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Mooseheads vs. Olympiques: Game 1 Live Blog

The game has great pace from the opening faceoff, which comesas a bit of a surprise given the lengthy weeklong layoff for both teams.

FIRST PERIOD

* The game has great pace from the opening faceoff, which comes
as a bit of a surprise given the lengthy weeklong layoff for both teams.

* Gatineau’s top two lines
have great speed, and Halifax
is having trouble with it at times. Gabriel O’Connor and Graham Bona get in
trouble on one shift, and Bona ends up going to the box as the Mooseheads
scramble defensively. This could become a problem in Gatineau, when the Olympiques have the last
change.

* Both penalty-killing units are doing good work, with
neither power play generating much in the way of scoring chances on two
opportunities apiece.

* Mooseheads goaltender Mark Yetman was called out by
Olympiques head coach Benoit Groulx before the series as being Halifax’s “weakness,” but he was the reason the game was tied after 20 minutes. He made a handful of outstanding saves, including one diving stop on a wraparound chance to keep things scoreless.

SECOND PERIOD

* Logan MacMillan had two great chances in the opening seven
minutes and Brad Marchand had another, but the Herd couldn’t cocnvert.

* GOAL GAT (1-0 Gat) Claude Giroux capitalizes on a
neutral-zone turnover at 8:28. He skates into the offensive zone on the right
wing and makes a great feed to a driving Paul Byron, who holds on and beats
Yetman in tight for his ninth of the playoffs. Byron has been Gatineau’s most dangerous offensive player so
far.

* Jean-Philip Chabot hit a post for the Olympiques with five
minute to go.

* Halifax’s
Ryan Hillier appeared to get injured with about four minutes remaining.

* Jakub Voracek draws a penalty on Hubert Labrie on a great
rush with 3:38 to go. He has looked much better in Game 1 than he did in the
quarter-finals, during which he struggled with a viral infection. He is skating
well and generating chances with his speed and power off the rush, which he
wasn’t doing before.

* GOAL HFX (1-1) Voracek scores on the power play
he earned, firing a point shot through traffic and past Ryan Mior with two
minutes left to tie things up. Bryce Swan was the key to the play, getting the
puck behind the net and relaying it to the point, then working hard to get in
front of Mior for a screen.

THIRD PERIOD

* Ryan Hillier clearly has some kind of leg injury, but he’s
playing through it.

* Andrew White almost had an open net when Ryan Mior left
the Gatineau cage to play the puck, but the angle was too sharp for him to put it home.

* Hubert Labrie put a nice hit on Jakub Voracek about three
minutes in.

* The Claude Giroux-Paul Byron combo is giving Halifax fits, and it’s going to be interesting to watch
how the Mooseheads defend them in Gatineau.

* The Mooseheads killed a huge penalty with about 12 minutes
left in the third, and earned a huge cheer from the crowd for their efforts.
Logan MacMillan was particularly effective, and he’s been one of the best
players on the ice.

* Yetman stopped Patrik Prokop between the hashmarks in the
final five minutes, a real game-saver for the Mooseheads. He’s been solid all
night.

* Shots after regulation are 27-23 for the Olympiques.
Claude Giroux and Paul Byron are putting on a clinic, generating scoring
chances on every shift. Credit the defence pairing of Andrew Bodnarchuk and
Guillaume Monast for holding the duo to just a goal, as well as Mark Yetman for
backing them up with timely stops. Jakub Voracek and Logan MacMillan have been
the Mooseheads’ top forwards.

OVERTIME

* The Mooseheads have shortened their bench, as Daniel Smith
and David Bouchard saw few shifts --- if any --- in the third period. Head
coach Cam Russell is rotating the lines and double-shifting Voracek and
Marchand, including an effective combination of Yuri Cheremetiev with Voracek
and Tomas Knotek. Ryan Hillier may not get a shift in overtime as he has what
appears to be a leg injury.



* The Mooseheads have assembled something of a checking line
of Colby Pridham, Logan MacMillan and Andrew White --- basically, their three
best defensive forwards --- to run against Gatineau’s Claude Giroux-Paul Byron-Matthew Pistilli
line.

* Yetman made another game-save on Paul Byron, who had a
point-blank chance between the hashmarks off a Halifax turnover 2:30 in.

* A metal stanchion continues to get knocked loose in Gatineau’s zone, and it’s
delayed play five times tonight. The Metro Centre staff isn’t doing much to fix
it --- they didn’t even come out to examine it between periods --- and you
can’t help but wonder if it’s going to cost somebody a scoring chance tonight.

* Darryl Smith burned Ben MacAskill wide and got in alone on
Yetman about five and a half minutes in, but put it wide of the net. Gatineau is coming on
strong.

* The Mooseheads get a few chances about eight minutes in,
but Mior stops them.

* GOAL GAT (2-1 Gat) Paul Byron’s second goal of
the game is the winner at 14:15 of the first overtime. Byron was skating into
the offensive zone on a rush and took advantage when Justin Pender stumbled at
his own blue line. Byron got in all alone and deked to his backhand, then
roofed it over Yetman’s glove.

* Byron and Giroux take the first and second stars, while
Yetman takes No. 3. Final shots were 36-33 for Gatineau. Game 2 is Sunday at 7 p.m. at the
Metro Centre.