A battered Mooseheads squad is set to take on the Acadie-Bathurst Titan tonight for the second time in three nights.
The 2019 Memorial Cup hosts topped the defending Memorial Cup champs 4-1 on Wednesday evening at the K.C. Irving Regional Centre.
A re-building Titan team, rife with new additions thanks to a busy QMJHL trade period, attacked sparingly and hung back for much of the game, frustrating the Mooseheads at times.
Joel Bishop was finally able to break the stalemate with under nine minutes to play in the second period, taking a great feed from Benoit-Olivier "Bo" Groulx, and ripping his fifth of the season past Bathurst netminder Tyriq Outen from the right circle.
Groulx, Keith Getson, and Xavier Parent also scored for the Mooseheads while rookie Cole McLaren turned aside 16 of the 17 shots he faced to pick up his ninth win of the season.
The Mooseheads were without three of their top six defencemen in the victory. Jared McIsaac and Jake Ryczek were injured in Sunday's 5-4 loss to the league-leading Rouyn-Noranda Huskies and veteran Jocktan Chainey has not played since Dec. 28.
McIsaac is questionable for tonight's re-match with the Titan while Ryczek and Chainey aren't expected back in the line-up this weekend.
Up front, the team is still missing key pieces in Ostap Safin (lower body injury, out indefinitely) and trade period acquisition Maxim Trepanier (upper body injury, day-to-day).
The good news for the Mooseheads? With much of their road travel out of the way, they are going to lots of time to rest and recover.
Wednesday's game marked the Mooseheads' final trip of the regular season to the K.C. Irving Regional Centre, a place where Titan have struggled with just one win in 23 games.
Thirteen of the Halifax's next 17 games will be played at home at the Scotiabank Centre.
And the road schedule? It's not too bad either.
Two games in Moncton, one in Cape Breton, and one in Saint John.
With just one three-game road trip to Quebec left on the schedule, the Mooseheads are going to have lots of opportunities to improve their record at home.
MOOSEHEADS (30-10-2-1) vs ACADIE-BATHURST TITAN (7-34-1-1), Friday at 7 p.m. on NEWS 95.7
It's Pink in the Rink Night at the Scotiabank Centre as the Mooseheads take on the Titan.
Both teams have played 43 games this season but the Memorial Cup hosts are a whopping 47 points up on the Q's worst team.
The Mooseheads enter tonight's game with a perfect 6-0 record against the Titan this year.
Halifax dominated Bathurst in the first four meetings of the season between the two clubs, shutting them out three times and outscoring them 28-2.
But the Moose were lucky to escape the game on Jan. 8 in Bathurst with a 5-4 win and Wednesday's match was scoreless midway through the second period.
Long-time Q coach Mario Durocher took over behind the Titan bench back in mid-November following 8-2 and 9-0 losses to the Mooseheads just days apart. His team has tightened up and seems to be buying-in to his defensive brand of hockey.
While their record has been dreadful at home, the Titan have been a better club on the road at 6-14 on the season.
Mathieu Desgagnés has been a welcome addition to the Bathurst lineup. In a season where goals have been hard to come by, the recent trade acquisition from Chicoutimi has six goals and three assists in 10 games with Bathurst including the team's lone goal against Halifax on Wendesday.
MOOSEHEADS (30-10-2-1) vs MONCTON WILDCATS (26-14-3-2), Friday at 7 p.m. on NEWS 95.7
The Mooseheads will take on the Wildcats tomorrow at 7 p.m. at the Scotiabank Centre.
The clubs haven't met since Halifax shut out Moncton 2-0 on Dec. 14.
Groulx and Samuel Asselin scored for Halifax while Alex Gravel was perfect, turning aside 33 pucks in the win.
The Mooseheads are 3-0-1 on the season against the Wildcats who ho are in Sydney tonight to take on the Screaming Eagles.
Moncton topped Cape Breton 4-3 on Wednesday night on home ice at the Avenir Centre.
It was the season debut for Moncton head coach John Torchetti who took over as the bench boss on Tuesday following the firing of Darren Rumble.
Torchetti, who coached Moncton during the 2006-07 campaign, has a wealth of experience at the NHL level as the head coach of the Minnesota Wild, Los Angeles Kings, and the Florida Panthers, and as an assistant with Tampa Bay, Chicago, Atlanta, and Detroit.
You can listen to Dartmouth Dodge Mooseheads Hockey live at 7 p.m. on NEWS 95.7.
Be sure to join us for the Burrito Jax Pre-Game Show at 6:30 p.m. and stick around after the game for the East Side Mario's Post-Game Show.