Benoit-Olivier Groulx put on a show on a night when he was honoured in the pre-game for a career milestone. The Mooseheads’ Captain scored his first career QMJHL hat trick as Halifax edged the Cape Breton Eagles 6-5 in front of a boisterous Friday night crowd at the Scotiabank Centre.
General Manager Cam Russell presented Groulx with a framed picture for recently reaching the 200 point mark, becoming just the eighth Mooseheads player to ever reach the plateau. The 19-year-old Anaheim Ducks prospect will be heading to Hockey Canada’s World Junior selection camp along with teammates Jared McIsaac and Raphael Lavoie on Sunday.
The win is the first in four games against the Eagles this season for the Herd, who will travel to Sydney tomorrow for a rematch Saturday night at Centre 200. Halifax received 34 saves in an excellent performance from goalie Alexis Gravel while Maxim Trepanier also scored twice and added an assist in the victory. The Moose fired 40 shots at the Eagles net with William Grimard stopping 27 through two periods and Kevin Mandolese mopped up in the third period with seven saves.
Trepanier extended his points streak to 14 consecutive games when he opened the scoring 7:28 into the first period and added his second of the night just over three minutes later on a pretty breakaway tally after he forced a turnover in the neutral zone. Trepanier’s 20 goals leads the team and him tied for fourth in the QMJHL.
The Eagles got on the board midway through the second period on a goal by Shawn Boudrias to cut the lead to 2-1 but Halifax responded quickly with two in a row from Groulx on the power play and another from Jeff Burridge to make it a 4-1 game at the 17:45 mark. Cape Breton refused to go away though and Egor Sokolov notched the first of his two goals to slice the lead to 4-2 after 40 minutes.
The Groulx show continued on the power play with a hard one-timer that beat Mandolese early in the third period and it appeared the Moose would be able to put things on cruise control. Cape Breton kept clawing back and back-to-back goals from Felix Lafrance and Brooklyn Kalmikov made it a 5-4 game and the 6,852 in attendance had reason to be nervous. Gravel made some excellent saves down the stretch and Groulx potted his hat trick goal into an empty net to seal the victory and Halifax improved to 14-12-2-1 on the season.
Groulx’s three point effort moved him past Nikolaj Ehlers for sole possession of seventh in franchise history with 206 points. He had a season-high 12 shots on goal en route to being named the first star. Trepanier’s three points earned him the second star and Lafrance picked up the third star with a goal and an assist.
Halifax finished the game 2-5 on the man advantage while the Eagles were 1-3.
The final home game prior to the holiday break is next Friday, December 13th when the Mooseheads play host to the Charlottetown Islanders at 7pm for the Teddy Bear Toss game in support of Ronald McDonald House – Atlantic. Fans are encouraged to bring a new stuffed toy to throw on the ice when the Mooseheads score their first goal of the game. Tickets are on sale now at the Ticket Atlantic Box Office, select Superstore outlets, TicketAtlantic.com or charge by phone 902-451-1221.
Special Holiday Packs are also available now for just $44 taxes included. Holiday Packs include two flex tickets to any Mooseheads home game from December 6th to March 21st plus two popcorn and two fountain pop. On sale now at the Ticket Atlantic Box Office, TicketAtlantic.com, the Official Mooseheads Shop in Scotia Square Mall or charge by phone 902-451-1221.
*Coupons expire when remaining home games are sold out or regular season ends. Not valid on Club Seats.