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Mooseheads look to defend top spot in the East on home ice this weekend

Halifax rides QMJHL’s top power play and penalty kill into two game homestead against Gatineau and Charlottetown
091818-year of the moose
(Photo credit: David Chan Photography)

After a pair of lopsided wins over the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League's two worst teams earlier this week, the conference-leading Mooseheads are back in action at the Scotiabank Centre tonight.

Halifax hosts the Gatineau Olympiques this evening on home ice. 

It is the first meeting of the season between the two clubs who will face off again in early March at the Robert Guertin Centre.

On Saturday afternoon, the Charlottetown Islanders roll into town for a matinee match-up.

The Mooseheads, who have won ten of their last twelves games, picked up a pair of victories over the Acadie-Bathurst Titan and the Saint John Sea Dogs in make-up games on Monday and Tuesday. 

Halifax topped the Titan 6-1 on Monday and Saint John 10-2 on Tuesday evening at home.

The Mooseheads' power play went 7-for-10 during the two games. 

As a result, the team now has the league's best power play to go along with the Q's top penalty kill that they have boasted for most of the season.

They will try to ride their hot special teams into tonight's match-up with Gatineau.

There is a chance the Mooseheads' Maxim Trepanier, who was acquired from the Olympiques back in December, could return tonight against his former team. 

He has not played since Jan. 10 when he was injured in a 7-1 win over Shawinigan.

Defenceman Jake Ryczek, who has not suited up since Jan. 13 against Rouyn-Noranda, could also make his return.

The pair are considered questionable for this evening's game.

The puck drops at 7 p.m. on NEWS 95.7.

HALIFAX (39-12-2-1, 81 points) vs GATINEAU (20-29-3-2, 45 points), Friday at 7 p.m. on NEWS 95.7

The Olympiques are coming off a thrilling comeback and overtime victory in Charlottetown on Thursday night to kick off their Maritime road trip.

Gatineau trailed the Islanders 3-1 with just over a minute to play in the third period before Metis Roelens struck on the power play to bring his team within one.

With just four seconds remaining in the period, Charles-Antoine Roy scored to force overtime.

And in the extra frame, Giordano Finoro would knock a rebound past Matt Welsh for his team-leading 17th goal of the season as Gatineau completed the comeback.

The Olympiques, who are 4-5-1 in their last ten games, are in the midst of a rebuild. 

During the trade period, they dealt some of their top offensive players like Shawn Boudrias and Jeffrey Durocher (and, of course, Maxim Trepanier who was acquired by the Mooseheads).

However, they have been a tough team to play against, as evidenced by some tight contests with Rouyn-Noranda, Rimouski, and Drummondville.

Overage defenceman Gabriel Bilodeau currently leads the team in scoring with 11 goals 32 assists in 50 games this season.

Mathieu Bizier, who came to the team from Rimouski in the Durocher deal, has also been a bright spot, putting up seven goals and 13 assists in 21 games since he was acquired.

HALIFAX (39-12-2-1, 81 points) vs CHARLOTTETOWN (30-7-4-3, 67 points), Saturday at 4:30 p.m. on NEWS 95.7

A familiar foe visits the Scotiabank Centre on Saturday afternoon.

The Mooseheads are 6-1 against the Islanders this season.

It's been a tough stretch for Charlottetown who have dropped five of their last six games including a 4-1 loss to the Mooseheads on Feb. 6.

The Islanders' lone victory during that span was against the lowly Sea Dogs on Wednesday night. Charlottetown fell 6-5 in overtime to Saint John on Saturday night.

Halifax native Matthew Welsh (22-15-2, .897 SV%, 3.18 GAA), one of the top goaltenders in the league, should get the start against the Mooseheads.

Saturday's match-up will be airing on Sportsnet as the CHL Game of the Week so you can bet both teams will be bringing their A-games on the national stage.

You can listen along to all of the play-by-play action live at 4:30 p.m. on Dartmouth Dodge Mooseheads Hockey on NEWS 95.7.

Don't forget to tune into the Burrito Jax Pre-Game Show at 6:30 p.m.. and stick around after the game for the East Side Mario's Post-Game Show.

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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