The Halifax Mooseheads had a strong start on Monday afternoon in Moncton but former Moose Captain BO Groulx and the Wildcats showed why they are one of the top teams in the QMJHL as Groulx scored a hat trick and the Cats pulled away for a 7-2 victory.
Fans in New Brunswick were celebrating the Family Day holiday in the Hub City and were witness to a ninth straight win by the Wildcats and the team has only lost once in their last 15 games which was a 5-4 overtime defeat in Cape Breton. On the flip side, the Herd have now lost nine in a row to drop to 18-31-3-1 with 15 games to go in the regular season.
Groulx had the first goal of the game when he tallied 5:41 into the first period but the Mooseheads fought back with what was a very solid period. D’Artagnan Joly tied the game when he went to the net and deflected Olivier Desroches’ shot toward the crease. Jeff Burridge gave Halifax a 2-1 lead just a few minutes later when he notched a power play goal at the 12:27 mark. The Cats pulled even before the end of the opening 20 minutes of action when Groulx got his second goal on the man advantage. The Mooseheads had the edge in shots 14-13 after the first period but Moncton found another gear in the final 40 minutes.
Gabriel Fortier broke the 2-2 deadlock in the opening minute of the second period when he scored on a shorthanded breakaway with what turned out to be the game-winning goal. The Wildcats’ relentless attack continued with Jeremy McKenna’s 31st goal of the season and Groulx capped off the hat trick to make it a 5-2 game heading into the final stanza. Alexander Khovanov and Elliot Desnoyers rounded out the Moncton scorers for the 41st win of the season for the Eastern Conference leaders who are now four points ahead of Chicoutimi for the top seed in the conference.
Cole McLaren made the start for the Mooseheads and played the full 60 minutes, allowing seven goals on 44 shots. Dakota Lund-Cornish picked up the win for the Wildcats with 25 saves.
The Mooseheads will return home to Scotiabank Centre to battle the league’s leading scorer Alexis Lafreniere and the Rimouski Oceanic on Thursday night at 7pm. Halifax also plays host to Rouyn-Noranda on Saturday night and faces Moncton again Sunday afternoon at 3 in Jared McIsaac’s first game in Halifax since being traded to the Wildcats.
Tickets are available at the Ticket Atlantic Box Office, select Superstore outlets, TicketAtlantic.com or charge by phone 902-451-1221.
The QMJHL also announced a make up date for the Mooseheads game in Saint John that was postponed on February 7th. The teams will play their rescheduled game on Wednesday, February 26th at TD Station. The Herd will make the pit stop in Saint John while on their way to a road trip through Eastern Quebec.