The Mooseheads exorcised some demons on Tuesday night in Acadie-Bathurst in a tidy 5-3 victory over the Titan at the K.C. Irving Regional Centre.
Bradley Kennedy finished off a fantastic shift by putting a backhander high into a gaping cage off the rebound in what turned out to be the game-winning goal at 16:35 of the third period.
“It was good to bounce back. We were a lot better without the puck and it showed in the result,” Kennedy said.
The young team jumps up to seventh overall in the QMJHL standings with 26 points and is just one back of Charlottetown for second place in the Maritimes Division.
The victory improves Halifax’s record to 13-11 on the season and helps to wash away memories of a tough 11-10 loss to the Titan Sunday at Scotiabank Centre. The torrid scoring pace continues for the Herd as the team has scored at least five goals in each of its past six outings dating back to November 6th. The Mooseheads have scored 103 times on the season which is only three behind Charlottetown for the most goals in the QMJHL.
Max Fortier stayed hot in the win by scoring a pair of goals to earn the first star of the game. Fortier remains on top in the Q scoring race with 44 points and is followed up by linemate Nico Hischier who has 41 points to his credit. Hischier grabbed second star honours with a pair of assists.
It was the hard work of the Bradley Kennedy, Otto Somppi and Benoit-Olivier Groulx line that made the difference late in the game. The Mooseheads and Titan were tied 2-2 after 40 minutes until Kennedy made a nice drop pass to Somppi just 58 seconds into the final stanza to give Halifax its first lead of the night. After a Christophe Boivin goal tied things midway through the period it was the hard working line yet again that put the Mooseheads in front for good. Kennedy brought the puck around behind the net and passed it out to Somppi in a pressure packed sequence that saw Groulx throw it on net before Kennedy pounced on the rebound.
“It’s easy playing with guys like Somppi and Groulx. They skate really well and make smart plays. I think we got better together as the game went on,” said Kennedy.
Keigan Goetz added an empty net goal with five seconds remaining to seal the victory which had to have tasted pretty sweet for the visitors on this night.
Somppi was happy with the no-panic mindset of his team.
“I liked our work ethic tonight and I think we showed great character after they tied us at 3 in the third period.”
Antoine Morand and Max Fortier traded goals in the first period while Daniil Miromanov gave the home squad the lead on the power play at the 4:47 mark of the second period. Fortier later netted his 15th of the season to tie the game 2-2 with his league-leading fifth shorthanded tally.
Alex Gravel made the start in goal for Halifax and earned his eighth win with 23 saves. Recent call-up Tanner Somers took the loss for Bathurst in stopping 28 of 32 shots.
Hischier, Groulx and Jordan Lepage all recorded two assists in the win while Kennedy, Somppi and Anthony Sorrentino also earned helpers.
The third star of the game was awarded to the Titan’s Dawson Theede. He was a -1 with 13 face-off wins and four hits.
The Mooseheads played without Arnaud Durandeau who is day-to-day with an upper body injury resulting from a hit by Nicolas Dumulong on Sunday. The Bathurst player was handed a six-game suspension for the hit earlier on Tuesday. Brett Crossley and Walter Flower also remain sidelined by injuries for the Herd.
The next home game for your Mooseheads is this Thursday night a 7pm as the Quebec Remparts make their only visit to Halifax this season. It’s also the first Student Night of the year with special $9 tickets when valid student ID is shown plus free cover at Cheers.
Tickets are available now at the Ticket Atlantic Box Office at Scotiabank Centre, select Superstore Outlets, TicketAtlantic.com or by phone at 902-451-1221.