina (2), Groulx, Barron, Ryczek and Parent. Final shots were 30-29 for Rimouski.
1 – Filip Zadina 1 Goal 2 Assists
2– Arnaud Durnadeau 1 Goal
3 – Sam Dove-McFalls 1 Goal
The win is the second straight on the road for Halifax (41-16-6-1) with one more to come on Saturday afternoon in Acadie-Bathurst on national television. The game will be shown live on Sportsnet starting at 4:30pm. The Titan sit two points back of the Mooseheads for the division lead and have a game-in-hand over the Herd. Bathurst visits Saint John on Friday night.
Walter Flower returned to the lineup for the first time since leaving with an upper-body injury on February 25th against Drummondville. Joel Bishop and Patty Kyte remain out with injuries while Ryan Barbosa was a healthy scratch.
After the road trip wraps up on Saturday in Bathurst, the Mooseheads will return home for the final three games of the regular season. Halifax will host Saint John on Wednesday, March 14th at 7pm, Moncton on Friday, March 16th at 7pm while fan appreciation day will be held on Saturday, March 17th at 4pm in what could be a highly important game against the Titan in terms of playoff implications. Tickets for the three remaining home game 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.