Attention to detail is often the difference between winning and losing in elite sports.
The Halifax Mooseheads learned that lesson against the Drummondville Voltigeurs Friday night at the Scotiabank Centre. The Voltigeurs got the best of the Mooseheads in all the small ways, which added up to a 4-1 win for the visitors.
"I thought we played a good first (period) and then I don't know what happened in the second. They were just all over us," said Mooseheads winger Maxim Trepanier. "Playing like that in front of our fans is kind of embarrassing.
"As a veteran group we need to lead the way. The kids are working hard ... it's going to come for them. But game after game, we need to show the way to those kids and play way better than that."
On paper, it was a fairly even match-up but the Mooseheads took some careless penalties, weren't sharp on special teams and seemed to have a hard time connecting on passes. It's not that they played horribly, there just was nothing crisp about their game.
The most noticeable difference was the Voltigeurs' effort on the puck. They were firmer with their sticks, won races and were more physically assertive in one-on-one battles.
"I don't think there was anything special they did to throw us off, we just slowed down our legs," said Halifax defenceman Jason Horvath. "We didn't bring the shots on net and a couple of mistakes helped them. That's what made us lose tonight.
"They just wanted it more tonight in the second and third. We've got to bounce back and start playing as a team. We need to start winning some games here."
The Voltigeurs opened the scoring 6:01 into the game but the Mooseheads tied it later in the period to make it 1-1 heading into the intermission.
Drummondville turned the game in the next period, outshooting Halifax 14-2 and scoring twice to take a 3-1 lead after 40 minutes.
The Voltigeurs put the game away with a power-play goal in the third period.
Fabian Hochegger, Nicholas Girouard, Isiah Campbell and Charles-Edouard Drouin scored for the Voltigeurs and Trepanier had the Mooseheads goal.
Alexis Gravel made 18 saves for Halifax and Anthony Morrone stopped 20 shots for Drummondville. The Mooseheads only six shots in the final 40 minutes.
"We had a lot of shots on net in the first period and I thought the momentum was going our way but then we slowed down in the second and third," Horvath said. "We had almost no shots on net and from there it just went downhill."
The loss is the Mooseheads' second in a row and drops their record to 8-10-1-0. The Voltigeurs improve to 14-7-0-0.
"We won against Bathurst last weekend and our last win before that was a long time ago," Trepanier said. "It's seven losses in eight games so it's not a good stretch for us, obviously. We came back this year with the mentality of going for it and we want another playoff run. If we want to have that, we need to be way better than that."
The Mooseheads' next game is at home on Saturday against the Bathurst Titan.
"They (the Titan) won their first game tonight so they'll be hungry," Trepanier said. "We beat them in their barn so we need to be ready for them. It's never easy against any team in this league so we'll need to be prepared."
Notes: Cole Foston (knee), Jared McIsaac (shoulder), Walter Flower (undisclosed injury), Cameron Whynot (World Under-17 Hockey Challenge) and Gavin Hart (healthy scratch) did not play for Halifax. ... Drummondville's top scorer Dawson Mercer did not play because he is serving a six-game suspension for a high hit in a game against the Val-d'Or Foreurs last week. ... Falmouth's Bailey Peach will miss the next month because of an upper body injury. The 18-year-old forward is in his third season with the Sherbrooke Phoenix. ... It was the annual Department of National Defence game so the Mooseheads wore special jerseys to recognize members of the Canadian military. ... Hockey Canada goalie consultant Fred Brathwaite was in attendance, presumably to get one more viewing of Gravel leading up to invitaions going out for the world junior team tryout camp.