The Drummondville Volitgeurs have struck first in the QMJHL President Cup Semi-Finals battle versus Halifax with a 3-1 victory over the Mooseheads on Friday night.
P-O Joseph scored the game-winning goal during 4-on-4 action late in the second period in front of 3,353 at the Marcel Dionne Centre and the Volts took the early advantage in the seven game series. Alex Gravel was outstanding for the Moose with 38 saves as he earned the second star. The 19-year-old goalie kept the game close as the home side had puck possession for the majority of the night. Final shots were 41-24 Voltigeurs.
Gravel was particularly good in the second period when he stopped 17 of 18 and gave his team a chance to get back to even footing with another nine saves in the third. The Voltigeurs added their insurance goal with just 2.5 seconds to go in regulation as Gravel was headed toward the Mooseheads bench. Felix Lauzon scored the third goal and assisted on the other two Volts tallies en route to being named the first star of the game.
Lauzon helped set up Pavel Koltygin who opened the scoring 9:55 into action to get the fans jumping in Drummondville. The Moose came up with the tying goal on the power play as Keith Getson deflected Jocktan Chainey’s point shot and roofed it past goalie Anthony Marrone. The Voltigeurs have gone the entire playoffs with Marrone between the pipes after a lower body injury to starter Olivier Rodrigue in early March. Marrone made 23 saves for the win, while Rodrigue was back in uniform as the backup for the first time in the postseason.
The Mooseheads held off the Volts attack for much of the middle period but Joseph took advantage of some open ice 19 seconds after Arnaud Durandeau and Nicolas Beaudin were sent off for roughing penalties at the 14:30 mark and that proved to be all the offense that was needed.
Halifax went 1-2 on the man advantage while the Voltigeurs were 0-3.
Benoit-Olivier Groulx made the road trip with the Mooseheads after missing the first two rounds of the playoffs with mononucleosis but did not play and has been ruled out for Game 2 which will be played Saturday night in Drummondville.
Halifax will try to even the series before heading back to Nova Scotia. Puck drop on Saturday is 8:00pm ADT and can be heard live on News 95.7. The Mooseheads will host Games 3 & 4 on Tuesday and Wednesday at 7pm at Scotiabank Centre. Individual tickets are on sale now at the Ticket Atlantic Box Office, select Superstore outlets, TicketAtlantic.com, the Official Mooseheads Shop or by phone 902-451-1221.