FINAL: Rocket 4, Sea Dogs 6
SAINT JOHN – With so many regular players away at National Hockey League Training Camps, several players needed to step up for the Saint John Sea Dogs.
The fresh face filled Sea Dogs lineup was highlighted by Saint John native Ryan Tesink recording two goals and an assist in the opening game of his QMJHL career. Tesink was selected by the Sea Dogs in the first round of the 2010 QMJHL Entry Draft.
His two goals would help lead the Dogs to a 6-4 win in their season opener against the PEI Rocket at Harbour Station on Friday night.
But along with the first year players stepping up, several returning players also showed no signs of rust to help Saint John win their third straight season opener.
Michael Kirkpatrick, wearing the “C” With Mike Thomas away at Edmonton Oilers rookie camp, recorded three assists. Tomas Jurco added a pair of goals while Jonathan Huberdeau and Kevin Gagne each registered single markers.
Karel St. Laurent stopped 23 pucks for the win. Rocket net minder Evan Mosher made 28 saves.
PEI goals came courtesy of Travis McIsaac, Jordan Escott, Ben Duffy, and Josh Currie.
After a slow first few minutes, Gagne opened the scoring at 5:54. Kirkpatrick fed the puck to an open Gagne who quickly wired a shot off the glove of Mosher and in to make it 1-0 Saint John.
Danick Gauthier had two solid scoring chances following the initial marker but was robbed by the Rocket ‘tender both times.
PEI tied the affair at 14:25 after St. Laurent let out a large rebound on a point shot. McIsaac found the puck and curved it around a blind St. Laurent to knot the game at one apiece.
Escott gave the Rocket the lead at 16:47 when he banged in a shot that just trickled through St. Laurent and over the line to make it 2-1.
Huberdeau had the puck along the side boards soon after, sending a crisp pass to a streaking Kirkpatrick in close. Mosher would stop the initial shot, but Tesink was in perfect position to bury the rebound tie the game at 2-2 at 18:31.
The Rocket took the lead again at 19:35 when Duffy ripped a shot inside the zone that rose over St. Laurent’s shoulder and off the crossbar. The puck would find blue paint to make it 3-2 for the visitors.
But the back-and-forth first period didn’t end there as Jurco wristed a shot that beat Mosher down low to tie the game going into intermission.
Shots in the opening frame were 16-11 Sea Dogs.
The only scoring in the second came courtesy of Huberdeau, who banged home the puck while falling to the ice in the crease at 0:45. That gave Saint John a 4-3 lead.
Shots in the middle stanza were 7-4 Sea Dogs.
In the third, PEI tied the match once again at 12:08. A pass from along the goal line went through the Sea Dogs crease and found the stick of Currie. The right winger made no mistake by dishing the disc into the empty cage to make it a 4-4 hockey game.
But on a partial breakaway at 13:11, Jurco beat Mosher with a wrist shot to give Saint John their lead back.
Tesink would add the insurance marker at 19:09 on a breakaway with an empty net in front of him to make it a 6-4 final.
Shots in the final period were 12-11 PEI.
Saint John outshot the Rocket in the game 34-27.
The Sea Dogs were 0/5 on the power play and PEI went 0/4.
NEXT GAME: The Sea Dogs host the Cape Breton Screaming Eagles tonight at 7:00 pm at Harbour Station.