Halifax’s top players lead Mooseheads into busy weekend

By Garreth MacDonald

Six points for Antoine Morand.

Four points for Samuel Asselin.

Four points for Jared McIsaac.

After two-straight disappointing performances for his team, Mooseheads head coach Eric Veilleux wanted his best players to be his best players on Thursday night.

They delivered.

Halifax came away from last night's game with a 7-5 victory over the Victoriaville Tigres in a seesaw, back-and-forth affair.

Morand, the Mooseheads' captain, had not scored in nine-straight games before finally getting the monkey off his back late in the first period.

Thanks to some great pressure on the penalty kill and some hard work from Asselin and Morand, the pair combined for a shorthanded tally, Morand's 15th goal of the season, cutting the Tigres' lead to 2-1.

The Mooseheads' power play would go 3-for-3 in the second period as Halifax got goals from Benoit-Olivier “Bo” Groulx, Jared McIsaac, and Samuel Asselin on the man-advantage.

Morand would add a helper and two more goals in the third period, including the game-winning marker, to complete the hat trick.

It was one of Morand's best performances of the season and the Mooseheads will look to their captain and leadership group as they wrap-up a busy three-in-three schedule this weekend.

HALIFAX (34-11-2-1) vs SHERBROOKE (27-19-1-1), Friday at 7 p.m. on NEWS 95.7

Next up for the Mooseheads is a date with Shebrooke on home ice at the Scotiabank Centre.

The Shebrooke Phoenix enter Friday's game in third place in the Western Conference behind juggernauts Rouyn-Noranda and Drummondville.

There is some disparity between the two conferences this season.

If Sherbrooke was in the Eastern Conference, their 56 points would have them seeded in eighth spot.

The Phoenix kicked off their Maritime road trip on Wednesday at Centre 200 in Sydney. 

Mitchell Balmas notched a hat trick and helped lead the Cape Breton Screaming Eagles to a 5-1 victory.

Patrick Guay had Sherbrooke's only goal

These two clubs haven't met since way back on Oct. 20, a 4-2 victory for the Mooseheads at the Palais des Sports Léopold-Drolet. 

Antoine Morand, Raphael Lavoie, Jared McIsaac, and Marcel Barinka scored for Halifax in that one while rookie netminder Cole McLaren turned aside 29 pucks to pick up his third win of the year.

McLaren was just 3:08 away from picking up his second consecutive shutout when Yann-Félix Lapointe finally beat him late in the third period.

With three games in three nights for the Mooseheads, McLaren is likely to get the start in goal this evening for his team.

HALIFAX (34-11-2-1) vs MONCTON (26-17-3-3), Saturday at 7 p.m. on NEWS 95.7

The Mooseheads continued their dominance over the Wildcats with a 5-3 win last Saturday at the Avenir Centre.

They travel back to Moncton tomorrow for their third straight Saturday evening showdown with their Maritimes Division rival.

Halifax is 5-0-1-0 against the Wildcats this season but they were fortunate to escape last weekend's game with two points.

The Wildcats worked hard for new head coach John Torchetti and the Mooseheads turned in a lacklustre performance through the first 40 minutes before finally turning it on in the third period.

Trailing 3-2 after the second, Arnaud Durandeau struck on the power play less than two minutes into the final frame to tie the game up at 3-3. 

Groulx would give the Mooseheads the lead 9:21 into the period before Joel Bishop iced the game with an empty-netter, his second goal of the night.

The Wildcats have dropped four-straight games.

You can listen to Saturday's game live from Moncton at 7 p.m. on Dartmouth Dodge Mooseheads Hockey on NEWS 95.7.

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