(Photo Credit: Richard LaFortune)
By: Henry Whitfield
Despite going into their first round matchup with the Moncton Wildcats as favourites, the Halifax Mooseheads had a lot to prove with a talented roster and almost four years since their last win in the playoffs.
The Mooseheads rose to the occasion on the weekend, sweeping the first two games with a combined score of 9-2, riding strong performances from Zachary Fucale to dominate the scoreboard. Fucale stopped 45 of 47 shots faced on the weekend, coming up with the big saves when the Mooseheads needed them.
Halifax fell behind early in the Game 1, with James Melindy scoring on the powerplay, but the Herd tied it up when Nathan MacKinnon scored a highlight reel goal late in the period.
Unable to match the intensity of the Mooseheads, Moncton gave up four more unanswered goals and took 5 straight penalties in the third period on the way to a 5-1 Mooseheads win.
The only setback was a suspension to Konrad Abeltshauser, handed two games for a hit where no penalty was called, which seemed to galvanize the team, who stormed out to a 2-goal lead in less than a minute to start Game 2.
Martin Frk and Alex Grenier combined for the two goals before most of the crowd had even found it’s seat, while Cameron Critchlow added the third goal midway through the third period.
MacKinnon once again stole the show with another brilliant goal, hauled down on the breakaway the Cole Harbour native beat Roman Will on a penalty shot and ignited the nearly 8,000 fans in attendance.
Melindy would later ruin Fucale’s shutout, but that wouldn’t damper the mood as the Mooseheads skated to a commanding 2-0 lead in the best of seven series.
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Alex Grenier – 1 goal, 2 assists
Nathan MacKinnon – 3 goals, 1assist
Martin Frk – 3 goals, 1 assist
Zachary Fucale – 45 Saves, 1.00 GAA, 0.957 SV%
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The series now heads back to Moncton, where the teams will play back-to-back games on Monday and Tuesday, if needed game five will be played Friday in Halifax.
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