Moose win wild one

WILLY PALOV -- Halifax Herald

, Last Updated: 10:18 AM ET

It was a wild afternoon at the Metro Centre on Sunday.

The Halifax Mooseheads beat the Quebec Remparts 6-2 in a tense, end-to-end game that featured a crazy brawl at 6:40 of the second period.

The melee started when Remparts enforcer Brandon Tidball left the Quebec bench to jump Halifax defenceman Jeff MacAulay, who had come to the aid of Petr Vrana during a centre-ice scrum.

Soon after Tidball jumped MacAulay, Halifax forward Justin Saulnier left his bench and Mooseheads enforcer Kevin Cormier stormed out of the penalty box to go after Tidball. Cormier was already serving a double minor for dropping his gloves and pounding on Tidball just a minute earlier. The two tough guys had also fought in the first period and had a pre-game exchange near centre ice that nearly boiled over when Tidball tried to break Cormier's stick with his skate.

It was no surprise they were the main attractions in the brawl, but it was shocking to see the fighting get as out of hand as it did.

"Cormier was running for me the whole game," said Tidball, who had a bag of ice strapped to each of his hands after the game. "I knew it was coming for the past two days. Everyone told me to get ready. He told some guys on our team that he knows that he's coming for me. I thought, 'OK whatever, it's nothing special coming. He's just another fighter on a team.' I don't really look at him as anything special, he's just another guy. Then I saw he wrote my name on his stick and that's what (set) me off. It kind of got me going."

Saulnier, who gave up two inches and 16 pounds to Tidball in their fight, held his own after making his way through the scrum to get to the Remparts forward. Saulnier had a large welt on his forehead after the game and called Tidball's actions "gutless."

"I knew I was going to get tangled up with him, but it didn't matter to me," Saulnier said of his split-second decision to leave the bench. "Like I've said before, I don't ask their age or anything, if they're messing with a teammate there's going to be consequences.

"That's a gutless thing he did to MacAulay so I thought I'd get out there and throw some punches for him."

When told of Saulnier's comments, Tidball responded with a bitter verbal assault of his own.

"Gutless? They're just gutless . . . themselves. That's all they are," said Tidball. "Cormier doesn't have the respect yet to be a fighter in this league so he has to come up and jump me whenever he wants? He can't do whatever he wants. He'll get it soon."

As for the hockey, Rane Carnegie electrified the crowd with a hat trick, including a spectacular individual effort in the middle of the second period that drew a standing ovation. He later brought the 7,691 fans to their feet twice more with back-to-back goals in the third period, followed by some lighthearted celebrations.

"I was just trying to have some fun out there," said Carnegie, who skated to centre ice after his second goal and did a few gyrating dance moves on the Mooseheads logo. "We were really relaxed before the game and we knew what we had to do.

"We had a talk with the boys and we want to have this as a turnaround for the rest of the season. We just want to be relaxed and loose and focused, not get too high or too low. Hopefully the bounces will start coming our way now like they did today."

David Brine, Daniel Sparre and Alexandre Picard also scored for Halifax. Josh Hennessy and Alexander Radulov had the goals for Quebec.

The six-goal outburst comes at a perfect time for the Mooseheads, who had lost four of their previous five games and have struggled to find the back of the net for most of the season.

Tidball will receive a minimum five-game suspension for leaving the bench and Quebec head coach Eric Lavigne will be suspended two games for failing to control his player. Saulnier's suspension is subject to the discretion of QMJHL disciplinarian Maurice Filion while Cormier is likely to receive at least the automatic five-game suspension for leaving the penalty box. It's possible that Cormier's ruling could be subject to some debate given that he was reacting to what Tidball did.

Both teams will also receive automatic fines and there's a chance Halifax head coach Shawn MacKenzie will be suspended.


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