FINAL: Sagueneens 0, Sea Dogs 6
SAINT JOHN – The Saint John Sea Dogs can do no wrong these days.
The Port City squad has proved that they can score goals this season, but now they are showing they can play some defense as well. Karel St. Laurent and the Saint John d-men shutout the Chicoutimi Sagueneens 6-0 on Sunday afternoon at Harbour Station in Quebec Major Junior Hockey League aaction.
"We're moving the puck really well right now and all of our players are contributing at both ends of the ice,” said Sea Dogs head coach Gerard Gallant after the game to the Sea Dogs’ official Twitter page.
Saint John used a balance attack as they did on Saturday when they defeated the Acadie-Bathurst Titan 8-2 on Saturday. Six different players potted goals while three others had fights.
Scoring for the winners were Mike Hoffman, Mike Thomas, Michael Kirkpatrick, Steven Anthony, Simon Despres, and Zach Phillips.
St. Laurent made 25 saves on the night for his second shutout of the season. He didn’t have to do too much as the play was in the other end most of the night. The Sea Dogs set a team record with 56 shots on goal.
Right off the opening faceoff Stanislav Galiev had a good chance as he brought the puck into the Chicoutimi zone. Shortly after, Michael Kirkpatrick had a wraparound chance with Tomas Jurco backhanding the rebound just wide of the Sagueneens goal.
Jurco had another great chance as he tried to deke around a fallen Robin Gusse but the goaltender got his arm down just in time.
At 6:40, Napessis Andre high sticked Mike Thomas in the face and got four minutes for his actions. The Sea Dogs completely dominated the power play chance with the puck in the Chicoutimi zone for almost the entirety of the man advantage. Yann Sauve walked into the slot and rang a shot off the post and then Nicholas Petersen dinged one off the crossbar. Despite the almost goals and lots of pressure, Saint John couldn’t get on the board.
A big scramble in the Sagueneens net led to Jurco shooting the puck just wide. Then Gusse robbed Sauve again on a tipped point shot with the glove. Gusse didn’t stop there as he stopped Galiev on a bad angle shot and then stopped Steven Anthony and his rebound chance.
Michael Belanger was called for interference at 17:31. With the Dogs back on the power play, Mike Hoffman wristed a shot from just above the faceoff circle and went just inside the post and past Gusse to make it 1-0 at 18:07.
With under a minute to go in the period, Jonathan Huberdeau and Nicholas Pard went in on one of the longest two-on-one’s you will ever see. Unfortunately for the Sea Dogs, Huberdeau halted with the puck rolling off his stick.
Saint John blew out Chicoutimi in shots in the first period, firing 25 to the Sags’ six.
Chicoutimi finally had a solid chance with a two-on-one opportunity. A Sag player tried the cross ice pass to Belanger but Saint John net minder Karel St. Laurent got the paddle of his stick out to stop the attempt.
Kirkpatrick then fed Hoffman but he fired a shot just wide of the net.
At 5:15, Sagueneens defenseman Napessis Andre made it 2-0 Saint John. He tried a break out pass from behind the Chicoutimi goal and hit Mike Thomas in the leg and bounced past Gusse to give the Dogs a two goal lead.
After matching roughing penalties, Alexandre Lavoie high sticked Kevin Gagne to give the Dogs a four-on-three chance. On the power play, Mike Hoffman made a cross ice pass to a wide open Kirkpatrick who slid the puck into the wide open cage to make it 3-0 Saint John at 6:44.
Antoine Roussel just missed a big hit by Christian Morin at the blue line and skated into the Saint John zone. Roussel cut across the crease but was hauled down by Gagne to give the Sags a power play chance. Saint John did a tremendious job on the penalty kill and kept shots to an absolute minimum.
Jurco was back at it with a good chance later on. The fourth overall selection in the import draft walked in through traffic and fired a backhand shot into Gusse who made the save.
After Gusse was slow getting back to his crease from behind the net, Steven Anthony slipped the puck in short side at 12:22 to make it 4-0.
St. Laurent made a great save off Julien Houle following the goal, making a great pad save and then smothered the rebound chance. At the other end, Hoffman had a good chance to extend the lead but fired the disc high and wide.
Saint John went back to the power play at 18:59 after Chicoutimi got caught with too many men on the ice near the bench door. On the power play, Hoffman blasted a shot from just inside the blue line that banged off the crossbar for the second time on the night.
Chicoutimi played a better second period but were beginning to show signs of fatigue after playing three games in four nights prior to this contest.
Shots in the second period were 16-10 Saint John.
Just 25 seconds into the third period, Nicholas Petersen and Dominic Jalbert dropped the gloves in an unlikely fight. Petersen knocked off Jalbert’s helmet and was given a game misconduct.
Kirkpatrick then ripped a shot off the post again following the fight.
After Simon Despres went to the box at 2:09, St. Laurent stepped up in the Saint John net. He robbed a Sag with the blocker and then on the next rush stopped Eric Gelinas with a cross crease save.
Another unlikely fight happened soon after that with Jonathan Huberdeau dropping the gloves with Chicoutimi captain Antoine Roussel. It was short scrap along the boards that was eventually broken up by the officials.
Galiev hit the post again following the fight – making it the fifth time a Saint John player hit the post or crossbar in the game. Then Hoffman let a blast go from the point that went just high.
After Galiev was robbed by Gusse with the glove, Stephen MacAulay and Jeremy Barriault decided to settle their difference with a round of fisticuffs. Both players fell down however with no punches thrown.
At 11:28 Simon Despres made it 5-0 off a blast from just inside the blue line that beat Gusse up high.
Just over two minutes later at 13:55, Galiev made a terrific play to strip a Sagueneens player of the puck in his own zone. Zach Phillips picked up the puck and beat Gusse to make it 6-0 Saint John.
St. Laurent was solid the rest of the way and made a few highlight reel saves late in the game.
Shots in the third period were 15-9 Sea Dogs for a game total of 56-25.
Saint John went 2/9 on the power play while Chicoutimi went 0/3.
OFF TO THE POST-SEASON: According to Tim Roszell of News 88.9 FM, the Sea Dogs officially clinched a playoff spot with their win coupled with a Baie-Comeau lose in Cape Breton.
NOTES: See Station Nation tomorrow for Sea Dogs Post-Game Notebook.
WEDNESDAY: Stanislav Galiev joins 39 other CHL draft eligible players in Windsor, Ont. at the 2010 Home Hardware CHL/NHL Top Prospects Game. Fans can watch the game live on Rogers Sportsnet at 8:00 pm AST.
NEXT GAME: Saint John Sea Dogs vs Quebec Remparts. Friday, January 22, 2010 at 8:30 at Pepsi Colisee.