SEA DOGS –ROCKET GAME AT A GLANCE
Final Score: PEI 3, Saint John 8
Saint John Goals: Mike Hoffman (1), Jonathan Huberdeau (1), Stanislav Galiev (1), Nicholas Pard (1), Nathan Beaulieu (1), Tomas Jurco (1), Michael Kirkpatrick (1), and Pierre Durepos (1)
PEI Goals: Louis-Philippe Lacroix (1), Michael Stinziani (1), and Jimmy Oligny (1)
Winning Goaltender: SNB – Marco Cousineau (1-0-0)
Losing Goaltender: PEI – Evan Mosher (0-1-0)
News 88.9 Top Dog: Nicholas Pard (shout-out to Stanislav Galiev)
Power Play: Rocket: 2/6, Sea Dogs: 3/5
Shots on Goal: Rocket: 11+10+10=31, Sea Dogs: 16+15+10=41
SAINT JOHN SCRATCHES
Mike Thomas served the fifth game of his six game suspension that he received two weeks ago against the Moncton Wildcats’ Alex Wall. According to the Times & Transcript, Wall is out indefinitely.
Aiden Kelly missed the game because of a concussion he received after a blow to the head from Moncton’s Scott Trask last Sunday.
Defenseman Gabriel Bourret was inserted into the lineup to fill the void up front.
Before the game last night, there was a pre-game ceremony awarding the Sea Dogs two league trophies.
The Commissioner of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League, Gilles Courteau, was on hand to present the Jean-Rougeau Trophy to the regular season champion Sea Dogs prior to their first playoff game. Saint John also received the Luc-Robitaille Trophy during pre-game festivities.
"After finishing the 2008-09 campaign with 34 wins, the Sea Dogs closed out the year with 53 victories and captured their first regular season championship with 109 points. I would like to congratulate the players, the front office, the coaching staff and the support staff for their extraordinary season. Finally, I would like to thank the fans for their unwavering support. Saint John is quickly becoming one of the League’s premier markets," commented the Commissioner in a release.
Lisa Savidant of Irving Oil and Mike Harroun of Moosehead Breweries were on hand to present the Luc-Robitaille Trophy (highest total of goals scored during the regular season) to Sea Dogs captain Mike Thomas. Saint John registered a league-high 309 markers this season.
The Sea Dogs captain looked quite funny standing next to the man who officially suspended him and smiling for pictures. Thomas didn’t touch either trophy.
Several Rocket fans chose not to stand up and clap for the accomplishment. We were not surprised though, with one wearing a Tampa Bay Rays hat and the other a Washington Nationals lid.
SOLID GAME ONE
After playing close to a month of uninspired hockey, the Saint John Sea Dogs showed that they were anxious to get the playoffs rolling.
The Dogs did everything right and shut the PEI Rocket’s trap system down that has worked well against Saint John this season.
“I think we had a bit of a spark tonight,” said Michael Kirkpatrick to The Guardian. “Going into tonight we wanted to set the tone.”
The Sea Dogs set the tone early. After Mike Hoffman made it 1-0 quickly on a point shot, the Rocket had some great chances in the Sea Dogs zone but failed to score. But late in the third, the Rocket collapsed and allowed three straight goals.
“(Saint John was) a little bit lucky. One goal went in off a skate,” said Michael Stinziani who had one goal for PEI. “But give them credit. Saint John is a tough offensive team and we can’t give them 41 shots.”
"We got pucks to the net and that's what we talked about in our game plan,'' Saint John head coach Gerard Gallant to the Telegraph-Journal. "They came out pretty good in the first five minutes and we had some trouble, but we got some early goals and that makes a big difference.''
"We wanted to get on them early,'' Mike Hoffman said. "That first one was key. We had a power play and took advantage of it and I think that helped out for the rest of the game. When we finished the first period up 4-0, we didn't want to let up.”
Saint John leads the best-of-seven series 1-0.
GOOD GOALIE, BAD GOALE
The score may not indicate it, but Sea Dog goalie Marco Cousineau was excellent in the Saint John crease.
"There were some point-blank chances in the first period,'' Gallant said. "He had to make some big saves for us early.''
“Cousey made a couple of big saves. It was a big moment in the game,” said Stinziani. “Instead of 1-1, it’s 3-0.”
Evan Mosher was good early on, but seemed to get shakier as the game went on. Several goals came off big rebounds that had him out of position. He allowed six goals on 31 shots. Wendell Vye relieved him to start the third, but he allowed two goals on 10 shots.
Comment from today’s Guardian game story:
Rodney Shea from Not ctown, PEI writes: Beautiful,,,absolutely BEAUTIFUL
ROCKET FANS IN THE HOUSE
The PEI fan bus made the trip down this weekend and had a large contingent of fans sitting in the corner. They all gathered around the tunnel before warm-up and cheered on “their boys.” They also had some chants going all evening.
Bell Aliant FibreOp must have spent close to half their advertising budget on this year’s playoffs.
From programs to posters, to pillars, banners, and commercials, FibreOP was everywhere.
THE LITTLE BIG LINE
The line of Jonathan Huberdeau, Michael Kirkpatrick, and Tomas Jurco was fabulous all night. The line combined for three goals, four assists, and was a combined +5.
The real big line of Stanislav Galiev, Mike Hoffman, and Nicholas Petersen combined for two goals, two assists, and was a combined +3.
The Rocket tried to get under the skin of the top line through some physical play. Samson Mahbod tried to land a huge hit on his former team mate Hoffman. In the third, Hoffman and Jordan Southorn almost got into a scrap but ended with the Dogs forward pointing to the score clock.
CHSJ NEWS HIGHLIGHTS
If you have ever wanted to see the Harbour Station press box in action, check out this video.
The fan of the game needs to be given a playoff ticket pass.
Brendan (I think that was his name) was a dancing machine and was up and out if his seat during every stoppage in play in section “T.” He had the entre “ScotiaZone” up on their feet and dancing.
Well done son, will done.
Mike Hoffman ran into the referee in the third period, making his whistle fall of his finger… rally towels were given out at the door and created a nice air current on a hot day in the S.J… the Sea dogs have switched back to their white jersey’s from the first half. The Rocket wore their road reds… UNBSJ sponsored the game, which meant there would be at least one person decked out in strange attire. There was a a guy was dressed as a baby… former Sea Dogs Pascal Amyot (who is a nominee for the QMJHL’s scholastic award) and Alexandre Labonte were at the game… the loudest cheer of the night came when the score of Moncton game (trailing 3-1 at the time) came over the P.A. They scored five straight to win the game… Nicholas Petersen was a +46 in the regular season – a team high. Last night he was a -1… the wave made its way around Harbour Station for about two minutes… the slogan for this year’s playoffs is “Sea Dogs Nation, Lets Rock The Station”… Sea Dogs president Wayne Long was looking for over 5,000 in attendance for this game. He was 800 folks short.
The Rocket remain in Saint John for game two of the best-of-seven first round playoff series. Game time is today at 7:00 pm in Saint John. The Dogs lead the series 1-0.