FREDERICTON – A packed house with an electric atmosphere propelled the Moncton Wildcats to a 7-3 victory over the Halifax Mooseheads last night at the Aitken Centre in Fredericton.
Ivan Barbashev had four goals and two assists while Conor Garland had six assists. Garland was originally credited with seven helpers – assisting on every Wildcats goal – but later had one removed.
It was a fairly dominant performance from the Wildcats from start to finish. They scored less than two minutes in and led 3-0 after the first period. Moncton outshot Halifax 43-25 overall.
Halifax’s big guns – imports Nikolaj Ehlers and Timo Meier – were held to just one goal and two assists. Ehlers was a -4 on the night.
Former Sea Dogs forward Kelly Bent had a goal and was his typical, aggitating self for the Mooseheads. Noah Zilbert - a Fredericton - was held pointless in the win.
Along with the performance on Barbashev and Garland, the big story was the atmosphere at the Aitken Centre. The 3,278 fans that filled the building were very pro-Wildcats and loudly cheered on their team from start to finish. It was electric and significantly louder than a Moncton Coliseum game. Even the boos for Ehlers – who was booed after being “injured” on a Stephen Johnson hit in game two – carried over into the game.
The Wildcats now lead the second round series 3-2 heading into game six on Sunday afternoon in Halifax. A game seven, if needed, would be played on Tuesday night in Moncton.
Some other news and notes…
- Elsewhere in the QMJHL last night, the Rimouski Oceanic eliminated the Gatineau Olympiques with a 4-1 win in game five of their second round series. Former Sea Dogs forward Joey Richard was held pointless with a -2 rating in the game, finishing the playoffs with three goals and five assists in 11 games.
- In the other series that is still going on, Val-d’Or defeated Baie-Comeau 5-2 in game five. The Drakkar now lead that series 3-2.
- In the NHL playoffs last night, Nathan Beaulieu had three hits in 12:47 of ice time in the Montreal Canadiens’ 3-2 overtime win over the Ottawa Senators. Mike Hoffman had three hits and two penalty minutes in 12:40 of ice time in the loss.
- Tomas Jurco, Charlie Coyle and Simon Despres are back in action today/tonight.
- At the World Under-18 Hockey Championship, the Czech Republic defeated Latvia 4-1 yesterday. Jakub Zboril did not appear on the team’s lineup posted on the IIHF website. They Czechs play Canada tomorrow at 1:30 p.m. on TSN2.
- Today at the Under-18s, Nathan Noel, Thomas Chabot and Team Canada take on Switzerland at 1:30 p.m. That game can be seen on TSN.
- There were two Newfoundland teams in the Allan Cup semifinals but neither will play in the final. Jason Churchill’s Clarenville Caribous, the hosts of this year’s tournament, lost 4-1 to the South East Prairie Thunder while Danny Wicks and the Grand Falls-Windsor Cataracts fell 5-4 to the Bentley Generals.
- The NHL Draft Lottery takes place tonight.