The first round playoff matchup between the Huskies and Mooseheads couldn’t be much closer. Rouyn-Noranda jumped ahead in the series 2-games-to-1 by squeaking out a 2-0 win on Scotiabank Centre ice on Tuesday night in Halifax. The two games at Iamgold Arena were both decided by only one goal and if it wasn’t for an empty net tally with eight seconds remaining in regulation then this would have been as well. Either way it’s clear that despite the Huskies earning the second seed and the young Mooseheads coming in as the 15th seed, these are two similar and evenly matched clubs.
Rookie goaltender Alexis Gravel has been the story of the series thus far and earned the first star of the game in the 2-0 Mooseheads loss by stopping 43 of the 44 shots he faced. His only blemish was a laser, short-side shot by Zachary Lauzon at 17:08 of the first period. Gravel has stood on his head in the first three games, making 128 saves on 136 shots.
The Mooseheads did not start the game with the same intensity or sense of urgency shown in the road games and the team fizzled on the power play by going scoreless on 10 attempts including a two-man advantage for 41 seconds late in the third period. After a sloppy opening period the Herd managed to get better and played a very strong third period where they had a number of good scoring chances, none better than Joel Bishop’s chance on the goal line that somehow stayed out when the Huskies managed to get a stick on the puck as Bishop had a wide open net.
Halifax’s penalty kill was good again in killing off all five Huskies opportunities with the man advantage. The final shots were 45-29 in favour of Rouyn-Noranda who got a fine goaltending performance from Olivier Tremblay who was forced to make some key stops down the stretch. Tremblay earned the second star in his second start of the series sine taking the reigns from Samuel Harvey in Game #2. The third star of the night went to Nico Hischier who was all over the ice and fired eight shots on goal.
Jared McIsaac and Otto Somppi both returned to the Mooseheads lineup from injury while big forward Connor Moynihan sat out with a minor injury. He is day-to-day as is defenceman Walter Flower who took an awkward hit in the first period and did not return for the rest of the game.
Prior to the game Mooseheads rookies Nico Hischier and Jared McIsaac were honoured with the QMJHL’s Michel-Bergeron Trophy and Raymond-Lagace Trophy as the league’s top offensive and defensive rookies.
Game #4 is set for Wednesday night at 7:00 pm at Scotiabank Centre as the Mooseheads will try to even the series in front of their home fans. Halifax will also host Game #5 on Friday night at 7:00 pm. Tickets for that game go on sale Wednesday morning at 11:00 am.
Get your tickets at the Ticket Atlantic Box Office at Scotiabank Centre, Mooseheads Official Shop in Scotia Square Mall, select Superstore Outlets, TicketAtlantic.com or by phone at 902-451-1221. Service charges apply.