FINAL: Halifax 4, Saint John 2
SAINT JOHN – The Saint John Sea Dogs have started a new streak. After winning 22 consecutive games, the QMJHL team was out to start a new one after they fell 7-3 in Moncton last Sunday. They indeed started a new one – a losing streak.
News 88.9 colour commentator Andrew McGilligan said it best, “they have no one to blame but themselves.” The Sea Dogs lost their second straight contest for only the second time all season as they fell 4-2 to the last place Halifax Mooseheads on Thursday night. The loss will make Sea Dogs fans feel even colder as they pulled off an inspired effort at Harbour Station.
As they have been all season, special teams were the story and cost Saint John the game as they went 1/6 on the power play and 2/3 on the penalty kill. Sea Dogs head coach Gerard Gallant will no doubt have some words for his players before they suit up at the Metro Centre on Friday night in the rematch.
Scoring for Saint John were Nicholas Petersen and Stephen MacAulay. The winners replied with singles from Pascal Amyot, Charles Bety, Jessyko Bernard, and Carl Gelinas.
Goaltender Mathieu Corbeil stood on his head all night in the Halifax goal, while Sea Dogs net minder Marc-Antoine Gelinas was magnetically repelled from the puck all night.
Stanislav Galiev gave the Mooseheads an early power play opportunity as he elbowed Gerard Grant. Former Sea Dog Pascal Amyot blasted a slap shot from the point that beat Marc-Antoine Gelinas at 1:46 to give the visitors a 1-0 lead.
Kevin Gagne then ripped a shot off the crossbar with the rebound going right into the lap of goaltender Mathieu Corbeil.
Amyot hooked Mike Hoffman at 3:19 with Hoffman running into Corbeil in the crease. The 18-year-net minder lay on the ice with the Halifax medical staff but did stay in the game.
It was a good thing Corbeil stayed in the game as he robbed Nathan Beaulieu of a goal with a nice pad save. Michael Kirkpatrick sent a shot through the crease on a Sea Dogs power play. Then Corbeil robbed a falling Nicholas Petersen somehow with his arm.
Saint John went to the penalty kill again with Steven Anthony in the box. The Dogs managed to keep scoring chances to a premium but did have some defensive breakdowns not only on the kill, but during the entire period.
Stephen MacAulay had a good chance at a bad angle as he caught the Mooseheads on a bad line change. Then a Beaulieu shot was deflected wide by Petersen. The physical play heated up with Grant being hit hard by Nicholas Pard.
The Mooseheads made it 2-0 at 16:46 of the first frame. A deflected pass hit a stick in the crease area and was picked by Charles Bety. He went around the back of the goal and backhanded a shot by Gelinas to give Halifax a demanding lead. Gelinas was very slow on the play, having a lot of time to get over to make a save but didn’t.
Halifax played a perfect road game in the first but were still outshot 14-9 by the high octane Sea Dogs.
Zach Phillips went in all alone but was stopped by the left arm of Corbeil. Halifax then got into penalty problems that began with former Dog Matthew Stoddard going off for a hook. Steven Anthony somehow walked out in front and had a good chance with no defender challenging him.
At 4:14 Alex Lemieux went to the box giving the Sea Dogs a 39 second two man advantage. Head coach Gerard Gallant called a time-out but proved meaningless as the Dogs couldn’t connect.
At 7:13 Saint John did connect with Amyot in the box. Petersen came across the blue line and beat two defenseman and eventually beat Corbeil glove side to make it 2-1 Halifax.
The Corbeil show continued after that. Tomas Jurco grabbed the puck and left Jonathan Huberdeau all alone in front but was stopped on a deke by a diving Corbeil.
Saint John tied the game at 12:16 thanks to Stephen MacAulay. Captain Mike Thomas gave an airmail backhand pass to MacAulay in the crease who batted it in to make it a 2-2 tie.
Petersen was then robbed again on a nifty three way passing play with Hoffman and Galiev. He sent a shot by Corbeil and through the crease but didn’t cross the line. Jurco was stopped a wraparound as the Dogs’ onslaught continued.
Galiev then wristed a shot high and wide of the goal from just above the faceoff circle. Former Saint John Vito Jamie Bishop turned the puck over behind the goal and was centered to Zach Phillips but couldn’t get any mustard on his shot.
With two seconds left, Petersen passed to Hoffman who had a wide open cage but shot wide. The Ottawa Senators prospect lifted his hands and stick in the air before realizing the disappointing truth.
Saint John dominated the Mooseheads young defense core and outshot them 15-4 in the middle frame.
Galiev tipped a shot just wide as he was taken down cleanly by Amyot. The play began to open up in the third period - but the Sea Dogs began to close down.
Yann Sauve wristed a shot that was blocked in front by Travis Randell after a tic-tac-toe passing play several minutes in.
Danick Gauthier took an interference penalty at 7:02. The Moose capitalized on the call on a bizarre play. A Bishop rebound appeared to go off Beaulieu and in but they gave it to Jessyko Bernard, his fifth of the season. That gave Halifax a 3-2 lead.
Kevin Gagne gave a nice cross ice pass to Jurco in front but couldn’t get his stick on the puck. Then at the other end of the ice, Gabriel Desjardins beat Simon Despres to get a good shot off but was turned away by Gelinas.
But the Mooseheads put the game away at 14:37. After a defensive mistake by Steven Anthony left only one Sea Dog on the back end, Halifax came in on a two-on-one that was finished off by Carl Gelinas to make it 4-2.
Saint John just could not respond as they played as if their dog had just died the rest of the way home. With just under two minutes to go, Gelinas left his net for the extra attacker. Despite terrific pressure, the Dogs couldn’t get any shots by and dropped their second straight game.
Halifax outshot the Sea Dogs 11-6 in the third but Saint John won the game long battle 35-24.
Marc-Antoine Gelinas picked up his second straight loss and fell to 20-5-0. Saint John went a horrific 1/6 on the power play.
Mathieu Corbeil was fantastic and improved to 8-19-0. Halifax took care of the Sea Dogs penalty kill unit as they went 2/3 on the man advantage.
NEXT GAME: Saint John Sea Dogs vs Halifax Mooseheads. Friday, December 18, 2009 at 7:00 pm at Halifax Metro Centre.