CHICOUTIMI, Que. – The Saint John Sea Dogs decided to lose their first playoff game of the year in heartbreaking fashion on Tuesday night in Chicoutimi.
Etienne Brodeur scored at 7:26 of the first overtime frame to give the Chicoutimi Sagueneens a 5-4 win in Game 3 of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League semifinal. The win gives the Sags some life in this series as they now trail Saint John 2-1 heading into Game 4 on Thursday night.
It was a heartbreaking loss in many ways. The Dogs blew two leads in the third period. Former Sea Dog Gabriel Bourret scored the game tying goal late in the third. They could have won this game despite playing far below perfect hockey.
But, this is what makes the playoffs so fun. One night you win by three goals and have a commanding series lead and the next you suffer a heartbreaking loss that sways momentum the other way. We’ve got a playoff series now.
Chiocutimi had a 2-0 lead after 20 minutes but the Sea Dogs stormed back in the second, firing 24 shots on goal and scoring twice. The Dogs then took a 3-2 lead in the third but the Sags tied it soon after. The Dogs then took a 4-3 lead but the Sags tied it soon after. You know what happened in overtime.
The Sags had a pair of goals from Jean-Gabriel Pageau and solos from Charles Hudon, Bourret, and Brodeur. Goaltender Christopher Gibson came up huge at times, making 42 saves in the win.
Saint John had markers from Nathan Beaulieu, Tomas Jurco, Ryan Tesink, and Danick Gauthier. Mathieu Corbeil had a busy night, allowing five goals on 33 shots.
If anything positive can come out of this, 1) it is better to lose in April and fix some things than to lose in May and 2) you have something to do on Saturday in Saint John.
Game 4 should be a dandy on Thursday night.
Both teams had some good chances early on. Stanislav Galiev fed Zack Phillips on a two-on-one but he didn’t get a shot off. Then Phillips fed Charlie Coyle in the crease but couldn’t get a shot off either.
Lukas Sedlak had a great chance moments later but Mathieu Corbeil made a fine stop to keep it scoreless.
The Sags headed to a long five-on-three power play at 9:15 when Nathan Beaulieu joined Maxime Villemaire in the box. Jean-Gabriel Pageau had Chicoutimi’s best chance but was robbed by the pad of Corbeil.
Saint John headed to the power play at 10:56. Charles Roussel was denied by Christopher Gibson in front and them Galiev tipped a shot of the Chicoutimi goaltender’s glove and stayed out.
The Sags opened the scoring at 14:09. Charles Hudon fired a hard shot on net from a ways out. Corbeil got a piece of it but it went in to make it 1-0 for the home side.
The Dogs had to kill another penalty at 15:54. But Saint John would have a great chance during the span as Coyle made some nice moves in front to give himself some space but was stopped by Gibson.
The Dogs headed back to the man advantage at 17:16 but couldn’t get much going. Danick Gauthier nailed the post late in the power play.
With 15 seconds remaining in the period, Saint John turned the puck over and allowed Christian Ouellet to feed Pageau. The Ottawa Senators prospect put it in to make it 2-0 Chicoutimi after 20 minutes.
Shots were 13-12 Sags in the first.
Jurco split the Chicoutimi defense early on in the second but shot it wide. A little later on, another Saint John turnover allowed Pageau to be all alone with the puck above the crease but it scooted off his stick.
Some rough stuff at 6:44 created some four-on-four action. Jurco had another good chance but Gibson got a blocker on it.
Later on in the period, Tesink got smoked as he tried to make a move around a Chicoutimi defenseman.
Saint John headed to a four-on-three power play at 12:53. After a couple of chances, the Sea Dogs called a timeout. Whatever they went over seemed to work as Nathan Beaulieu blasted a shot that got past Gibson to make it a 2-1 contest at 13:48.
Then at 14:13 Pierre Durepos flipped the puck out of play, putting Saint John on a crucial penalty kill. But the Dogs would do more than just kill off the penalty as a turnover allowed Jurco to have a breakaway. He made no mistake, tying the game at 2-2 at 15:38.
Not long after, Simon Tremblay was parked in front and fired the puck off the post. The play would be reviewed later on but it was ruled no goal. After Tremblay hit the post, Gibson made a big glove save on Phillips.
At 18:56, Gabriel Bourret hooked Jonathan Huberdeau as he tried to cut through the crease, giving the Dogs a power play to start the third.
Shots were 24-6 Saint John in the second period. This is not a typo.
Saint John couldn’t get much going on the power play that carried over so the game remained tied.
At 2:27, Tesink gave Saint John a 3-2 lead. Gibson allowed a rebound and Tesink pushed it in to give the Dogs their first lead.
But then at 2:42, Pageau quickly tied it up at 4-4 as he beat Corbeil five-hole.
A little while later, Tesink got rocked again with a big hit. This time he remained down and required the assistance of Jeff Kelly. He stayed in the game, though.
After that hit, it was all Chicoutimi as they had lots of pressure on but couldn’t get many shots on goal. Jurco then took a big hit along the end boards.
A little later on, Guillaume Asselin had a wonderful chance but couldn’t deposit the puck into an open cage.
Then at 16:43, Gauthier entered the zone and ripped a hard wrist shot past Gibson to give Saint John a late lead.
But the unthinkable happened at 17:27 as former Sea Dog Gabriel Bourret tied it at 4-4 to send this thing to overtime.
Shots were 9-8 Sea Dogs in the third.
Both teams had some chances early on in the extra frame.
Finally, Etienne Brodeur scored on a long shot that just beat Corbeil at 7:26 of overtime to give Chicoutimi a 5-4 win. Brodeur then performed an amazing celebration.
Shots in OT were 6-1 Sags.
NOTES: See Sea Dogs Postscript tomorrow on SN.
NEXT GAME: Game 4 of the series is Thursday night at 8:30pm in Chicoutimi.