FINAL: Moncton 2, Saint John 4
SAINT JOHN - The Saint John Sea Dogs took on the Moncton Wildcats in the first game of the annual Rivalry Cup on Wednesday night.
3,094 fans attended the anticipated game. Saint John versus Moncton games have always been popular with fans as each year sees the rivalry grow a little bit more. This year should prove no different.
Sebastien Auger took his position between the pipes while Alex Dubeau prepared to defend Moncton’s net.
Moncton and Saint John both leapt into action. It was Moncton however at 4:43 who took the first penalty of the night as Yannick Veilleux was called for tripping. This set Saint John up for a nice play as they raced the net, Jonathan Racine slid in behind the occupied Dubeau to block the shot.
Wildcat Ross Johnston sent the Dogs back to the power play, also with a tripping call at 8:08 as he sent Jakub Izacky to the ice.
This was the opening Saint John was looking for as Jonathan Huberdeau broke through Moncton’s defenses, scoring the first goal of the game, assisted by Kevin Gagne and Stephen MacAulay at 9:29 on the power play.
The Sea Dogs soon found themselves on the penalty kill as Jurij Repe was sent to the box at the 10:00 mark for Interference.
Moncton’s Danick Emond was next to the box at 14:12 with a tripping call sending the Sea Dogs back to the ice with the upper hand advantage.
Jonathan Huberdeau once again delivered on the power play to bring the score 2-0 as Kevin Gagne and Ryan Tesink each grabbed an assist.
Things began to heat up as the frustration began to show in the Moncton players as hits became a little harder and things got a little rough. Both teams headed to the box at 15:15 as Jonathan Racine and Devon Oliver-Dares were called for roughing. Penalties continued a minute later at 16:15 as Wildcat Ivan Barbashev took a diving call and Sea Dog Jurij Repe was sent off for hooking.
The first period would finish with a shots on goal total of 14-9 in favour of the Sea Dogs.
In what seemed like an even matched period, things took a sudden turn at the midway point as the Wildcats took control of the frame.
The Saulnier brothers went on the offensive at 10:58 with Alex Saulnier snagging a goal against Auger thanks to Allain Saulnier and Danick Emond’s assist. That would put the Cats on the board at 2-1.
An unfortunate tripping call against Oliver Cooper would send Moncton on the power play and result in Patrick Downe bringing the score to a tied game at 2-2 with the help of Ivan Barbashev and Mitchell Deruelle at 13:59.
The second period would end tied 2-2 but not before Stephen MacAulay was called for hooking at 16:15. A scuffle broke out between Yannick Veilleux and Kevin Gagne, earning each two minutes to cool down as they served roughing penalties at 17:50. Finally, Moncton’s James Melindy served the final penalty of the period at 18:25 as he was called for checking from behind.
Shots on goal total for the second period was 11-5, once again in favour of Saint John.
The third period got underway and fans watched a very back and forth match for the first six minutes before Harbour Station erupted as Wildcat Patrick Downe was called for roughing. His two minute penalty sent fans into disbelief as a very angry Jonathan Huberdeau, the victim of Downe’s questionable hit, headed back to the bench. Huberdeau would leave the game soon after and did not return.
Rallying from the attack on their captain, the Sea Dogs went on to score their 3rd goal of the night, giving them the lead 3-2 thanks to Stephen MacAulay and assisted by Jason Seed and jakub Izacky, at 7:19.
With 23 seconds left of the game, hometown favorite Ryan Tesink sunk the last goal of the game into an empty net. This would end the game with a Sea Dog victory over their old rivals with a 4-2 score.
Shots on goal for the period were 10-9 for the Dogs with a final game total of 35-23, again in favour of Saint John.
NOTES: See Sea Dogs Postscript tomorrow on SN.
NEXT GAME: The Sea Dogs play their next game against the Gatineau Olympiques on Saturday with puck drop at 7:00 pm at Harbour Station.
Photo: Marc Henwood/Station Nation
Photo: Marc Henwood/Station Nation