Road Rally for 30th Victory of the Season
It was a slow start on Thursday night for the Mooseheads in Victoriaville, but the Herd once again found a way to get it done in an important road meeting with the Tigres in a 4-2 victory.
Markus Vidicek scored twice, including the third-period game-winner while Logan Crosby added an insurance tally and first star Mathieu Cataford contributed three assists as Halifax rallied from a pair of deficits to earn their 30th win of the season. Braeden MacPhee also scored to help push the Mooseheads’ season record to 30-11-7-1.
The two clubs were just three points apart in the overall standings to begin the night but the Moose pushed it to a five point difference by sweeping the two-game season series. The Tigres came out guns blazing to open the game as their leading scorer, Tommy Cormier scored on the first shot of the game just 14 seconds after the drop of the puck to put the Mooseheads in an early hole. Cormier’s shot was one that goalie Mathis Rousseau typically doesn’t let in, but the 19-year-old buckled down as the night wore on. Rousseau finished with 26 saves and his 21st win to best his counterpart Nathan Darveau. The Victoriaville netminder and reigning CHL Goalie of the Year allowed four goals on 33 shots as the Tigres saw their record fall to 29-14-4-0.
MacPhee knotted the game 1-1 near the midway point of the first period when he poked in the puck from the side of the net after third star Logan Crosby put the biscuit through the crease where MacPhee was waiting to take a jab at it. The score remained tied for the next 8:21 of action until Rousseau allowed another uncharacteristic goal off the stick of Egor Goriunov to put the Tigres back in front 2-1 late in the opening period.
The inefficient power play was cause for concern for the Herd for at least a portion of the game, as they struggled to mount much of an attack in their first three opportunities. Their fate changed for the better in the second period when Vidicek fired one home off a centering feed by Lou-Felix Denis on the man advantage to even the game 2-2 with 6:02 remaining in the middle stanza. That was the score on the centre ice clock after 40 minutes in what was an extremely even battle to that point.
Markus Vidicek gives us the lead with his second goal of the game and is one back of the league lead.
— Halifax Mooseheads (@HFXMooseheads) February 2, 2024
Halifax was the better team in the final period of play and looked hungry for the victory. They obtained their first lead of the night early in the frame when the second star Vidicek notched his second goal of the game to give him 34 on the season. That number is not only a career-high for the star veteran, but it also put him just one off the league lead of 35 held by Baie-Comeau’s Justin Poirier. Halifax kept pushing and Logan Crosby struck for another power play tally for a 4-2 lead only 6:24 into the period. Rousseau held the fort the rest of the way and the Moose shutdown the Tigres with a smothering effort.
The game was played without the services of forwards Peter Reynolds and Jordan Dumais. Reynolds remains out week-to-week with an upper body injury while Dumais is out indefinitely following lower abdominal surgery. His timeline to return is now at approximately four weeks.
The win is a big one for the Mooseheads against a tough opponent, and a terrific way to start a difficult stretch of three road games in three days. The test gets even tougher on Friday night when Halifax visits the streaking Drummondville Voltigeurs, who were also in action on Thursday with a shutout victory over the QMJHL-best Baie-Comeau Drakkar. The Volts are 14-0-1 in their last 15 games and will host the Herd at 8pm AST. From there it’s on to Shawinigan where Halifax will wrap up the trip on Saturday at 5pm. Fans can listen to both games on CityNews 95.7 or watch on the CHL TV webcast.