It's always a good sign early in the season when teams find ways to win.
For the second straight night, the Halifax Mooseheads turned around a game and came out on the right end. They rallied to beat the Moncton Wildcats 4-2 at the Avenir Centre in Moncton on Friday, 24 hours after coming from behind to defeat the Saint John Sea Dogs 6-5 at home.
"That was a huge character win for us," said Halifax head coach J.J. Daigneault. "We didn't know what to expect from these guys but they're a good, skilled hockey club. We gave up two power-play goals to them early in the game and it didn't get better from there. They had eight power plays to our one so that's one area of the game we need to improve. We don't want to spend 16 minutes in the penalty box.
"But it was a really good win. ... We played with good emotion in the second and third period."
After falling behind 2-0 in the opening 12 minutes, the Mooseheads squared the game by the first intermission and then went ahead early in the third period. It was a tough push from there to run out the clock, especially with a series of penalties against them in the final five minutes.
The Mooseheads were on the kill for 4:26 straight, including a 1:35 two-man advantage. Raphael Lavoie finally relieved all the pressure when he scored shorthanded into an empty net with 62 seconds left.
"Even at the end when we were down five-on-three our guys did a good job. They didn't get many good chances to score," Daigneault said. "As a matter of fact, I thought we were better five-on-three than five-on-four. But when you spend a lot of time killing penalties like that it's taxing for the skill players and it also means there are a lot of other players that don't get to see the ice. We're going to get some penalties but eight is a bit too much."
Lavoie finished the night with two goals and an assist and linemates BO Groulx and Maxim Trepanier also scored. Jacob Hudson and Elliott Desnoyers had the Moncton goals.
Olivier Rodrigue made 18 saves for Moncton and Cole McLaren stopped 46 shots for Halifax to earn first star.
"He was unbelievable," Daigneault said. "He's made the big saves for us all year. I don't think he was too happy with his game yesterday but he bounced back really well. Obviously when you're down 16 minutes like that, the shot count really gets up there but he really lived up to the expectations."
The Mooseheads' next game is at home on Sunday against the Val-d'Or Foreurs, followed by a road game against the Charlottetown Islanders on Monday.
Notes: Alexis Gravel (foot), Cole Foston (knee), Jared McIsaac (knee), Said Abi-Faycal (healthy scratch) and Lucas Robinson (healthy scratch) did not play for Halifax. ... Import defenceman Axel Andersson recorded two assists in his Wildcats debut. The 2018 NHL second-round draft pick was reassigned by the Boston Bruins earlier this week.