Jonathan Drouin is proving he can handle an increased workload with Nathan MacKinnon out of the lineup.
With MacKinnon sidelined for the fourth straight game with a lower-body injury, Drouin scored once and set up two more as the Halifax Mooseheads defeated the host P.E.I. Rocket 5-2 on Sunday in Quebec Major Junior Hockey League action.
The 18-year-old extended his point streak to a league-best 20 games and he has 19 goals and 23 assists in the process. In total, Drouin has 34 goals and 82 points in only 39 games, which is good for fourth in QMJHL scoring. He is just five points behind league-leader Peter Trainor of the Rimouski Oceanic, despite playing 18 fewer contests, and his three-point performance was the 11th time this season he has picked up at least three points in a game.
Stephen MacAulay and Martin Frk had a goal and an assist each for the Mooseheads (46-6-3), who have won all four games they’ve played without MacKinnon, while Brent Andrews and Brennan Bailey added a goal apiece.
Since being acquired from the Saint John Sea Dogs in early January, MacAulay has recorded 10 goals and 18 points in 17 games with Halifax.
Josh Currie had a goal and an assist for the Rocket (32-22-2), who lost for the first time in three contests, Matej Beran had the other.
Currie now has 41 goals and 87 points in 56 games, which is good for second in QMJHL scoring.
Halifax goaltender Zachary Fucale made 32 saves to improve to 37-5-1 on the season as P.E.I.’s Maxime Lagace allowed five goals on 19 shots before getting pulled midway through the second period. Antoine Bibeau replaced Lagace and stopped all 10 shots he faced in 25 minutes of relief.
The Mooseheads went 1 for 4 on the power play while the Rocket failed to score on five chances with the man advantage.
MacKinnon, who was on a 10-game point streak before getting injured on Feb. 8th, and Drouin are both top prospects and are expected to be selected early in the first round of the 2013 NHL Draft.
Elsewhere in the QMJHL, it was: Acadie-Bathurst 5, Shawinigan 2; Val-d’Or 5, Baie-Comeau 4; Drummondville 3, Gatineau 0, Sherbrooke 7, Cape Breton 3, and Quebec 3, , Rimouski 2 (SO).
At Charlottetown, Beran opened the scoring for the Rocket 4:49 into the first period, however the Mooseheads scored the next five goals to spread the game wide open.
Frk responded 52 seconds after Beran and MacAulay made it 2-1 for Halifax with a power-play goal late in the period.
Bailey scored 5:19 into the second period before Drouin and Andrews added goals 56 seconds apart, making it 5-1 and ending Lagace’s day in net.
Currie got one back for the Rocket at 14:35, but that was as close as P.E.I. would come as they lost for the seventh time in eight meetings this season with Halifax.
Titan 5 Cataractes 2
At Bathurst, N.B., Matthew Bissonnette scored two goals and added an assist while Zach O’Brien had a goal and two asissts as the Titan (22-29-6) halted their three-game slide with a win over Shawinigan (14-36-7).
Foreurs 5 Drakkar 4
At Baie-Comeau, Que., Brandon Hynes had two goals and two assists and Anton Zlobin scored once and set up three more as Val-d’Or (32-23-3) came back from a 3-0 deficit to defeat the Drakkar (37-16-5), who have dropped back-to-back contests.
Voltigeurs 3 Olympiques 0
At Gatineau, Que., Louis-Philip Guindon stopped 27 shots for his first-career QMJHL shutout and Jerome Verrier had a goal and an assist as Drummondville (31-21-4) blanked the Olympiques (27-26-3), who lost for the first time in three outings.
Phoenix 7 Screaming Eagles 3
At Sherbrooke, Que., Steve Lebel scored three times and assisted on two others and Alexandre Comtois had a goal and four assists as the Phoenix (16-34-6) downed Cape Breton (12-37-8) to extend their lead over Shawinigan to three points for the final playoff spot.
Remparts 3 Oceanic 2 (SO)
At Rimouski, Que., Zachary Fortin turned away 40-of-42 shots while Jeremy Beaudry, Anthony Duclair and Frederic Bergeron all scored in the shootout as Quebec (33-19-4) edged the Oceanic (37-12-8) for its fourth win in its last five games.