Comeback for the ages: Mooseheads score five unanswered goals to beat Foreurs in OT

Geordon Omand for Metro Halifax
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VAL-D'OR, QUE. - It just goes to show: it’s never over till it’s over.

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 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 overtime goal — his first of the playoffs — gave the visiting Mooseheads the much-needed win.

“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 outside the Mooseheads dressing room.

But for most of the contest a Halifax win seemed the unlikeliest of possibilities.

The 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.

The three goals led to Mooseheads star netminder Zach Fucale being pulled for a second-straight game, in favour of back-up Kevin Darveau.

After the team swapped goals, Anthony Mantha netted his third of the game early in the second and it looked like the game was in the bag for Val-d’Or.

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, making no mistake from about 15 feet in front of the Foreurs net.

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 to complete the comeback.

“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 face off again in Val-d’Or for Game 4 Wednesday night at 8:30 p.m. The game is being carried live on Eastlink TV.

Organizations: Centre Air Creebec

Geographic location: Val, OT

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