CHARLOTTETOWN, P.E.I. – Raphael Lavoie scored 2:35 in overtime to give the Halifax Mooseheads a 3-2 win over the Charlottetown Islanders Friday at the Eastlink Centre.
The Islanders were unable to get the puck out near their blue-line, giving Lavoie a two-on-one opportunity. He faked the pass and beat Matthew Welsh for his 18th of the season as the Mooseheads completed the two-game sweep of this week’s Quebec Major Junior Hockey League contests.
“If the puck gets out, it’s a two-on-one for us the other way,” Islanders head coach Jim Hulton said. “The Lavoie kid is on fire right now. He made a great play.”
Lavoie opened the scoring 2:40 into the third in front of a crowd of 2,956.
Cam Askew tied it with 4:32 left, and Keith Getson gave the home side its first lead with 2:10 left.
“I was proud of the fact we kept pushing,” Hulton said. “We gave up the goal early in the third and we kept pushing. There was still the belief on the bench, which there has been all season.”
But the Mooseheads tied it with their net empty and on a power play as defenceman Jake Ryczek converted a cross-ice pass for his second since joining the team during the Christmas break.
The calendar showed a mid-January game, but the atmosphere inside the Eastlink Centre had the feel of a playoff contest with nervous excitement filling the air and scoring plays going both ways.
“It was two heavyweights going at it,” Hulton said. “It’s refreshing from our end to know that we can go punch-for-punch with them.”
The Islanders lost 6-3 in Halifax on Thursday in a game where Charlottetown came out flat, battled back and had a chance to take the lead before Halifax scored.
“I was just proud of the fact the guys bounced back (Friday) and proved to themselves, I think most importantly, that we can play with this team,” Hulton said.
Otto Somppi had two assists for the Herd while singles went to Arnaud Durandeau, Jocktan Chainey and Ryczek.
Getson, Pascal Aquin, Daniel Hardie and Hunter Drew had helpers for the Isles.
Former Islanders goalie Blade Mann-Dixon made 41 saves for the win while Matthew Welsh stopped 25 shots in the loss.
Halifax improved to a league-best 28-10-4-1 while Charlottetown falls to 25-13-3-0.
The Mooseheads Filip Zadina, who came into Friday’s play as the league’s second leading scorer, did not play in Charlottetown. It was called a maintenance day as he is just getting back from the world junior championship in Buffalo, N.Y.
The Islanders travel to Moncton on Sunday to play the Wildcats at 3 p.m. It will be the team’s fifth game in seven days, making today’s off day important to rest and recover emotionally and physically.
Hulton said Friday was a great experience for his hockey club that will serve them well in the second half of the season.
“This team is going to be a tough out in the playoffs because they don't quit and they play a very consistent brand,” he said. “These are great lessons for us.”