Geordon Omand - Metro Halifax
© ANDREW RANKIN - METRO HALIFAX
Gatineau Olympiques goaltender Robert Steeves, left, blocks a shot from Halifax Mooseheads Luca Ciampini.
On the bright side for the Gatineau Olympiques, Jonathan Bourcier picked up his third goal of the playoffs, but it wasn’t near enough to fend off the surging Halifax Mooseheads.
The 17-year-old’s early third-period tally gave the visiting Olympiques hopes of a comeback.
But the Herd had other plans, answering with back-to-back power play goals in just over two minutes. From there, the Mooseheads, who outshot Gatineau 33-26, buckled down when they needed to, cruising to a 4-1 victory in their quarter-final series opener before 8,927 fans at the Metro Centre on Friday night.
“It’s always nice to score goals,” said Bourcier.
“But when you lose, it’s not fun. We need to be disciplined against these guys — they have a good power play,” he said.
“After the third goal we were a bit disappointed but that’s part of the game of hockey. We have to keep working.”
Outshooting their opponent 11-5 in the final frame, the Mooseheads saved their best for last. Andrew Ryan led the way, breaking out of his goal-less playoff slump with a pair of tallies and an assist.
“We may not have had the start we wanted but I think over the full 60 minutes we kept getting better and I think we ended up wearing them down towards the end,” said Ryan, whose shorthanded power play marker early in the third period stood as the game-winner.
“Their goal they scored was on the power play, so we need to make sure we stay out of the box.”
Goalie Zachary Fucale was sharp between the pipes, guiding the herd to its 18th-straight victory in his first real test of the post-season.
“We want to have the same effort and build on each game… In the end we have to make sure we match their intensity and work harder,” said Fucale.
“The first game is always very crucial,” he added. “We’re happy with tonight. Now we have to focus on tomorrow night.”
If Friday night was any indication, the best-of-seven series should be an entertaining one from here on in.
The Herd will have little time to savour Friday’s victory. Game 2 is scheduled for Saturday night at the Metro Centre.
Philippe Gadoury and Brent Andrews rounded out the scoring for the Mooseheads, while Jonathan Drouin and Nikolaj Ehlers picked up a couple of helpers each.