Wildcats down Mooseheads in Game 3


Ivan Barbashev scored the game-winning goal in the third period lifting the Moncton Wildcats to a much-needed 4-3 victory over the Halifax Mooseheads in Game 3 of their best-of-seven series.

The Wildcats scored three consecutive power play goals in Game 3 after going a combined 0-for-9 with the man advantage in the first two games of the series.

Jacob Sweeney scored an even strength goal in the opening minute of the first period to put the visiting team on the board. The Québec City, Que. native fired a seeing-eye shot by Mooseheads goaltender Eric Brassard to give the Wildcats an early 1-0 lead.

Five minutes later, Barbashev scored his first of two in the game on the power play. The Russian import took a backdoor pass from Dominic Talbot-Tassi before firing the puck into a near empty net giving Moncton a two-goal lead before the first media timeout. Sweeney drew the secondary assist giving him his second multipoint game of the playoffs.

Midway through the first period, Danny Moynihan cut the Wildcats lead in half with his seventh power play goal of the postseason. The New Englander leads all QMJHL players in power play goals in the playoffs. In the regular season, Moynihan tallied 13 power play goals in 62 games played. The American forward has more than half of his regular season total in power play goals in just 10 games.

Barbashev struck again on the power play in the closing minutes of the opening period. The St. Louis Blues prospect leads the second-seed Wildcats with seven goals in the playoffs.

Nikolaj Ehlers scored the lone goal of the second period on the power play. The Mooseheads superstar whipped a shot by a sprawling Alex Dubeau to get the host team within one. Ehlers, 19, has an incredible 25 points in 10 games this postseason.

The Danish import scored to even the score early in the third. Ehlers was heroic in the Mooseheads Game 7 win over the Shawinigan Cataractes in the opening round of the playoffs. After being assessed a minor penalty with under five minutes to go in regulation, Ehlers stormed out of the penalty box and set up the game-tying goal. In the overtime period, Ehlers beat Cataractes goaltender Marvin Cüpper to clinch the series.

Talbot-Tassi rounded out the Wildcats scoring with the game-winning goal on the power play.

Eric Brassard stopped 18-of-22 Wildcats shots in net for the Mooseheads while Alex Dubeau turned aside 26 Halifax tries tending the goal for Moncton.

Philippe Gadoury and Samuel Hunter missed Game 3 with upper-body injuries. Samuel Leblanc – who missed the opening two games of the series – returned to the Mooseheads lineup for Game 3.

The series continues on Wednesday night when the Mooseheads host the Wildcats for Game 4 at Scotiabank Centre. Puck drop is slated for 7 p.m.

Photo: Shawn Davidson, TQN