BATHURST – The Acadie-Bathurst Titan took advantage of the Saint John Sea Dogs’ depleted lineup on Friday night at the KC Irving Regional Centre.
Zach O’Brian scored a hat trick while Ludovic Kabambi, Marc-Olivier Mimar, Alec Jon Banville, Sebastien Trudeau, and Matthew Bissonnette added single markers in the Titan’s 8-1 victory over the Sea Dogs.
Brock Morrison scored the lone Saint John goal which was also his first career Quebec Major Junior Hockey League goal. Goaltender Sebastien Auger allowed eight goals on 27 shots, many of them featuring perfectly executed passing plays.
Robert Steeves allowed just one goal on 23 shots in the Titan net.
The Sea Dogs were without 12 players because of National Hockey League rookie camps. Stephen MacAulay and Ryan Tesink (both St. Louis), Danick Gauthier and Alexandre Beauregard (both Phoenix), Mathieu Corbeil (Columbus), Stanislav Galiev (Washington), Jonathan Huberdeau (Florida), Tomas Jurco (Detroit), Scott Oke (Dallas), Pierre Durepos (Los Angeles), Ian Saab (Vancouver) and Zack Phillips (Minnesota) were all away with their respective NHL clubs preparing for rookie tournaments and exhibition games.
The only Sea Dog who will be attending an NHL camp this fall that played on Friday was Montreal Canadiens prospect Nathan Beaulieu who will be leaving in the next couple of days. Beaulieu had three shots on goal in tonight’s game.
Saint John is now 0-2 to start the year after opening the season with a 3-1 loss against the Moncton Wildcats last night.
Not much to say about Friday's game really. Bathurst had nearly their full lineup while Saint John was playing mostly rookies. Sea Dogs fans will just have to continue to be patient with this club until the NHL guys start coming back.
Nicolas Krammer had the first good chance as he went in alone but sent the puck high and over Sea Dogs goaltender Sebastien Auger.
The Titan went to the power play at 2:01 as Danny Wicks headed off. At 2:37, Matthew Bissonnette threaded a pass perfectly through the top of the crease and found Zach O’Brien who made it 1-0 for the home side.
With the teams back at even strength, a point shot nearly found Aidan Kelly down low but couldn’t get control of the disc. A few moments later, Bissonnette nearly had an open cage but the puck couldn’t get to him.
The Titan went up 2-0 at 5:58. Following a faceoff win, Sebastien Trudeau fired a point shot that was kicked away by Auger. The rebound went to O’Brien who had an open net again for his second of the match.
Bathurst went back to the power play at 8:16 as Devon Oliver-Dares was called for goaltender interference. Olivier Houle had a decent chance in the slot but was robbed by the glove of Auger.
The Dogs went to their first power play at 13:47 but couldn’t get anything going. Just as Etienne Salvail stepped out of the box, Jordan Murray took a delay of game penalty at 15:49 to send the Dogs back to the man advantage. On this power play, Nathan Beaulieu had a few opportunities but couldn’t connect.
Saint John had a late man advantage as Houle was called for holding at 18:58. Brock Morrison created a good chance down low but couldn’t beat Bathurst goaltender Robert Steeves.
The Titan had a 9-6 shots on goal edge in the first.
The Sea Dogs power play carried over into the second period. 55 seconds in a Spencer MacDonald shot was bobbled by Steeves, allowing Brock Morrison to score and make it a one-goal affair.
Bathurst went back to the power play at 2:43 and had some good pressure on. Then at 4:14 Kevin Gagne went to the box. Trudeau had a great chance down low but Auger slid across the crease and made a nice stop.
At 5:48 on a man advantage, Marc-Olivier Mimar scored from along the goal line as he squeezed the puck past Auger to make it a 3-1 Bathurst lead.
Just 12 seconds later, Auger made the initial stop but the puck got behind him and allowed Ludovic Kabambi to tap it in and make it a 4-1 Titan lead.
With MacDonald in the box for tripping, Trudeau finished off a great passing play and had a wide open net to give the home side a 5-1 advantage.
Saint John went to the man advantage at 12:27 but once again had nothing to show for it.
At 17:20, Sean Giardi headed off to give the Dogs yet another power play. But just like the others, Saint John just couldn’t pull together enough offense to get another on the board.
Just as the penalty expired at 19:20, O’Brien went in alone and beat Auger. That would give the Titan sniper a hat trick in his first contest of the season.
Bathurst outshot Saint John 10-9 in the middle frame.
O’Brien nearly scored his fourth of the game down low but was stopped by Auger.
After a few minutes of back-and-fourth play, the Sea Dogs went back to the power play at 6:55 but once again failed to generate anything.
A few minutes after the power play had expired, Benjamin Hade fired a point shot that trickled just wide of the net.
The Titan offense kept clicking at 10:52 as Bissonnette beat the Saint John netminder to make it a 7-1 affair.
As if Bathurst hadn't rubbed it in enough, Alec Jon Banville netted a shorthanded marker at 11:16 to extend his team’s lead to 8-1.
Saint John had yet another power play 14:29 but, shockingly, couldn’t get on the board.
In the final minute, MacDonald had a decent opportunity as he shot the disc from the dot but was denied by Steeves.
Shots in the third period were 8-8.
Saint John went an ugly 1-for-9 on the power play while Bathurst went 3-for-5.
NOTES: See SN tomorrow for more coverage.
NEXT GAME: The Sea Dogs travel to Cape Breton next Friday to face the Screaming Eagles. It will be Cape Breton’s home opener.