STATION NATION POST-GAME
Saint John – Mike Hoffman finally got the monkey off his back, and it could not have come at a better time for the Saint John Sea Dogs.
Hoffman ripped a shot that beat Moncton Wildcats goaltender Louis Domingue 12 seconds into overtime and gave Saint John a 3-2 victory on Saturday night.
Scoring for Saint John was Jonathan Huberdeau, Gabriel Bourett, and Hoffman. Kevin Gagne had two assists.
Alex Saulnier and Mathew Bissonnette scored for the Wildcats.
Saint John opened the scoring at 3:48 of the first period. Rookie import Tomas Jurco made a tremendous blind back hand pass from the right corner that went right on the stick blade of Jonathan Huberdeau. Huberdeau’s third of the year made it 1-0 Sea Dogs.
Alex Saulnier tied the game for the Wildcats at 11:42. He blasted a shot from the point that beat Saint John goaltender Karel St. Laurent.
It was a physical affair with several huge hits. Michael Kirkpatrick laid out a Wildcats player on the small piece of glass between the player benches. Another Moncton player through himself into the Wildcats bench after Jurco dodged a check.
Nicholas Petersen made his Harbour Station debut. He almost scored on a Moncton turnover in the Cats zone. Petersen picked up the puck and put a great deke on Domingue only to be denied by the glove of the goaltender.
St. Laurent made a bad play behind his net that gave Moncton a 2-1 lead. St. Laurent turned over the puck to Russian superstar Kirill Kabanov who gave a pass to Matthew Bissonnette at 18:12. The Saint John goaltender could not get set up in time to make the save.
Kabanov had a few good scoring chances but was trying to do too much for most of the game. He took long shifts and caused confusion for Danny Flynn and his line combinations.
Saint John outshot Moncton 14-9 in the first 20 minutes.
Sea Dogs coach Gerard Gallant sent another message to his team to start the second period. St. Laurent sat on the bench as Marc-Antoine Gelinas took over in net. It was a rough night for the second year Sea Dog that made many miscues when playing the puck.
Saint John had several terrific scoring chances but could not beat Domingue to start the second period. Many were cross crease passes that the Dogs just could not bang home.
Gabriel Bourett scored his first career Quebec Major Junior Hockey League goal at 17:40. Bourett took a big shot from just inside the point with lots of traffic in front of the Sea Dogs goal. The shot beat Domingue high glove side to make it 2-2.
The goal took a strange deflection off both the right post and crossbar. The Wildcats convinced the officials to go upstairs but the called stood.
Gelinas made several big stops for Saint John and kept the Wildcats from scoring in the second period. Gelinas was debuting a new mask and even took a shot that Gelinas gobbled up.
Shots were 9-6 Saint John in the second.
During the intermission, the inflatable blimp went a little crazy over in section one of the upper bowl. The balloon almost took out a few fans and took a hard hit off of a speaker.
Domingue made a great cross crease save on Steven Anthony to start the third period. Nicholas Pard almost gave Saint John the lead but his dangle could not beat a fallen L.B.D. The save had Harbour Station buzzing.
Tomas Jurco almost took the legs off of the Moncton goaltender when he was tripped hard into him.
Marc-Antoine Gelinas was solid when called upon and helped make overtime needed for this game.
Following a two minute break, it only took 12 seconds for Mike Hoffman to beat Domingue high glove side. It was an inoscent looking shot that he would have surly wanted back.
Final shots were 34-27 in favour of the 3-2 overtime winners. Saint John is now a point behind Moncton for first place in the Atlantic division.
NOTES: The attendance was 4,720… there was a bit of confusion and surprise among the Station Nation faithful when Gelinas came out the tunnel to start the second period… expect to see Gelinas in goal again tomorrow… Scott Oke, Stephen McAuley, and Benjamin Lecomte were all healthy scratches for Saint John… Kabanov had a penalty, an assist, and two shots on the night. I hope to have a video up shortly… the Sea Dogs wore pink jerseys that were auctioned off during the game. Proceeds went to breast cancer research… Fleaburn defeated Wild Willie in the mascot race during the first intermission. See Station Nation tomorrow for a Rivalry Cup update… Saint John now leads the Rivalry Cup 5.5-2… the game felt like the home opener with the Sea Dogs being on the road for almost three weeks… there were no fights or a lot of nasty stuff after the whistle. There were several big, clean hits along with all of the skilled displayed… Hoffman scored his first goal as a Sea Dog.
NEXT GAME: PEI Rocket vs Saint John Sea Dogs. Sunday, October 18, 2009 at 4:00 pm at Harbour Station.