It didn’t happen.
Certainly Moore’s prediction was a good one. The Mooseheads were 0-5 heading into the game, playing at home versus an average team. Everyone knew the Moose would come out flying, trying to secure that first win of the season for the 4400 faithful in attendance eager to celebrate a victory.
But the Tigres scored on a painfully poor clearing attempt by the Mooseheads defence at the 12:33 mark of the third period to break a 2-2 tie, and then added an empty netter with 7 seconds left to seal the Mooseheads fate and send them to their sixth consecutive loss to begin the season.
The Tigres outshot the Mooseheads 33-20 in a game that became a battle of power play versus penalty kill, a game that the Moose would show a great deal of heart and grit, but come up empty once again.
Charles Bety and Garrett Clarke set the tone early for Halifax. Bety held his own in an entertaining scrap with Victoriaville’s Joel Chouinard, a match-up of two welterweights both listed at 191 pounds on the roster. Bety got a 2 minute roughing call for getting the fight started.
Clarke laid out a Victoriaville player at centre ice leaving him woozy, shaken and requiring immediate attention from the Tigres trainer. Clarke was given a 5 minute major and a game misconduct on the play.
Down to 6 defencemen, Steve Gillard found himself pressed into service as Cam Russell paired him up with Pascal Amyot. Gillard would go on to a play a steady, solid game in Clarke’s absence.
Travis McIsaac would score the game’s first goal on the power play for Victoriaville.
The captain, Thomas Knotek, would answer with a howitzer from the left wing. At the end of the first period the game was tied 1-1.
After killing off a penalty to begin the second period, the Mooseheads went down 2-1 when the Tigres Phillippe Maillet found the back of the net at the 3 minute mark of the period.
After several squandered power plays, the Moose would cash in 14 minutes later with Carl Gelina’s first goal of the season. The fourth liner tied the game 2-2 and energized the diehards in attendance heading into the third period.
The teams would exchange power plays and missed opportunities for the first 12 minutes of the 3rd period, before Victoriaville would score the game winning goal as a result of a poorly timed sequence of events from the Moose.
Travis Randall failed on a back handed move that left him with a difficult angle to best Tigres goaltender Antonio Mastropietro (probably the best name in the Q). About two seconds after the collective roar from the crowd, the Tigres gained control of the puck and found themselves blessed with an odd man rush into the Mooseheads zone.
Mooseheads goalie Joel Grondin would make the initial save and render an easy rebound for the Halifax defence to handle in front of the net, but Alexandre Brunet, or Abeltshauser, or both, backhanded the puck listlessly to Tomas Kubalik, who one timed the ill fated clearing attempt past Grondin for his first goal of the season.
The Mooseheads would push hard for the equalizer, sending Grondin to the bench for a sixth attacker with 1 minute to play.
Randall would bring the Mooseheads crowd to their feet once again with a one timer chance in front of the Tigres goal, but fanned on an opportunity which would prove to be the last of the night for the Moose.
Brent Andrews misfired on a crisp pass from Abeltshauser in the attacking zone, which led to a bouncing puck that found a Tigres stick and led to an easy empty netter for Yannick Dube, his first goal of the young season.
As the fans headed to the aisles, the Moose were left to ponder what could have been, and to come to grips with being the only team in the QMJHL that has yet to obtain at least 1 point in the standings.
Next up for the Mooseheads is the Rimouski Oceanic, Thursday, October 1 at the Metro Centre.
Studs n’ Duds
Studs- Thomas Knotek, Joel Grondin, Konrad Abeltshauser, Linden Bahm.