Halifax Mooseheads forced to Game 7 after falling 7-5 to Foreurs in Val-d’Or

Geordon Omand for Metro Halifax
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VAL D'OR, QUE. - It was too little too late.

Officials spent at least 10 minutes reviewing before letting Guillaume Gelinas's goal stand in Val-d'Or's Game 6 victory over the Halifax Mooseheads.

Even after turning on the afterburners to come back from a 6-1 deficit most of the way through Game 6 on Monday night, the Halifax Mooseheads couldn’t manage to turn it around, falling to the Val-d’Or Foreurs 7-5 in the best-of-seven QMJHL semi-final series.

“It was definitely too late,” said Mooseheads forward Nikolaj Ehlers.

“We know that we didn’t play our game today, but everybody … knows that we’ve got to step up our game tomorrow.”

In a performance more reminiscent of their earlier-series games, the Mooseheads — who outshot the Foreurs 43-32 — came out uncharacteristically sluggish, giving up four straight goals to the home squad in the opening 11 minutes.

Slow starts are an issue that has plagued the team since Game 1 — and one they’re eager to get a handle on before Tuesday night’s deciding showdown.

“We’ll go out tomorrow and start the way we finished tonight,” pledged Luca Ciampini, who tallied the Mooseheads’ first two markers to kickstart the Herd’s ultimately ill-fated comeback.

With a five-goal deficit early in the third frame, the Mooseheads — clearly frustrated — took their fair share of penalties, with both MacKenzie Weegar and Darcy Ashley sent out for 10-minute misconducts.

“It’s playoffs — sometimes you get a little frustrated,” said Ehlers.

“But I think the team that can keep it cool and doesn’t make stupid penalty minutes is the team that’s going to win the series.”

The Mooseheads had ample scoring opportunities, but came up short, in part thanks to Foreurs Antoine Bibeau’s outstanding goaltending.

Mooseheads goalie Zach Fucale was pulled heading into the third frame after giving up five goals on 22 shots, replaced with backup netminder Kevin Darveau.

Besides Ciampini’s pair of markers, Philippe Gadoury, Brent Andrews and Andrew Shewfelt rounded out the scoring for the Herd.

Anthony Richard, Anthony Beauregard and Guillaume Gelinas each scored twice for the Foreurs, in addition to Anthony Mantha’s single.

The second-seeded Mooseheads will have the home-ice advantage heading into the seventh-and-deciding game, which kicks off 8 p.m. Tuesday night at the Metro Centre.

“Everybody enjoys Game 7s; that’s what you look forward to as a kid,” Ciampini said. “Everybody lives to want to play those games — that’s when the big boys are going to come out to play.”

From the sounds of it, the Mooseheads aren’t the only ones willing to pull out all the stops for the eleventh-hour win.

“Anything we can do: lay our bodies on the line, pay the price, block shots, work hard. It’s win or go home,” said Foreurs blueliner Randy Gazzola, who notched three helpers on Monday.

“Anything could happen in Game 7 — it could go either way. It’s going to be exciting; it’s going to be a great game.”

Organizations: Metro Centre

Geographic location: Val

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