SEA DOGS – WILDCATS GAME AT A GLANCE
Final Score: Saint John 9, Moncton 7
Saint John Goals: Stanislav Galiev (11), Jonathan Huberdeau (16), Zack Phillips (14), Guillaume Cloutier (2), Mike Thomas (5), Steven Anthony (8), Ryan Tesink (6), Stephen MacAulay (7), and Simon Despres (5)
Moncton Goals: Daniel Milan (9, 10), Alex Saulnier (11, 12), Allain Saulnier (11), Daniel Pettersson (17), and Marek Hrivik (11)
Winning Goaltenders: SNB – Jacob DeSerres and Frederic Piche
Losing Goaltender: MON – Shane Owen
Power Play: Wildcats: 5/8, Sea Dogs: 0/3
Shots on Goal: Wildcats: 10+10+10=30, Sea Dogs: 14+16+11=41
SAINT JOHN SCRATCHES
Forward Jason Cameron and defenseman Tyrone Sock were healthy scratches.
WHOA. DOGS WIN 9-7.
What in the world was that?
"As coaches, you don't like this kind of a game," said Saint John head coach Gerard Gallant o the Times & Transcript. "I'm sure they're exciting with all the goals and us battling back, but both teams got a lot of work to do because I'm sure both sides don't like that game. We were fortunate to get the two points."
In what was one of the craziest games ever seen between these two provincial rivals, Patrick Roy’s theory of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League becoming a defensive styled game was shot out the window.
The Saint John Sea Dogs and Moncton Wildcats combined for 16 goals on Sunday afternoon at the Moncton Coliseum, a match that resulted in the visitors coming back to win 9-7.
It was a brutal start for Saint John. Four straight, and somewhat weak, Wildcat goals in the first 19 minutes of the first period gave the home side a commanding 4-0 lead. But a late goal by Guillaume Cloutier gave the Sea Dogs just a bit of bounce heading into intermission.
"Things were said about what we needed to do," Sea Dogs captain Mike Thomas said the Telegraph-Journal of the mood in his team's dressing room after 20 minutes. "We weren't playing our game and we weren't working hard. It wasn't a good 60 minutes, but we did battle back in the second period and that changed the momentum of the game."
In that middle frame, Stephen MacAulay scored a minute in to make it 4-2 and then Thomas made it a one goal game at 4:15. Simon Despres did the unthinkable at 7:59, tying the match at 4-4 and stunning the Moncton Coliseum.
The Sea Dogs went into miracle mode after Despres scored as Ryan Tesink gave the team a 5-4 lead at 12:09. With less than a second remaining in the period, Steven Anthony gave Saint John a two goal lead with his Wildcat-deflating marker.
Just 40 seconds into the final frame, Zach Phillips gave the Dogs a three goal lead, a lead that would turn out to be the biggest of the game for the Port City juniors. Daniel Milan scored two straight power play goals in a two minute span to put Moncton back within one and put the province (except for the Bathurst area) on the edge of their seats.
But less than 30 seconds later, ole reliable Jonathan Huberdeau scored to give the Dogs a two goal lead again. But, as the song says, “this is Wildtown,” so the ‘Cats would once again climb within one after Michael Kirkpatrick took a five minute major penalty for checking from behind. Alex Saulnier scored with 2:18 to go to make it an 8-7 affair.
But with Wildcats goaltender Shane Owen on the bench, Simon Despres threw the puck down the ice and Stanislav Galiev was able to beat a Moncton player for the puck, making it a 9-7 final with an empty net goal.
The Sea Dogs' slow start probably had a lot to do with being stranded on a New Brunswick highway for much of the day Saturday.
According to News 88.9’s Tim Roszell, the Sea Dogs team bus was stuck on the highway after a car accident had occurred, stopping traffic. This forced Saturday’s Sea Dogs game in Bathurst to be postponed to a later date.
THE PENALTY KILL
This was one of the bigger surprises in the game. Coming into yesterday’s contest, Saint John had a fairly solid penalty kill going for themselves and were in the upper echelon of the league’s PK rankings. It didn’t seem that way in Moncton.
The Wildcats went an amazing 5/8 on the power play, scoring five of their seven goals on the man advantage. Moncton’s power play is ranked fifth in the league
If it wasn’t for the power play goals, this game could have had a much different outcome.
Moncton scored two goals on the first three shots of the game – including a goal on their first shot.
