Vladimir Kuznetsov had a career night in front of 2,000 loud and rowdy fans at the K.C. Irving Regional Centre Friday night, scoring four goals – including a natural hat trick – while Anthony Dumont-Bouchard posted his fourth shutout of the season as the Titan eviscerated the Halifax Mooseheads by a score of nine to nothing.
Zachary Malatesta opened the scoring at the seven-minute mark of the first period, beating Mooseheads starter Alexis Gravel for his ninth of the season. Assists on the goal went to Jeffrey Viel and Rodrigo Abols. Antoine Morand would follow that up at the mid-way point of period number one by slicing through the Halifax defence to net his 21st of the season off a pass by Félix Boivin on the power play. Seconds after going short-handed, Jeffrey Viel would give the Titan a three-goal lead, scoring his 33rd of the season off a great play by Samuel L’Italien to intercept the puck and feed Viel for the goal. Jordan Maher made it 4-0 Titan with 3:33 remaining in the opening period, scoring his 17th of the season with the assists going to Morand and Boivin.
Vladimir Kuznetsov would then initiate the natural hat trick by scoring the Titan’s next three goals. The first came at the end of the first period as he finished off a one-timer beating Gravel for the fifth time in the period for his 19th of the season from Abols and Daniil Miromanov. The goal would send the Titan into the intermission leading by five and chase Gravel from the game, giving call-up Cole McLaren his first taste of QMJHL action. Kuznetsov would pick up right where he left off in the second period, scoring both his 20th and 21st on the year 11 seconds apart. His second goal saw Morand and Christophe Boivin pick up the assists while the hat trick goal was assisted by both Christophe and Félix Boivin, giving the Titan a 7-0 lead after 40 minutes of play.
The third period saw the Titan continue to pile on the goals as Abols would notch his 14th of the season while crashing into the boards, putting home the rebound off the initial shot by Viel just 58 seconds into . Kuznetsov would finish off the Titan’s scoring drive with his fourth of the game and 22nd of the season 90 seconds later to make it 9-0.
Dumont-Bouchard stopped all 21 shots to pick up his 16th victory of the season in addition to his fourth shutout on the year. For the Mooseheads, Gravel lasted just 17:13, allowing five goals on 15 shots before being replaced by McLaren – making his QMJHL debut, who allowed four goals on 23 shots in relief. The loss, credited to Gravel, drops his record to 14-19 on the year.
With his first period goal, Titan captain Jeffrey Viel claimed sole possession of 10th all-time in goals scored by an Acadie-Bathurst Titan player with 74.
Recording two assists, Titan forward Christophe Boivin moves one point away from the prestigious 200-point mark, and also ties Sébastien Trudeau for ninth all-time in assists by a Titan player with 107.
Titan defenceman Adam Holwell played in his 250th career QMJHL game Friday night. The product of Newfoundland & Labrador registered a plus-two rating with three hits. Since joining the Titan on December 17th, he has certainly proven to be a token commodity in his plus-20 rating.
Vladimir Kuznetsov enjoyed a career night scoring four goals. In his QMJHL career, it is the fourth time he has recorded four points in a game, but the first time he has recorded four goals. He is the third different Titan to score a hat trick this season, and the only player other than Jeffrey Viel to record a natural hat trick.
#HOCKEYWEEKEND CONTINUES SATURDAY
The annual #HockeyWeekend event continues Saturday night when the Acadie-Bathurst Titan hosts their eternal provincial rival, the Moncton Wildcats. The Wildcats are looking for revenge after the Titan came from behind to take a four-to-three victory earlier this week. Children wearing their minor hockey or ringette jerseys will be able to get into the game for free, as long as they are accompanied by a parent. The Chase the Ace jackpot is estimated at $33,000 after the two of diamonds was drawn Friday night. Tickets are available at the arena box office, by phone at 549-3200 (local) or 1-877-549-3200 (toll free) or online at admission.com