FINAL (OT): Ice 5, Sea Dogs 4
MISSISSAUGA, Ont. – The Kootenay will live to see another day at the 2011 MasterCard Memorial Cup.
The Ice defeated the Saint John Sea Dogs 5-4 in overtime on Wednesday night at the Hershey Centre, forcing a tie-breaker game against the loser of tomorrow’s Owen Sound – Mississauga contest.
The victory improves the Ice to 1-2 at the Memorial Cup while the Sea Dogs dropped to 2-1. Saint John has already earned a bye to Sunday’s final because, no matter who wins tomorrow’s game, they will win the first tie-breaker.
Matt Fraser scored twice while Kevin King, Jesse Ismond, and Drew Czerwonka added singles. Goaltender Nathan Lieuwen made 19 saves on the night to pick up his first win of the Memorial Cup.
Kootenay was finally able to get their offense going after getting shutout in their first game against Mississauga and only scoring once against Owen Sound. They went 3-for-6 on the power play and fired 45 shots at Saint John netminder Mathieu Corbeil.
Tomas Jurco scored twice for Saint John. Ryan Tesink and Kevin Gagne also scored. Corbeil was solid in net, making 40 saves in the loss.
The game meant nothing to Saint John and they played like it at times. They rested some of their regulars with a trip to the final already booked.
Saint John went to a power play just 1:58 in. On the man advantage, the Sea Dogs had some good pressure on in the Kootenay zone but couldn’t connect to open the scoring.
At 5:28, James Martin was called after simply talking to Mike Thomas. It was weak call, but Saint John got a power play out of it. On the man advantage, Zack Phillip let a shot go from along the goal line but Kootenay goaltender Nathan Lieuwen made the stop.
A little later on, Kevin King blasted a point shot that was stopped by the glove of Saint John ‘tender Mathieu Corbeil. Soon after, Tomas Jurco made some nice moves to get through the defense and then centered the puck but nobody was there to swipe it in.
The Ice went to the power play at 12:45 as Stephen MacAulay was called for tripping. Kootenay couldn’t get much going and the game remained scoreless.
Late in the frame, the Ice had some decent pressure on and forced Corbeil to make a few quick pad stops. In the final second, Steele Boomer cut through the blue paint but couldn’t slide one home.
Shots in the opening frame were 12-6 Ice.
Early in the middle frame, Jesse Ismond was all alone in front and made a move to the backhand but sailed it wide. Then, at the opposite end, a point shot was stopped but the rebound went to Jonathan Huberdeau who was then stopped three times.
At 1:26, Saint John opened up the scoring. Ryan Tesink had the puck between the circles and snipped the disc top shelf on Lieuwen to make it a 1-0 Sea Dogs.
The Ice went to the power play at 2:00 as Gabriel Bourret headed off. Matt Fraser had the best chance on the man advantage as he sent the puck high and wide. That would be it for the Ice PP.
At 5:33, the Dogs made it 2-0. Stanislav Galiev fed the puck ahead to Tomas Jurco who went upstairs on Lieuwen to make it 2-0 Saint John.
Stephen MacAulay had a chance soon after the goal as he was denied in close. Then Kootenay had a two-on-one but Joe Antilla was robbed by the glove of Corbeil. Soon after, Jurco made a sick backhand pass to Galiev but he was stopped at the side of the net.
Then the penalties started. At 11:58 Bourret headed off again. The Ice would connect at 13:13 as Drew Czerwonka made a wraparound move and slid it under Corbeil to make it a 2-1 game.
At 13:24, Eric Gelinas headed to the box. Then at 13:46, Mike Thomas was sent to the sin bin as well. The Ice tied it up at 15:10 with Brayden McNabb blasting a shot from the top of the umbrella and was tipped nicely by King to make it a 2-2 contest.
Shots in the middle frame were 20-6 in favour of Kootenay.
The Ice pulled ahead just 23 seconds into the third period. King let a shot go that went off Kevin Gagne and eventually ended up on the stick of Ismond to make it a 3-2 Kootenay lead.
But Saint John would not go away. At 2:10, Huberdeau dropped the puck for Gagne who crept into the slot. He then let a wrist shot go that beat the Kootenay netminder five-hole to tie it a 3-3.
The Dogs went to the man advantage at 4:35 as King headed off. On the power play, Huberdeau was all alone at the side as the puck came to him but he couldn’t grab. On that same play at 5:58, Huberdeau would go to the box for slashing.
On the ensuing power play at 7:19, McNabb was at the point and sent it to Max Reinhart along the side boards. Reinhardt then sent it across the ice to Matt Fraser who netted his first of the tournament to give the Ice a 4-3 advantage.
After the goal, Saint John would have a few good opportunities. Huberdeau was alone in front and made a spin move to get it on goal but missed. After Kootenay had some good pressure on, Alexandre Beauregard fed Aidan Kelly in front but was denied. Then, with Lieuwen down, Beaulieu had an open net in the high slot but Boomer got down to block it.
Finally, with the Saint John net empty, Phillips let a shot go that hit Jurco in the head and bounced in to tie the match up at 4-4 with 15 seconds left and send it to overtime.
Shots in the third stanza were 11 apiece.
James Martin had a good chance early on as his point shot went through some traffic but Corbeil made the chest stop.
Then, on a missed offside call, Fraser gained possession and beat Corbeil between the legs to give the Ice a 5-4 win and some life in the tournament.
Shots were 2-0 Kootenay in overtime.
NOTES: See Sea Dogs Postscript tomorrow on SN.
NEXT GAME: The Sea Dogs play in the championship game on Sunday at 8:00 pm. Their opponent has yet to be determined.
Photo Credit: The Toronto Star