Geordon Omand - Metro Halifax
It just goes to show: it’s never over 'til it’s over.
© Andy Klink/Abitibi Express
Halifax Mooseheads forward Jonathan Drouin takes out Guillaume Gélinas of the Val-d'Or Foreurs during Game 3 action.
From a 5-1 deficit midway through the game, the Halifax Mooseheads rallied in an incredible way to turn a lukewarm start and what looked like a lost cause into a nail-biter 6-5 overtime victory against the Foreurs on Tuesday night in Val-d’Or.
With an exciting Game 3 win at the Centre Air Creebec, the Mooseheads cut the Foreurs’ best-of-seven QMJHL semi-final series lead to 2-1.
“I think the rallying point was coming in the room (after the second period) and the boys just saying to each other, ‘We’re not done, we’re not dead in the water, we’re coming out and we’re a lot better than this,’” said Jesse Lussier, whose goal overtime goal — his first of the playoffs — sealed the win for the visiting Mooseheads.
“I’m not really known for my goal-scoring ability, but whenever I can chip in and help the boys out I’ll do that when I can,” he added, all smiles after the tight game.
But for most of the match a Halifax win seemed the unlikeliest of possibilities.
The Val-d’Or Foreurs came out swinging right from the puck drop, scoring three goals on their first three shots — all by the 3:28 mark of the first frame — to the raucous delight of the home crowd.
Mooseheads forward Andrew Shewfelt tallied another marker less than a minute later, but the Foreurs responded to finish the first period up 4-1.
After league-leading scorer Anthony Mantha scored his third goal of the game early in the second frame it looked like the Foreurs had it in the bag.
The local crowd erupted at Mantha’s hat trick, covering the ice with hundreds of plastic yellow hard hats.
But 10 minutes after rink staff had swept the hats off the ice, Mooseheads defenceman Matt Murphy managed two back-to-back markers within 58 seconds to finish the second period 5-3.
A phenomenal third period turnaround saw Jonathan Drouin cut the Foreurs’ lead to 5-4, before Mooseheads blueliner MacKenzie Weegar tied it up with four minutes left in regulation time.
Exciting overtime action saw players on both sides dig deep, keeping the crowds on the edge of their seats with solid end-to-end action.
That’s when unlikely hero Lussier tallied on a rocket from the point off a pass from Philippe Gadoury eight minutes into OT to put the Mooseheads ahead for an unreal come-from-behind 6-5 win.
“It’s obviously a big comeback, a big win, but it’s not the way we wanted to come out,” said Lussier about Tuesday night’s victory.
“We want to come out a lot better than we did tonight.”
The two squads are set to face off again in Val-d’Or for Game 4 tomorrow at 8:30 p.m. AT.