The Halifax Mooseheads used some strong penalty killing, great goaltending and timely goals to their advantage in a satisfying 4-1 victory on the road against the Rimouski Oceanic on Sunday.
The Herd killed off six of seven Oceanic man advantages on the day, no easy task considering Alexis Lafreniere and company own the league’s best power play unit at 33.6 percent. Rimouski ran into the best penalty killing unit in the league though and the Mooseheads improved the PK percentage to 88.6. Halifax seemed to generate momentum with each kill and got an excellent outing from Alex Gravel in the win as the goalie made 30 saves to help the Moose improve to 2-1 on the road trip that also saw stops in Blainville-Boisbriand and Shawinigan.
A sold-out crowd of 4,249 were noisy in anticipation of the matchup between two of the most competitive teams’ in the QMJHL but the Maritime visitors did their best to silence them with first period goals from Arnaud Durandeau and Patty Kyte. Durandeau notched his 13th goal of the season on the power play when he picked up the puck as it bounced off the end board and in front of the net folliwing a hard shot by Jared McIsaac. Durandeau’s quick reaction beat Colten Ellis who had come out of position and gave the Herd a lead they would never relinquish. Kyte made it a 2-0 advantage less than a minute later. He fired a hard shot on net into a crowd in front of Ellis that was stopped but the puck came right back out to him and his second hard shot went in at the 15:21 mark of the first period.
Rimouski cut into the Halifax lead just 50 seconds after the puck dropped to begin the second period as Jimmy Huntington was on the receiving end of a great crossing pass on the power play and put his one-timer behind a defenseless Alex Gravel who had no chance to stop it. The Teddy Bears rained down on Teddy Bear Toss night at the Colisée Financière Sun Life. Gravel shut down the Oceanic the rest of the way and the Mooseheads added insurance with a goal from Joel Bishop later in the second period and another in the third from Ben Higgins to complete the victory. Higgins and Bishop both finished with one goal and one assist.
Halifax upped its record to 19-7-1-0 on the season for 39 points which has the team sitting fifth overall in the QMJHL. The modest two-game winning streak will be put on the line on Friday night when the Mooseheads return home to battle the Saint John Sea Dogs at 7pm. The Mooseheads will also host Acadie-Bathurst on Saturday night at 7pm before finishing off three-games-in-three-days on the road against Charlottetown next Sunday.
Lucky 3’s: The goals from Kyte, Bishop and Higgins were the third tallies of the season for each player.
3 Stars: Gravel picked up the first star with 30 saves, Bishop was named second star and Huntington grabbed the third star honours.
Scratches: There were no healthy scratches for the Mooseheads as injuries continued to keep Ostap Safin, Cole Stewart, Samuel Dube and Jake Ryczek out of the lineup.
Next Game: The Mooseheads entertain Saint John Friday night 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 charge by phone 902-451-1221.