FINAL/SO: Saint John 4, Halifax 3
(Ed. Note: All penalty stats, including penalty times, are unavailable on the QMJHL score sheet this evening)
HALIFAX, NS – After letting their lead slip away last Saturday, the Saint John Sea Dogs used some comeback skills tonight against the Halifax Mooseheads.
The Sea Dogs battled back from a 2-0 first period deficit to defeat the Mooseheads 4-3 in a shootout in Quebec Major Junior Hockey League action at the Halifax Metro Centre on Saturday night.
Although it wasn’t the greatest of wins, Saint John played well enough to pick up the “W” and the extra point against a young Halifax team loaded with potential.
At times it was clear Saint John was dominating, but at other times, it looked as Halifax could easily walk away with their first home win of the season. There were several entertaining moments of quick transition play as puck battles moved from one side of the ice to the other.
Saint John goals came courtesy of hometown boys Stephen MacAulay and Steven Anthony while Jonathan Huberdeau added another. Tomas Jurco and Huberdeau scored in the shootout for the Dogs.
Karel St. Laurent played well in goal after a bit of a shaky start. He stopped 32 of 35 shots for the win.
Halifax goals came from Carl Gelinas (two) and Martin Frk. Frk also scored in the shootout. Goaltender Mathieu Corbeil allowed three goals on 37 shots.
Christian Morin headed to the box early on for elbowing after nailing Jamie Bishop. On the power play, Halifax made the Sea Dogs play.
At 4:01 on the man advantage, Carl Gelinas picked up his own rebound in front and beat Karel St. Laurent in the Sea Dogs net to make it 1-0 Herd.
Following some slow play, the Mooseheads struck again. A point shot led to a Halifax forward picking up a loose puck at the side of the net and going behind the net with it. He centered for Martin Frk in front who went down to one knee and beat St. Laurent was a snap shot to make it 2-0 for the home side.
The Sea Dogs gained some life following the second Halifax goal. Zach Phillips let a long shot go and then skated in to backhand the rebound but hit the big red pad of Mathieu Corbeil.
Saint John got on the board at 10:51 when Ryan Tesink skated around the net with the puck and centered it through the crease. Stephen MacAulay was there to jam it by Corbeil along the post to make it a 2-1 game.
Halifax almost had a two-on-none chance following Saint John’s goal but it was whistled down as offside. Saint John found some life after that. During a period of four-on-four action, Danick Gauthier made a nice move at the hash marks to get around his man but was stopped.
Then, MacAulay had a partial break but Garrett Clarke made a nice play to break up the solo rush.
Shots in the opening stanza were 9-8 Mooseheads.
At 1:51, Saint John tied the game at 2-2. Phillips entered the zone and fired a shot that defelected off the trapper of Corbeil in the Moose goal and let loose a big rebound. Steven Anthony found the puck and wristed a shot on goal that found the back of the cage to tie the affair.
The Dogs started to gain control of the game following the evening goal. Stanislav Galiev and Tomas Jurco each had a great chance, which highlighted some intense offensive pressure by Saint John.
MacAulay and Mooseheads' pest Garrett Clarke dropped the gloves later on. Clarke won the bought and got some good punches in on MacAulay before the two dropped to the ice. The Mooseheads appeared to be sparked following the tilt.
At 7:10, Alex Lemieux crossed the line with the disc on a two-on-one opportunity for the Mooseheads. Lemieux centered for Gelinas who made a beautiful move around St. Laurent to get the Herd back in front by score of 3-2.
With Kevin Gagne in the box, Gabriel Desjardins let a weak shot go through the crease. The shot seemed to fool St. Laurent as he went down on all fours before the puck squirted out the other side.
The Sea Dogs would end the period on a solid note with the team slowly picking up some pressure again. Gabriel Bourrett let a point shot go that was deflected by Galiev and forced Corbeil to make a nice save. Then, Nathan Beaulieu ripped a one timer at the side of the net but was denied by the Halifax net minder.
Shots in the middle frame were 10-9 Saint John
It was some more wild and whacky back-and-forth play in the third period. A Halifax three-on-one break led to St. Laurent making a terrific toe stop to keep the Mooseheads lead at one.
At 3:07, Saint John’s leading scorer tied the game at 3-3. Gauthier threaded a perfect pass from the faceoff dot to Huberdeau down low. The Sea Dogs sophomore slipped the puck under Corbeil to tie the match. The goal was reviewed but was quickly made an official marker.
Following the goal, scoring chances galore opened up for both teams. Kirkpatrick had two excellent shots on goal before Gelinas almost completed his hat trick with a beautiful wraparound on the Saint John goal, only to be stopped by the toe of the Sea Dogs net minder.
During the middle stages of the frame, Christian Morin and Charles Bety dropped the gloves in a spirited tilt. Both players landed some great punches in each other’s grill before tumbling to the ice. Bety got the worst of it, skating off to the penalty box with a cut on his nose.
The Mooseheads headed to power play later on, and they dominated on it. The puck was in the Halifax zone for most of the two minute span, with the best scoring chance coming when Travis Randell rang a shot off the post.
Soon after, Huberdeau centered the disc to Galiev but fanned on the shot. But on the same play, Galiev made a terrific move on the back check to keep the puck inside the offensive zone. Galiev cranked a slap shot off the post with a huge rebound going to Kirkpatrick with a wide open net. But the Sea Dogs captain missed the yawning cage and was no doubt in disbelief following his efforts.
After a faceoff in the offensive zone, Gauthier somehow managed to get the puck in the crease area without anyone really noticing. Tesink almost had a stick on it to jam the puck home but Corbeil recovered to keep the rubber out.
Halifax had their own solid chances in the period. Gelinas led a two-on-one break out for the Herd but was denied. Then Alex Lemieux hammered Galiev from behind with no penalty being called on the play.
Soon after, Kirkpatrick fed MacAulay in front but he whiffed on the shot. As play headed up ice, Clarke leveled Kirkpatrick at center ice with clean open ice hit. But the game was saved in the dying seconds of the third when St. Laurent threw his glove up in hopes of stopping a point blank shot. He did – forcing the game into a session of overtime tied at 3-3.
Shots in the third were 16-14 Halifax.
The best scoring chance of overtime came in the opening few seconds when Jurco fed Phillips with a cross ice pass but the Fredericton native ripped a shot off the post – a shot that even News 88.9’s Tim Roszell thought had gone in.
Shots in the sudden death frame were 4-1 Saint John.
Tomas Jurco, the CHL shootout poster boy, shot first and beat Corbeil with a deke to the forehand. But Martin Frk would tie it by going upstairs on St. Laurent. The import would then hold his hand up to his ear as he skated by the Dogs' bench.
Jonathan Huberdeau would make it 2-1 with his trademark move. Then Gelinas came up short for the Mooseheads by going postal.
Steven Anthony and Darcy Ashley would both miss in the final round to give Saint John the 4-3 victory and the extra point.
NOTES: See Sea Dogs Postscript tomorrow.
NEXT GAME: Saint John visits Cape Breton on Sunday at 4:00 pm.