Halifax Mooseheads on the brink of elimination after triple-OT loss to Rouyn-Noranda Huskies
Halifax now in must-win situation after Rouyn-Noranda scores early in the third period of overtime.
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It took 40 extra minutes of hockey to decide who would leave Halifax with a 3-2 first-round playoff series lead.
The Rouyn-Noranda Huskies are up by a game against the Halifax Mooseheads after first-line centre Gabriel Fontaine scored 26 seconds into the third period of overtime for a 6-5 win in front of 7,904 fans at the Scotiabank Centre.
"It's probably the worst feeling ever,” said Mooseheads veteran Max Fortier.
“It was a long game. We couldn't get that W."
The Rouyn-Noranda Huskies looked like the defending QMJHL champions while erasing a 5-3 Mooseheads lead with three minutes remaining in regulation. The comeback started with a power-play goal from defenceman Jérémy Lauzon and was completed when Mathieu Boucher swatted a puck out of the air with 19 seconds remaining in regulation to force overtime.
"We played good. It was 5-3 in the third. I think against a team like that we need to learn how to close the game,” said Fortier who had a hat trick and had his name trending on Twitter in Canada after two first-period goals.
“But those things happen, it's a good team. We battled hard.”
The comeback capped a third period that started timid on both sides but turned into a goal-scoring fest. Joel Bishop scored his first playoff goal on the power play after having coming close multiple times all series. Fortier’s third goal triggered a shower of hats and gave the Herd a two-goal lead that quickly vanished.
The game lasted 100 minutes and 26 seconds, the 10th-longest game in QMJHL history and second longest in Mooseheads franchise history.
"We're just supposed to play 60 minutes, so it's not easy to play games like that. At the end, it's fun. We play hockey because we like it. We have to enjoy it."
Swiss forward Hischier scored his third goal of the series and assisted on two of Fortier’s goals to give him the Halifax playoff-scoring lead with six points.
Rouyn-Noranda forward and Chicago Blackhawks prospect Alexandre Fortin had a pair of goals in regulation and assisted on the overtime goal.
Alex Gravel was busy in nets again with Rouyn-Noranda firing 55 shots on the rookie goalie. He’s faced over 40 shots in four of the five games.
After coming in late in relief in Game 4, Samuel Harvey made his second start of the series. He finished the night with 38 saves and picked up his first win of the series.
Over-age forward Jake Coughler left the game in the third period with an injury and did not return.
Halifax heads on the road for Game 6 in Rouyn-Noranda on Monday at 8 p.m. If necessary, Game 7 will also be in Rouyn-Noranda on Tuesday at 8 p.m.