The Saint John Sea Dogs got an early preview Friday as to what they could face in the first round of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League playoffs.
Darcy Ashley scored the eventual winner and added an assist as the Halifax Mooseheads defeated the visiting Sea Dogs 3-1.
Halifax, which clinched top spot in the QMJHL standings on Feb. 24th and is the Canadian Hockey League's number-1 ranked team, wrapped up its season series with Saint John, going 6-0-1 and outscoring them 35-13 in the process. The Mooseheads also improved to 30-2-1 at the Halifax Metro Centre.
Ashley's performance was his fourth multi-point game in a row and extended his point streak to 15 games. Since being held off the score sheet on Feb. 6th, in a 5-4 win against the Rimouski Oceanic, the 19-year-old has produced 11 goals and 14 assists and now has 26 goals and 75 points, both career highs.
Dominic Beauchemin and Nathan MacKinnon also scored for the Mooseheads (57-6-4), who are 15-0-1 in their last 16 contests, while Jonathan Drouin set up Ashley's winning goal.
Drouin's assist gives him 105 points on the season and a tie with P.E.I. Rocket forward Ben Duffy for the QMJHL scoring lead. While Duffy has produced his point total in 67 games, Drouin has hit his mark in only 48 games played.
Andreas Tsogkas scored the lone goal for the Sea Dogs (23-43-1), who are winless in three outings.
Halifax backup goaltender Chris Clarke made 22 saves for the win as Saint John starter Sebastien Auger turned away 24-of-27 shots in defeat.
The Mooseheads went 1 for 8 on the power play while the Sea Dogs failed to score on five chances with the man advantage.
Halifax and Saint John will both wrap up its regular seasons on Sunday. Drouin will be pushing for the Jean Beliveau Trophy as the Mooseheads host the Cape Breton Screaming Eagles while the Sea Dogs will visit P.E.I. to play Duffy and the Rocket.
The Sea Dogs have to win their final game and hope that the Sherbrooke Phoenix lose in regulation against the host Val-d'Or Foreurs on Saturday to avoid the Mooseheads in a first-round matchup.
A date for first-round action has yet to be determined.
Elsewhere in the QMJHL, it was P.E.I. 3, Moncton 2; Acadie-Bathurst 7, Cape Breton 5; Quebec 3, Gatineau 2 (SO); Baie-Comeau 4, Victoriaville 3 (SO); Drummondville 3, Chicoutimi 0; Rouyn-Noranda 5, Sherbrooke 4 (SO); Rimouski 9, Shawinigan 4 and Blainville-Boisbriand 3, Val-d'Or 1.
At Halifax, Beauchemin scored his 14th goal of the season at 16:04 of the first period to put the Mooseheads up 1-0.
Ashley made it 2-0 on the power play 5:22 into the second and MacKinnon added his 31st of the year 1:32 into the third to give Halifax a commanding three-goal lead.
With less than seven minutes remaining in regulation, Tsogkas scored his third goal of the season, and first shorthanded, to breakup Clarke's second shutout bid of the season.
Rocket 3 Wildcats 2
At Charlottetown, Alex Pepin had two goals and Ben Duffy scored his 38th goal of the campaign as the Rocket (40-23-4) downed Moncton (41-23-3) for their fifth win in a row.
Titan 7 Screaming Eagles 5
At Bathurst, N.B., Zach O'Brien scored twice and added an assist and Raphael Lafontaine also had two goals as the Titan (26-34-7) snapped their three-game slide by defeating Cape Breton (14-45-8).
Remparts 3 Olympiques 2 (SO)
At Quebec City, Brent Turnbull's power-play goal at 11:23 of the third period forced extra time and Frederic Bergeron scored the winner in the seventh round of the shootout as the Remparts (41-21-5) slipped past Gatineau (28-34-5) for their fifth straight victory.
Drakkar 4 Tigres 3 (SO)
At Baie-Comeau, Que., Petr Straka and Valentin Zykov both scored in regulation and the shootout as the Drakkar (43-19-5) edged Victoriaville (32-26-9) to take over first place in the East Division.
Voltigeurs 3 Sagueneens 0
At Chicoutimi, Que., Louis-Philip Guindon stopped all 23 shots he faced and Olivier Caouette had a goal and an assist as Drummondville (38-25-4) picked up its third straight win by blanking the Sagueneens (29-31-7).
Huskies 5 Phoenix 4 (SO)
At Rouyn-Noranda, Que., Maxime St-Cyr scored twice in regulation and again in the shootout as the Huskies (39-24-4) erased a 4-2 third-period deficit to defeat Sherbrooke (20-38-9), who are winless in four outings.
Oceanic 9 Cataractes 4
At Shawinigan, Que., eight of Rimouski's players recorded a multi-point game including Michael Joly, who had a goal and two assists, as the Oceanic (41-17-9) downed the Cataractes (15-45-7).
Armada 3 Foreurs 1
At Val-d'Or, Que., Christopher Clapperton had a goal and an assist and Etienne Marcoux stopped 33-of-34 shots as Blainville-Boisbriand (41-18-8) downed the Foreurs (35-26-6), who have dropped five games in a row.