Halifax Mooseheads rebound against Gatineau Olympiques, take 3-1 series lead

Geordon Omand for Metro Halifax
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GATINEAU, QUE. - All’s well that ends well.

A tense third-period eventually gave way to a 4-2 victory for the Halifax Mooseheads, who foiled an attempt by the Gatineau Olympiques to tie up the best-of-seven QMJHL quarter-final series on Wednesday night at the Robert-Guertin Centre.

The Mooseheads now lead the series 3-1 and can finish things off on Friday night in Gatineau.

“We faced adversity there,” said Mooseheads defenceman Mackenzie Weegar about the push from the Olympiques in the game’s final 20 minutes.

“It was exciting — we haven’t faced that in a long time.”

Weegar had an impressive performance Wednesday night, scoring a five-on-three power-play goal and earning first star of the game.

Jonathan Drouin, well, he was Jonathan Drouin, recording three helpers to give him a league-best 24 points in the playoffs and 11 points for the series.

“It’s a tough building to play in — the fans are crazy; they come out hard here,” Weegar said.

“But I thought we did a great job. We settled down. I thought we kept our composure the whole game.”

Maybe not the whole game.

Tempers flared almost as soon as the puck dropped, with Moosheads tough guy Brandon Vuic kicked out before the two-minute mark for being the aggressor in a fight with the Olympiques’ Derek Sheppard.

A goal-less opening 20 minutes led to a second-period push that put the Mooseheads ahead 3-0 as Luca Ciampini, Weegar and Nikolai Ehlers all found the back of the net.

But the Olympiques responded and cut the lead to one early in the third period on a goal by Vaclav Karabacek

The comeback had a raucous home crowd on their feet but Gatineau couldn’t find the equalizer,.

An empty-netter in the final minute by Brent Andrews sealed the deal for the Mooseheads.

“That wasn’t the game we wanted to play,” said Olympiques captain Taylor Burke, a Halifax native.

“I know for us we’ve got look to come out Friday ready to compete … I’ll be there.”

The Olympiques — who outshot Halifax 28-23 — had been hoping capitalize on Tuesday night’s 5-2 victory.

Zachary Fucale and Robert Steeves played solid games in net.

“We battled hard all night and we were very relieved to get the win,” said Andrews.

“It’s a war to play every night,” he added. “An absolute war … (but) we showed our maturity pretty well and we held our own and did what we had to do.”

Organizations: Robert-Guertin Centre

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