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Moose put it all together
By Willy Palov - Sports Reporter
The Chronicle Herald
The Halifax Mooseheads put together their most complete game of the season Tuesday night at the Metro Centre.
They beat the Bathurst Titan 6-2 in front of 5,846 fans to give them four wins in their first five games of the year.
“The coach (Dominique Ducharme) was really on us last practice about playing a full 60 minutes,” said Halifax defenceman Randy Gazzola. “It was something we really wanted to do. Coming into a Tuesday night, ideally it’s not your home night, but the good thing is we put 60 minutes together and got a win.”
The Titan got goals from Raphael Lafontaine and Zach O'Brien in the first 9:25 of the game but Halifax’s Marty Frk and Ryan Falkenham answered during a 48-second span a few minutes later to tie the score at 2-2.
Dominic Beauchemin and Jonathan Drouin scored back-to-back goals 58 seconds apart late in the second period to put the Mooseheasd ahead 4-2. The goal was Beauchemin’s first of his QMJHL career. It was his 11th Quebec league game.
“I tried to be in this league for three years and now I am (in) it,” said the 19-year-old Beauchemin. “It’s like a dream for me. It’s great.
“I was pretty happy at this moment. We have a great crowd here, great fans here so that was pretty amazing.”
Stefan Fournier’s power-play goal in the third period put the game out of reach and Gazzola shot the puck the entire length of the ice to score an empty-netter with 7.5 seconds remaining. It was also Gazzola’s first goal in the league. He recorded his first career point earlier in the night when he drew an assist on Beauchemin’s goal.
“I had a feeling when (Zachary) Fucale made a save, I wheeled around and Konrad (Abeltshauser) was telling me ‘Go, go, go,’” said the 19-year-old defenceman. “I knew we were shorthanded so I figured ‘Hey, why not? I might as well try it.’”
Fucale started again in the Halifax net, stopping 27 shots. Hammonds Plains native Jacob Brennan made 35 saves for the Titan. It was the third time this season the Mooseheads put 40-plus shots on the other team’s goal.
“When we shoot a lot, we get some more chances to score,” Beauchemin said. “Things will happen when we have some chances like that so that’s great.”
It was the most balanced offensive game of the season for the Mooseheads, who have relied heavily on Drouin and Nathan MacKinnon so far. Like Beauchemin, Frk scored his first goal of the season and Falkenham had his second of the year and was named first star. Rookie defenceman MacKenzie Weegar also added two assists.
“It’s good to get those guys contributing, especially the first couple games (when they’re) a little nervous,” Gazzola said. “But now we’re starting to settle in a bit better. ... Those are the guys that hard work paid off for and they got to contribute.”
Gazzola and the rest of the Halifax defence also did a terrific job containing Bathurst’s top forwards. With the exception of O’Brien’s goal and an assist for Matthew Bissonnette, the Titan’s three best scorers were mostly non-factors.
“O’Brien, Bissonnette and (Brandon) Hynes are great players,” Gazzola said. “They’re good with the puck. There’s just stuff you have to fundamentally do – stick on the puck when you’re on defence because they’re going to walk around you. They’re that good. But all in all, I thought we did a good job shutting them down and the result was in our favour.”
The Mooseheads play their next game on Friday at home against the Saint John Sea Dogs.
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