Cataractes spoil Forum homecoming in overtime

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Dennis Yan played the role of hero in the Shawinigan Cataractes 3-2 overtime defeat of the Halifax Mooseheads at the Halifax Forum in Game 2 of their best-of-seven series.

With the win, the Cataractes take a 2-1 series lead over the Mooseheads.

Due to the 2015 Men’s World Curling Championship currently taking place at Scotiabank Centre, the Mooseheads returned to the 88-year-old Halifax Forum for the first time since the 2007 QMJHL President’s Cup Playoffs.

The atmosphere harkened back to the days of the Nova Scotia Voyageurs and, further back, the Halifax Wolverines. Over 4,400 fans packed the Forum for the first of three games to be held in Halifax, N.S. in the opening round of the playoffs.

The Mooseheads got off to a terrific start asserting themselves with physical shifts from Brandon Vuic, Kelly Bent and Samuel Leblanc. Halifax aimed to use the hallowed Forum to their advantage and further intimidate a young Cataractes team.

Tuesday night’s game saw it’s first goal in the later stages of the opening period when Timo Meier scored his first of the playoffs on the power play.

Early in the second period, the Mooseheads struck again with the man advantage. Danny Moynihan collected his third goal in as many games giving Halifax a two-goal edge.

Mooseheads leading scorer Nikolaj Ehlers drew assists on both goals. Ehlers, 18, has seven assists through Games 1, 2 and 3.

The home side was sparked early in the second period by resident tough guy Vuic. In the opening moments of the period, the second-year Mooseheads coaxed Dylan Labbé into a fight. After some heated words between the two combatants in the penalty box, Vuic and Labbé were assessed an additional 10 penalty minutes for their conduct. Vuic was able to keep the Cataractes top defenceman off the ice for a total of 15 minutes.

Despite having the momentum, a few defensive errors gave a the visiting squad new life.

Local Nicholas Welsh solved Eric Brassard midway through the second period with a seeing-eye shot from the blueline. Moments later, Yan tied the game with his first of the postseason.

The two teams traded chances in the final period of regulation but were unable to beat Brassard and Cataractes netminder Marvin Cüpper.

Brassard and Cüpper were tremendous in goal for their respective teams. Brassard was named the game’s third star stopping 35 Cataractes tries. Cüpper captured second-star honours with 41 saves on 43 shots.

Game 3 remained undecided after 60 minutes and needed overtime. Both clubs came within inches of ending the contest on several occasions. Halfway through the extra period, the Cataractes made good on an odd man rush with Christophe Lalonde feeding Yan for the game-winning goal.

Lalonde, a former captain of the Moncton Wildcats, finished the game with three assists while his linemate Yan was named the game’s first star with the game-tying and overtime-winning goals.

The two clubs will reacquaint themselves on Wednesday night with Game 4 slated for 7 p.m. ADT at the Halifax Forum.

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