Both goals were from a sharp angle and glove side of Frederic Piche. Both goals were weak. Piche was pulled and replaced by Jacob DeSerres, who let in a weak goal himself on the Wildcats’ third marker.
DeSerres played better from there on in, even though he did allow five goals on 27 shots. Luckily, Saint John’s offense was firing on all cylanders yesterday.
Shane Owen was good but not great. Surprisingly, Wildcats head coach Danny Flynn did not replace Owen with backup Steve Gleeson at any point in the game.
Neil Hodge asked why:
"I thought about it," said Flynn. "A lot of the goals were net front goals in traffic and wide open guys at the side of the net. I don't know if I fault the goalie on those. I'll watch the tape and maybe I'll change my mind, but he made some pretty good saves too."
Wildcats forward Devon MacAusland had a wide open net in the second period but missed.
Sea Dogs goaltender Jacob DeSerres came out to play the puck away from MacAusland who would have had a partial breakaway. But the Wildcat was able to get around DeSerres with the puck but sent his shot wide of the net.
The score was 4-3 Moncton at the point and Saint John would tie the game just a moment later. It was definitely a big moment in the game as it may have swung some momentum back into Moncton’s favour. The Sea Dogs would add two more goals that period along with Simon Despres’ tying goal.
Saint John is now 2-0-0-0 against the Moncton Wildcats to start the season. The Sea Dogs opened the year up 2-0 versus Moncton last season as well but both games needed extra time to be decided.
Saint John has outscored the Wildcats 15-9 this season.
The win was also the first regulation win for the Sea Dogs at the Moncton Coliseum since February 3, 2008 when Saint John defeated Moncton 6-5.
STILL ON TOP
Saint John is tied with the Quebec Remparts for first overall in the QMJHL with 40 points. But, Saint John has played two fewer games and has a higher winning percentage than Quebec.
Solid tweet from the Chronicle Herald’s Willy Palov on the situation:
Only 3 points separate top five teams in the Q and just 8 points between No. 1 and No. 9. Should be some good races after X-Mas.If the playoffs started today, Saint John would play Cape Breton, who has a win against the Dogs already this season, in the opening round.
RIVALRY CUP STANDINGS
With the win, Saint John picked up three points in the 2010-11 Brunswick News Rivalry Cup standings. Moncton picked up two points yesterday for having a crowd over 5,000 at the game.
The Sea Dogs now lead the season long challenge 8-2. The next game between the two isn’t until New Years Eve at Harbour Station.
"I think the rivalry between Saint John and Moncton has always been good for the fans and good for both communities,'' said Sea Dogs majority owner Scott McCain to the Times & Transcript.
The Wildcats wore their third jerseys… this was the Sea Dogs’ first game at the Moncton Coliseum since Game Six of the 2010 President’s Cup Final… Michael Kirkpatrick was thrown out of the game after hitting Alex MacDonald from behind in the third period. The usually tame 20-year old also picked up a penalty earlier in the game for running into Wildcats goaltender Shane Owen… Simon Despres was Buzzing The Net’s first star in the Canadian Hockey League last night. The ‘Big Horse’ had a goal, three assists, and was a +5… Alex and Allain Saulnier combined for three goals and four assists but were both a -3… not one Moncton player had a plus rating… Mike Thomas ticked off a bunch of Wildcat fans as he usually does. He finished the match with a goal, an assist, a +2 rating, four shots, and four penalty minutes… Moncton had 10 shots in each period… Saint John now has a six point lead for first place in the Maritimes Division.
There are none. Get better, Wildcats.
OUT OF TOWN
From The Canadian Press:
Elsewhere in the QMJHL it was: Acadie-Bathurst 7 Rouyn-Noranda 1; Lewiston 2 Quebec 4; Gatineau 3 Baie-Comeau 2; Rimouski 8 Victoriaville 2 and Val-d'Or at P.E.I. was postponed.
The Val-d’Or Foreurs’ plane broke down, causing a very late postponement of the their contest in Charlottetown, PEI against the Rocket. You’re a big time junior hockey team when you are able to fly from Halifax to Charlottetown.
The Baie-Comeau Drakkar lost their 25th straight game. The QMJHL record for consecutive loses is 27.
The Sea Dogs play host to the Acadie-Bathurst Titan Friday night at 7:30 pm at Harbour Station.
Photo Credits: Marc Grandmaison, no idea, QMJHL Arena Guide, YouTube