Halifax Mooseheads take down Val-d’Or Foreurs 5-4 to even QMJHL series

Geordon Omand for Metro Halifax
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VAL D'OR, QUE. - With another highly-charged road win Wednesday night against the Val-d’Or Foreurs, the Mooseheads are headed home to Halifax with momentum on their side.

The Halifax Mooseheads tie up the semi-final series 2-2 against the Val-d'Or Foreurs after an exciting 5-4 victory.

Jonathan Drouin had a hand in every Mooseheads marker as Halifax hung on for a 5-4 win on Wednesday night to even the best-of-seven QMJHL semifinal series 2-2.

Game 5 goes Saturday at the Metro Centre at 7 p.m.

The Mooseheads — who outshoot the Foreurs 38-35 — had a far better start Wednesday than their previous two games, but the Foreurs didn’t go away quietly. Trailing 5-3, the hosts made it a one-goal game with 1:29 left in regulation time and then had the 2,764-strong crowd on its feet right up until the final buzzer sounded as they frantically pressed for the equalizer.

Drouin was on fire the entire game, all but dancing around the Val-d’Or defencemen and notching two goals and three assists, including what proved to be the game-winner on a beautiful breakaway goal with under seven minutes remaining.

With last night’s contest, the 19-year-old Tampa Bay prospect moves into a tie with hockey legend Mario Lemieux for second place in all-time QMJHL playoff scoring. Both now sit at 98 career points.

“We had to step up our game at the beginning and getting the first goal on the power play was huge,” said Drouin, who leads the QMJHL in post-season scoring with 37 points in 13 games.

“It’s best out of three now and that’s what we wanted when we came here.”

Coming strong out of the gate, Mooseheads forward Andrew Ryan opened the scoring within the first five minutes of play.

Val-d’Or responded with two-straight goals, but Halifax caught a lucky break late in the first when an attempt by the Foreurs to clear the puck bounced off Philippe Gadoury’s skate and into the net.

Drouin, Nikolaj Ehlers and Gadoury, who also had two assists, rounded out the scoring for the Mooseheads.

“Both teams showed that we can win on the road — it’s going to come down to who wants it, who’s going to work hard,” said Foreurs blueliner Randy Gazzola, who collected three assists Wednesday night.

“We’re going to give it everything we’ve got and see what happens.”

In an unexpected turn, backup goalie Kevin Darveau got the start in net for Wednesday’s game, replacing the Mooseheads’ star netminder Zachary Fucale.

Fucale was pulled by the midway point of the first frame in Games 2 and 3 of the series after he surrendered a triplet of goals in both contests.

Mooseheads coach Dominique Ducharme did not confirm Wednesday’s starting goalie, but Fucale reported later in the day that he would have the start.

Darveau played well in net for Halifax, finishing with 31 saves.

Organizations: Metro Centre

Geographic location: Val, Tampa Bay

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