STATION NATION RECAP
FINAL/SO: Sea Dogs 5, Wildcats 4
MONCTON – The Moncton Wildcats need to take a page out of the Saint John Sea Dogs’ notebook.
For the third time this season, the Sea Dogs defeated the Wildcats in a shootout. Mike Hoffman, Tomas Jurco, and Jonathan Huberdeau all scored to give the Dogs a 5-4 win and picked up the extra point.
Overlooked in this game was the sensational play of goaltender Marco Cousineau. He didn’t have to make to many sensational plays because he kept things simple and rebounds to an absolute minimum.
Just like on New Year’s Eve when Moncton played host to Saint John, a team came back from a two goal deficit. This time it was Moncton pulling off the come back to send the game into extra time.
The first period took some time to unfold. Both teams held back to start the game and were waiting for their opponent to make a mistake. Alex McDonald had the first good chance in the opening frame when he stopped by the glove of Cousineau.
Mike Hoffman had a wide open net soon after at the side of the goal but missed on the one time chance.
At 6:50, Simon Despres took a penalty after a big hit on the backboards. Some rough stuff happened after the call with Christian Morin wanting a piece of Gabriel Bourque. At 7:15, Bourque was called to the box after he hit Kevin Gagne. That caused some more "extremely exciting" back and forth play.
Hoffman centered for Nicholas Pard prior to the penalties expiring but the pass went off a skate. Both teams managed to get some good chances in late in the four-in-four.
Mike Thomas almost made it 1-0 for Saint John but he sent a shot past Nicola Riopel and off the post. With both team’s still looking a bit nervous from the big game atmosphere, tough guy Spencer Metcalf nailed Thomas along the side boards in the Wildcats' zone.
The Sea Dogs did make it 1-0 at 13:19 when Hoffman made a nice move to get across the Moncton blue line. His shot may have been screened by a Moncton defender as his wrist shot beat Riopel blocker side. That caused several Saint John fans to rip their shirts off and wave them in the air.
Moncton tried to get the goal back on the next shift by applying some great pressure and a solid point shot was tipped wide in front. Then Moncton fans roared in laughter as Cousineau fell down behind the goal trying to play the puck. Then the Wildcats had a two-on-one chance with Ted Stephens shooting wide on the good opportunity.
With Despres in the box again at 18:22, Scott Brannon was robbed by the glove of Cousineau and almost slammed his stick on the ice in frustration.
Shots in the first period were 9-7 Sea Dogs.
Saint John killed off the penalty and took a two goal lead at 2:46. Michael Kirkpatrick managed to muscle his way to the front of the goal. He walked through the front of the crease and backhanded a shot that beat Riopel low glove side to make it 2-0 Saint John.
Mark Barberio took a questionable high sticking penalty at 10:29. The Wildcats did a great job at killing off the man advantage, with the best chance coming when Kirkpatrick backhanded a shot that was stopped by Riopel.
Nicholas Pard was stopped later on a partial break as Saint John was completely dominating the play in the early part of the second period. After Cousineau fell down again in the crease, there was a mad scramble in the Wildcats’ crease at the other end. Out of that play, two Moncton players went to the box to give the Dogs a full two minute two man advantage.
But that did not stop the Wildcats as Brandon Gormley went in on a long shorthanded breakaway after a turnover at the blue line. The defenseman went to his backhand and roofed a shot over Cousineau to make it 2-1.
Saint John responded less than a minute later at 11:30. Nicholas Petersen was left alone in the slot area and beat Riopel on the blocker side to give the Sea Dogs back their two goal lead.
Cousineau stepped his game up again later on, making a fantastic cross crease save on a Wildcat player.
After Saint John called a time out, two Wildcats made a great play to keep the puck inside their blue line. Barberio beat Cousineau with a wrist shot that beat the Saint John net minder clean from the face off dot at 14:43 to make it a 3-2 game going into the intermission.
Shots in the second were 14-10 for the Wildcats.
After the Sea Dogs killed off a Nathan Beaulieu penalty, Yann Sauve let a wrist shot go that beat Riopel through some traffic and went on blocker side to make it 4-2. The goal looked very similar to the goal he scored on New Year’s Eve at the Cage.
Beaulieu took another penalty at 2:47 after he hit Barberio from behind. The Sea Dogs had an exceptional penalty kill as the Wildcats struggled to keep the puck in at their line. Then with the power play over, Brannon let go a hard shot that Cousineau came out to challenge and made the save.
The 20-year old Saint John goaltender showed his weakness at 7:08. Daniel Pettersson let a weak wrist shot go from a bad angle. Cousineau went down with the puck finding a hole and going through him to make it a one goal game.
At 10:11, Sauve went to the box. On the power play, Cousineau made an amazing save in the slot. But on the same shift, a weak shot from Randy Cameron got through a disorganized Saint John goalie to tie the game at 4-4.
The two goaltenders put on a show for the rest of regulation. Stanislav Galiev and Kirkpatrick were both robbed by Riopel. Moncton had several shots going wide and high of the net.
Shots in the third were 13-9 Moncton.
In overtime, both team’s had one shot on goal. Nicholas Petersen had a great chance with a second left on the clock but sent a good shot high of the net.
In the shootout, Hoffman made a fool of Riopel by going “Peter Forsberg” on the Moncton goaltender. After Stephens was stopped for Moncton, Jurco scored a backhand goal while Brannon also scored for Moncton. The shootout legend Jonathan Huberdeau was up next and did his classic move to the forehand to give the Dogs the win.
Saint John went 1/4 on the power play while Moncton went 2/8.
NOTES: See Station Nation tomorrow for Sea Dogs Post-Game Notebook.
NEXT GAME: Saint John plays host to Acadie-Bathurst on Wednesday in a make-up game at Harbour Station. Game time is 7:00 pm.