Thursday, December 31, 2009


FINAL/SO: Saint John 4, Moncton 3

MONCTON – He wasn’t listed on the Sea Dogs roster, but he saved the game for Saint John. With under two minutes to go and the game tied 3-3, Marco Cousineau slid across the crease to rob the Wildcats of a two-on-one chance. The save allowed the Sea Dogs to go to defeat the Moncton Wildcats 4-3 in a shootout.

It was anything but perfect as the Sea Dogs’ special teams once again struggled with the Wildcats scoring all of their goals on the power play.

Saint John was no doubt humbled in the shootout win. They were trailing for most of the game to a Wildcats team missing nine regular players.

Right off the opening faceoff the Sea Dogs had a great chance. Stanislav Galiev broke through the Moncton defense but shot wide. Cats starter Nicola Riopel, playing his first home game of the season, was caught out of position but Galiev missed on the back hand chance.

At 17:07 the Wildcats managed to get the puck in Cousineau’s crease but he snatched it up with the leather. Then Nicholas Deschamps had a good chance in close but tipped the puck wide of the net.

The game took up a physical tone in the first period. Matt Tomah laid out Stephen MacAulay. That was followed by four straight punishing hits by the two teams in a back and forth frame.

Scott Trask was stopped by Cousineau’s pad on a turnover followed by team mates Christian Morin and Nicholas Petersen colliding in the Saint John zone.

With Olivier Daoust in the box at 8:23, Saint John went to the power play. Petersen had a terrific chance to open the scoring on a breakaway but slid his backhand shot wide. Then, the struggling Steven Anthony was stopped twice by the QMJHL’s reigning M.V.P.

Saint John had a great first penalty kill with Nicholas Pard in the box for slashing at 10:14. The Sea Dogs got sticks in the lane constantly and kept Wildcat shots to a minimum.

Fast forward to 17:03 of the period, Moncton had two great chances in close. The pressure only grew on the Dogs’ defense when Danick Gauthier took two for goalie interference at 17:26. On the power play, Alex Saulnier gave a cross crease pass to Deschamps who netted his twenty-first of the season to make it 1-0 Cats.

Shots were 8-6 Moncton in the first period.

At 1:49 Olivier Daoust high sticked Tomas Jurco by the Saint John bench. He would be okay as Nathan Beaulieu was robbed by the glove of Riopel. But with Marek Hrivik in the box, Petersen tied the game on a rebound in close. Riopel complained that he was interfered with but the goal stood.

After the goal MacAulay sent a shot just wide followed by a mad scramble in the Saint John goal with the puck not crossing the line.

At 8:53 MacAulay took a goaltender interference penalty as he stem rolled Riopel. Moncton had some good pressure on the power play but could not score.

Saint John then got into some penalty problems. Simon Despres hauled down Randy Cameron and was given four minutes for high sticking. Then Yann Sauve flipped the puck out of play and was given a delay of game penalty.

On the two man advantage, Daniel Pettersson ripped a shot high glove side and into the corner to make it 2-1 Wildcats at 16:30.

Shortly after the Cats extended their lead to 3-1 thanks to Marek Hrivik. He found the rebound that Cousineau tried to clear and scored through a screen for the imports fifteenth goal of the season.

Shots were 12-11 Moncton in the second period.

Jurco ripped a shot off the post from the faceoff dot at 1:41. That seemed to spark the Sea Dogs as Gauthier scored through the five-hole at 1:54 to make it 3-2 Sea Dogs.

Matt Tomah placed another big hit on MacAulay shortly after the goal and then Morin nailed Tomah in a quest for revenge. Gauthier had a wide open net but missed the Hoffman rebound.

Moncton had a great chance to tie the game on a two-on-one with Hrivik who passed off to Deschamps but Cousineau made the pad save.

Saint John got yet another goalie interference call at 8:38. There was mad scramble in the Sea Dog crease but the puck did not go in across the line.

At 14:35, Vancouver Canucks prospect Yann Sauve showed what veteran leadership is all about. He blasted a shot from just inside the blue line and found its way past Riopel through a massive screen to tie the game up 3-3.

With under two minutes to go, Saint John coach Gerard Gallant called a timeout. But the break backfired as Moncton broke loose on a two-on-one chance with Hoffman the only man back. Hoffman slid to try and stop a pass from happening – but it didn’t work. The pass came to the glove side of Cousineau who slid across the crease to make a tremendous game saving stop.

After regulation, shots were 32-23 Saint John.

In overtime, it was all Saint John. The Moncton defense struggled to keep up with Hoffman in corners as he looked to playing against boys once again. A few minutes later, Kirkpatrick had the best chance on a backhand that went just wide as Riopel was without a stick.

Shots were 2-2 in overtime.

Mike Hoffman shot first for Saint John in the shootout and scored five-hole on Riopel.

After Allain Saulnier was stopped, Tomas Jurco made some nice stick moves to beat the Moncton goaltender five-hole.

Alex Saulnier had to score but Cousineau made the blocker save and jumped up in celebration as the Sea Dogs came all the way back to defeat the Wildcats.

Cousineau improves to 11-14-0 on the year. Saint John went 1/5 on the power play.

Riopel suffered his first loss of the season and fell to 2-1-0. Moncton scored all of their goals on the power play and went 3/7 on the night.

NEXT GAME: Moncton Wildcats vs Saint John Sea Dogs. Saturday, January 2, 2009 at 7:00 pm at Harbour Station.

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