Oops, they did it again.
For the second straight night, the Halifax Mooseheads lost in front of a hometown crowd, this time holding the lead through much of the game before being edged 6-5 in overtime to the Saint John Sea Dogs.
After a rough 3-0 shutout loss to the Moncton Wildcats in Friday night’s home opener, the Herd started off Saturday’s game looking like a different team, with less scrambling and more play-making, less missed passes and more tape-to-tape, less shots missed – and pucks actually finding the back of the net.
But the boys broke down midway through the game, giving Saint John the chance to steal the spotlight in Halifax’s own barn.
Sea Dog forward Adam Marsh tied it up at 13:58 in the third and assisted Thomas Chabot’s game-winner just over a minute into the extra frame for the win. Marsh was named first star for his four points on the night, including two goals and two assists.
“It was a tough loss,” second-year forward Connor Moynihan said outside the Mooseheads dressing room. “I think we won the first period, they won the second, and it was just a battle to the end in the third.”
Halifax’s veterans led the charge, with captain Ryan Falkenham opening the scoring on a power play less than five minutes into the game. Moynihan added one of his own at 11:44 in the first with help from Halifax’s Kelly Bent, just acquired from Saint John on waivers, and Samuel Leblanc.
It was Moynihan’s first goal of the season, and first of two on the night. He was named the game’s third star.
“I give that credit to my linemates, for setting me up on those goals,” he said. “I just had to put them on net.”
Second-year forward Timo Meier of Herisau, Switzerland, made it 3-0 before the first was done, with rookies Morgan Nauss and Maxime Fortier making some nice, hard passes to set him up, again on the power play.
Meier also had two goals in the game, along with an assist, to earn him three points and second star honours.
“The first one was a very nice play on the power play. I just had to shoot it,” Meier said. “The second one, was just I didn’t give up on the puck, and kind of stole it from the other player.”
Saint John’s Julien Tessier, Mitchell Dempsey and Marsh scored three straight in the second to tie it up. Meier’s second goal was the go-ahead at 18:20 in the middle frame to make it 4-3 after 4o minutes.
Dempsey and Moynihan traded goals in the third for a 5-4 Halifax lead late in the third, but Marsh’s marker at 13:58 was enough to send it into the extra frame.
“I’m not happy because we didn’t win,” Meier said, adding the Moose “have to work on our mindset” before they host the Chicoutimi Sagueneens on Friday at 7 p.m.
“We have to step on the ice ready, and keep building on every shift, and get better from period to period,” he said.
Herd netminder Kevin Resop made 27 saves, while Sea Dogs goaltender Sebastien Auger turned aside 20 shots.
Bedford twins Matt and Luke Green used to cheer for the Mooseheads, but they were on the ice for the Saint John Sea Dogs on Saturday, so certainly weren’t complaining about their first win back in their hometown.
“It was good to get the ‘W’,” said Luke, the first overall pick in the 2014 QMJHL draft. “I’m proud of everyone – we came back.”
More than 7,200 fans watched the Moose loose their second straight game, third of the season, giving them a 1-2-1 record, although they do get a single point for Saturday’s loss.
Rookie Herd defenceman Cavan Fitzgerald left Saturday’s game with an injury, while Jesse Lussier is still out for several weeks with a broken wrist.
Veteran defenceman Austyn Hardie and rookie defenceman Josh Fitzgerald were back on the blue line this weekend, but veteran forward Philippe Gadoury hasn’t dressed since returning from Montreal Canadiens rookie camp.
Goaltender Zachary Fucale, defenceman Matt Murphy and forward Nikolaj Ehlers are still away at their respective main NHL camps.