Hard fought OT battle between the Q’s best
A matchup of the two best teams in the QMJHL lived up to the hype on Thursday night in Halifax in an outstanding battle between the Mooseheads and Drakkar at Scotiabank Centre.
Both clubs left it all on the ice in an entertaining affair that saw Baie-Comeau snap the 10-game Mooseheads winning streak with a 4-3 overtime victory in front of 8,079 fans. The game was full of momentum shifts, physicality and emotion along with dazzling plays. It concluded the two-game regular season series between the rivals with each team picking up overtime wins. Halifax edged the Drakkar 3-2 on the road in early October.
Markus Vidicek and Jordan Dumais had three points apiece in a losing cause while Baie-Comeau’s Emile Chouinard had two points including the game-winning goal at 2:36 of the extra session. The Drakkar thought they had won it just over a minute into the overtime period when Justin Poirier scored on a breakaway but the goal was called off after a review clearly showed that he was offside.
Halifax came into the game as the number one team in the CHL Top 10 rankings, although the Drakkar have been leading the QMJHL standings for some time. They improved their league best record to 22-3-2-0 in 27 games played. The Mooseheads saw their record drop to 18-4-2-0 in 24 games played.
After a scoreless but chippy opening period, Jordan Dumais broke the scoreless tie 8:04 into the second period when he and Markus Vidicek broke in on a two-on-one against defenceman Anthony Lavoie who broke his stick leading to a turnover. Vidicek threaded the needle to Dumais across the top of the crease and the Blue Jackets prospect buried his 13th goal of the season. The duo was back at it a few minutes later and Dumais took a turn setting things up as Vidicek fired home a wrist shot for his 16th of the year and first of two goals in the game.
No stick must be a terrifying feeling against this duo.
— Halifax Mooseheads (@HFXMooseheads) November 24, 2023
The Drakkar ramped up the pressure and broke through for the first time when Louis-Charles Plourde sped around defenceman David Moravec, beating him wide and getting a clear shot on Mathis Rousseau to beat the goalie with a high shot. The goal came late in the period at the 18:23 mark and gave the visitors a spark. Then just 16 seconds later a soft shot from the point got through several bodies and deflected into the net by a screened Rousseau to tie the game.
The teams played a more defensive minded third period but it was Baie-Comeau grabbing their first lead of the night 6:41 into the final period of regulation on a Justin Paille strike. Halifax fought back and came up with a clutch goal to thrill the big Thursday night crowd as Vidicek buried his second of the game, a power play marker at 10:01. He now leads Halifax in scoring this season with 35 points.
Scoring chances were traded back and forth late in regulation and again in overtime but it was Chouinard who had the final say.
The shots finished 33-31 in favour of the Herd as Olivier Ciarlo made 30 saves while Rousseau stopped 27. Forward Ethan Larmand made his Mooseheads debut and played centre on the second line with Brody Fournier and Liam Kilfoil on his wings.
Halifax will make a quick turnaround and head out on the road in the morning to travel to Cape Breton where they’ll face the Eagles Friday night at 7pm. The Moose will also visit the Moncton Wildcats on Sunday afternoon before making a road trip through Blainville-Boisbriand, Val d’Or and Rouyn-Noranda next week. The next home game for the Herd is Thursday, December 7th against Drummondville. Halifax will also host Gatineau on Friday, December 8th. Tickets are on sale now at Ticketmaster.ca.