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Busy weekend ahead for Mooseheads who take on three Maritime rivals

Halifax hosts Saint John and Bathurst before visiting Charlottetown on Sunday
The Halifax Mooseheads host the Acadie-Bathurst Titan on Nov. 10, 2018 (Garreth MacDonald for

Perhaps last week's second period surge in Shawinigan was just what the Memorial Cup hosts needed to break out of their pre-Christmas funk.

The Moosehead trailed the Cataractes 1-0 after the opening frame last Friday night. Heading into the game, Halifax had dropped three straight games for the first time all season.

But in the second, the Mooseheads took it to the team with the third-worst record in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League. They outshot Shawinigan 18-2 in the period and 16-4 in the third before ultimately skating away with a 5-2 victory.

It was an impressive return to Shawinigan for former Cataractes captain Samuel Asselin.

Asselin, who was dealt to Bathurst last January by the team that drafted him in the fifth round of the 2014 QMJHL Entry Draft, scored a hat trick and added an assist in his first game back at the Centre Gervais Auto.

The Mooseheads followed up the win with a terrific performance on Sunday in Rimouski where they wrapped up their three-game Quebec road trip.

Joel Bishop and Ben Higgins each chipped in a goal and an assist in a 4-1 victory over a talented Oceanic club.

The Mooseheads, who have the league's top penalty kill, played well defensively, limiting Rimouski's even-strength scoring chances and holding the Q's best power play to just one goal on seven opportunities.

Halifax will look to cut down on the power play chances they gave up while continuing that strong play during a busy weekend against a trio of rivals from the Maritimes Division.

HALIFAX (19-7-1-0) vs SAINT JOHN (4-22-2-1), Friday at 7 p.m. on NEWS 95.7

The Saint John Sea Dogs are on a, uh, hot streak?

For the second season in a row, Saint John is the worst team in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League. After capturing the President's Cup in 2017, the team has been stocking up on talented young prospects for the future. 

With that strategy has come growing pains.

But after losing 17-straight games between Oct. 12 and Nov. 28, the Sea Dogs have picked up two wins in their last three contest.

On Nov. 30, Saint John defeated the Val d'Or Foreurs 4-3 thanks to Robbie Burt's overtime winner. It was Burt's third goal of the night.

Burt was the overtime hero again on Wednesday, potting his eleventh goal of the season as the Sea Dogs topped the Quebec Remparts 4-3 to earn their fourth win on the year. He leads the team in scoring with 18 points in 28 games.

The Mooseheads lead the season series 2-0.

HALIFAX (19-7-1-0) vs ACADIE-BATHURST (5-22-0-1), Saturday 7 p.m. on NEWS 95.7

Much like in the case of the Sea Dogs, the Acadie-Bathurst Titan are also coming off a recent President's Cup championship and are in the midst of a rebuild.

The defending Memorial Cup champions have just five wins on the season and three of them have come against Saint John.

However, the Titan are coming off a hard-fought game against the Q's top club in their last match-up on Sunday.

Rouyn-Noranda's Vincent Marleau broke a 2-2 stalemate just over four minutes into the third period as the Huskies edged Bathurst 3-2.

Ethan Crossman and Daniil Vertiy scored for Bathurst while Tyriq Outen (0-8-0-0, .874 SV%, 5.64 GAA) made 41 saves between the pipes.

The loss was the team's fourth in a row.

Halifax has a perfect 3-0 record against the Titan this season and has outscored the club 22-2.

HALIFAX (19-7-1-0) vs CHARLOTTETOWN (18-7-2-1), Sunday 3 p.m. on NEWS 95.7

After a slow start out of the gate, the Charlottetown Islanders are rolling.

The Islanders (7-0-1-1) have picked up points in their last nine games and are tied with the Mooseheads for second in the Maritimes with 39 points on the year.

On Thursday night in Charlottetown, the Islanders defeated the Remparts 3-1. Daniel Hardie scored twice and Bridgewater's Keith Getson added a single marker for the home team.

Halifax native Matthew Welsh (13-6-1-1, .896 SV%, 3.15 GAA) stopped 34 pucks in the victory.

Pierre-Olivier Joseph picked up a pair of assists in the win and was named the game's first star. Earlier this week, he was one of 34 players selected to attend Hockey Canada's World Junior selection camp in Victoria, B.C. later this month.

Halifax's Jared McIsaac, who has seven goals and 14 assists in 20 games and is fourth in the Q in points-per-game among defenceman, also received an invitation. 

And he wasn't alone.

Mooseheads forward Raphael Lavoie, who led Canada's under-18 team in goal scoring at 2018 IIHF World U18 Championship last April, was also selected to attend.

The Islanders are 11-2-1-1 on home ice this season. Their only regulation losses came against the Mooseheads.

The last time these two teams met, Halifax topped Charlottetown 4-3 in overtime at the Scotiabank Centre back on Nov. 20. Benoit-Olivier "Bo" Groulx scored the game-winning goal with 1:07 left in OT.

You can listen to Sunday's game live from Charlottetown at 3 p.m. on NEWS 95.7.

Garreth MacDonald

About the Author: Garreth MacDonald

Garreth MacDonald is the play-by-play voice of the Halifax Mooseheads on NEWS 95.7. Aside from his role with NEWS 95.7, Garreth is also the communications director for Hockey Nova Scotia.
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