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Big win over Storm puts Mooseheads in prime position

Halifax Mooseheads winger Maxim Trepanier celebrates his goal in Sunday's Memorial Cup game against the Guelph Storm at the Scotiabank Centre.
Halifax Mooseheads winger Maxim Trepanier celebrates his goal in Sunday's Memorial Cup game against the Guelph Storm at the Scotiabank Centre. - Tim Krochak

One more win and the Halifax Mooseheads will go directly to the Memorial Cup championship game.
They beat the Guelph Storm 4-2 at the Scotiabank Centre on Sunday to give them a 2-0 record so far in the round robin. That guarantees them at least a spot in the semifinal but going 3-0 earns them a bye to the final.
"We're happy about our first two games but there's one more to go and now we're focusing on that," said Halifax captain Antoine Morand. "We're making sure we play the 'Moose way' as we call it. I think we did that and we need to keep going."
The Storm and Mooseheads went into the game as the tournament's two undefeated teams and knew what it would mean to stay perfect. It's such a short event and every game is so meaningful, the outlook swings wildly with every outcome.
Those stakes created an intense battle of inches but it was the Mooseheads who managed the moment better.
"There's no excuse for tonight, we've got to be better," said Guelph forward Nate Schnarr. "I think they did a good job in the defensive zone. They limited our time and space, so good for them. But we've got to find a way to create time and space for ourselves and create chances. We have success when three lines are finding success and scoring goals. That's what we have to do."
Both teams had their share of chances to take charge of the game but it was the Mooseheads who came through with more big plays at the right time. 
After Morand and Guelph's Sean Durzi traded goals in the first period, the Mooseheads turned it up a notch in the second to take control. They outshot the Storm 20-9 and got important goals from Raphael Lavoie and Maxim Trepanier to take a 3-1 lead. 
Even after Durzi cut it to 3-2 with a power-play goal 67 seconds into the third period, the Mooseheads responded with a goal from Samuel Asselin six minutes later to regain their hold. 
"It was close all game," Morand said. "There were ups and downs during the game but I think we did a good job staying composed with our emotions. They have good players and they have a lot of speed but our D were great tonight. They were skating the puck and giving the forwards good opportunities to attack."
The Storm made the QMJHL-champion Rouyn-Noranda Huskies look ordinary in a 5-2 win on Saturday but the Mooseheads stood their ground. The defence was sharp and Alexis Gravel made 38 saves to earn the first star. Anthony Popovic stopped 38 shots for Guelph.
"We knew they were a skilled team, especially that first line," Halifax defenceman Patty Kyte said. "I thought we played well defensively against them and, like always, Gravel played his game. He's hot right now and we shut them down.
"We went over a little bit of video on them and I just think we rolled all six D and we were fresh. It was a good game for us."
There were plenty of power plays for the two teams but they both struggled to make the most of them. Halifax went zero-for-six and Guelph was one-for-six. The Mooseheads had their best opportunity in the second period when back-to-back Storm penalties gave them a two-man advantage for 1:22. 
"We were right in it in the third and only down one goal so if we put one in on the power play, it's a tie game and maybe a bit of momentum on our side," said Schnarr. "Our special teams have to be better. I think our kill was good tonight but we've got to be better on the power play and make them pay for taking penalties."
The building was also even more electric than the Mooseheads' tournament opener against the Prince Albert Raiders on Friday. The 10,036 fans had the noise turned up even before the game started and took it up a decibel whenever Halifax scored.
"We like it when the crowd is like that," Morand said. "We build energy on it and I think we did a really good job controlling our emotions and making sure we use it the right way. It's only been positive so far so we hope it keeps going that way."
The Mooseheads' next game is on Wednesday against the Huskies.
"We're excited play to them, especially after what happened in the final," Kyte said. "But we're not focusing on just one game, we're just ready to play the rest of the tournament."
Alexis Sansfacon, Brock McLeod, Marcel Barinka, Denis Toner and Cole Stewart did not play for Halifax. The Huskies play the Raiders in Monday's game, followed by a meeting between the Storm and Raiders on Tuesday.
 

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