Saturday, April 23, 2011


FINAL (OT): MAINEiacs 4, Sea Dogs 5

SAINT JOHN – Anything can happen in the playoffs, and on Friday night at Harbour Station, that was proven to be true.

A dramatic third period comeback by the Saint John Sea Dogs in Game One of their semifinal series against the Lewiston Maineiacs gave them a 5-4 overtime win and a 1-0 series lead. Game Two of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League playoff series is tonight at 7:00 pm at Harbour Station.

Lewiston had a 4-2 lead with just under six minutes to play. But clutch goals by Nathan Beaulieu and Tomas Jurco tied the match a 4-4, allowing Stephen MacAulay to score in the extra session to give the Dogs a dramatic come-from-behind win.

Also scoring for Saint John was Pierre Durepos and Steven Anthony. Jacob DeSerres made 13 saves on 17 shots in 51:10 of action. He was pulled in favour of Mathieu Corbeil in the third period who also made 13 stops.

It wasn’t a perfect game by any means. Saint John jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the first period but then hit the snooze button. Lewiston had control of the second period and much of the third period. But both teams won’t have much time to think about it with Game Two less than 24 hours away.

The Maineiacs had goals from Matthew Bissonnette, Jess Tanguy, Kirill Kabanov, and Antoine Houde-Caron. Nicholas Champion made 26 saves in net.

There was some back-and-forth action in the first few minutes of the game but that didn’t last long. The first opportunity of the game came from Simon Despres who centered the puck into a mess in the front of the net but no Sea Dog could get to it. Zack Phillips then had a chance from a sharp angle but was denied by the pad of Lewiston netminder Nicholas Champion.

The Sea Dogs made it 1-0 at 10:16. Pierre Durepos gained possession of the puck at the line. He then blasted it past Champion to make it a 1-0 Saint John advantage. The goal went under a brief review but it would stand.

Saint John went to the power play at 12:10 as Cameron Critchlow was called. Critchlow scored just after he was called, but, of course, it was disallowed. Nathan Beaulieu had the best chance early in the man advantage but was robbed by the glove of Champion.

The Sea Dogs would strike on the power play at 13:40. Stanislav Galiev had the puck behind the net and centered it for Steven Anthony. The Vancouver Canucks prospect crept in from the dot and beat Champion with a low shot to make it 2-0 Sea Dogs.

The Dogs went back to the power play at 14:25 but couldn’t get anything going like the first one.

On a rush following a decent Zach Phillips chance, Lewiston broke in on a two-on-one. Stefan Fournier slid the puck across the ice to Matthew Bissonnette who had a yawning cage to make it a 2-1 game.

Shots in the first stanza were 9-3 Saint John.

The teams started the second period with some four-on-four action after some rough stuff at the end of the first. During that play at 1:33 a long shot was bobbled a by Sea Dogs goaltender Jacob DeSerres. Jess Tanguy was there to find the loose puck and slide it home to tie the match at 2-2.

Danick Gauthier had a great chance in front moments later but couldn’t get the puck through the scramble.

Alexandre Beauregard went to the box at 3:00 for roughing but Lewiston couldn’t get anything going on the power play.

At 5:26, Kevin Gagne flipped the puck into section ‘A’ and was called for delay of game. The Maineiacs would take advantage at 6:15. The puck was passed from the corner and hit a Sea Dogs player. Kirill Kabanov was there to grab it and beat DeSerres five-hole to give the vicitors a 3-2 lead.

A few moments later, DeSerres came up huge with the pad and denied a Maineiac player.

Saint John then took over with some pressure. Jonathan Huberdeau was alone in front with the puck with Champion out of position but a Lewiston player got in the way in time to keep the shot stopped. Tomas Jurco then blasted the puck from the rim of the circle and hit the corner post. The goal went under review but it would not count.

Before that review took place though, Lewiston had a two-on-one chance but sent it high. Then following the review, DeSerres committed a brutal giveaway but Lewiston couldn’t get a shot off as he scrambled back to the crease.

The Sea Dogs then started to pour it on again. Beaulieu wired a shot from the slot but was stopped, then Despres fed Beauregard in front but was robbed by the pad of Champion.

Saint John went back to the power play at 17:25 with Stefan Fournier in the box for hooking. On the man advantage, Gagne fired a point shot that was tipped and just missed Phillips at the side. The Dogs had some good power play pressure but could not score.

Shots in the middle frame were 9-9.

Gabriel Bourret headed to the box early on to give the Maineiacs a power play. It looked like Lewiston had scored at 15:40 after the puck was centered and battled out of mid-air into the cage. The play went under review but it was called a high stick.

With the penalty over, Jonathan Huberdeau came through the crease but was robbed by the pad of Champion.

Saint John headed to the power play at 5:10. But in stunning fashion, Lewiston broke in on a two-on-one while shorthanded. Antoine-Houde Caron kept the puck and wired a shot top shelf on DeSerres to give the Maineiacs a 4-2 lead.

Despres headed to the box at 6:59 to make things even worse for Saint John. During the power play, Kabanov tried to cross the line but was belted by Beaulieu with a big hit. That would be the only excitement in the man advantage.

During the media time-out at 8:50, the Sea Dogs made a surprising move by replacing DeSerres with Mathieu Corbeil. The Columbus Blue Jackets prospect was tested early as Samuel Henley just shot the puck wide of the cage from the goal line.

The move seemed to spark the Dogs as they made it a one-goal game again at 14:28. Phillips faked a shot from the dot and sent it across to Beaulieu who ripped one into the empty cage to make it a 4-3 affair.

Soon after the marker, Kirkpatrick was left alone in the slot but was stopped nicely by Champion.

Harbour Station blew up at 15:42. Champion came out to chip the puck away before the Sea Dogs could enter the zone but hit a body in his attempt. The puck went to Jurco who had a wide open net to make it a 4-4 game.

Just as Saint John was taking over momentum they were called for too many men at 18:06. On the man advantage, Michael Chaput had a wide open net with Corbeil way out of position but he missed the net. Their power play would end at 19:56 as Ian Saab was called for holding.

Shots in the third period were 15-10 in favour of Lewiston.

During the Sea Dogs’ power play that carried over into the extra frame, the Maineiacs had a two-on-chance but Corbeil made a solid pad stop to keep the game tied.

With the penalty over, Despres skated into the zone at 2:59 and centered it through the blue paint. Stephen MacAulay was at the other side of the cage and tapped it in to give Saint John a 5-4 victory.

Shots in overtime were 3-2 Saint John.

Both teams were 1-for-5 on the man advantage.

NOTES: See Sea Dogs Postscript tomorrow.

NEXT GAME: Game two of the semifinal series goes tonight at 7:00 pm at Harbour Station.

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