SEA DOGS – JUNIORS GAME AT A GLANCE
Final Score: Montreal 2, Saint John 5
Saint John Goals: Jonathan Huberdeau (7,8), Stephen MacAulay (2), Zach Phillips (6), and Tomas Jurco (9)
Montreal Goals: Louis Leblanc (4) and Francis Meilleur (3)
Winning Goaltender: SNB – Frederic Piche
Losing Goaltender: MTL – Jean-Francois Berube
New 88.9 Top Dog: Steven Anthony
Power Play: Juniors: 1/4, Sea Dogs: 2/4
Shots on Goal: Juniors: 10+13+13=36, Sea Dogs: 8+10+10=26
DOGS GET BACK AT JUNIORS
The Montreal Juniors ended the Saint John Sea Dogs’ winning streak to start the season last month in Verdun, defeating the Dogs 4-1 and dominating them along the way. But Saint John got some revenge, beating the Juniors 5-2 at Harbour Station on Sunday in the final meeting between the two teams in the regular season.
The Juniors opened the scoring early in the first after a point shot produced a juicy rebound for Louis Leblanc at the side of the goal. Leblanc would calm the puck down and fire it past Frederic Piche to make it 1-0 in the power play.
But Saint John would respond with Jonathan Huberdeau beating Jean-Francois Berube with a fluky goal to tie it at 1-1. The Dogs would take the lead in the late stages of the first when Stephen MacAulay beat Berube with a wraparound goal to make it 2-1 after one.
"The first period of this game was a bit suspect, but we played (well) for five out of six periods this weekend,'' Steven Anthony said to the Telegraph-Journal, also referencing Friday's 6-2 win over Moncton. "We have a lot of speed and skill, but there are good defencemen in this league and we can't try to beat guys 1-on-1 all the time.”
Montreal tied the match at 9:10 of the second with a high point shot that blew through traffic.
Anthony fed Zach Phillips in front at 12:57 on the power play to get Saint John’s lead back. Then, Tomas Jurco hit the post down low but deposited his own rebound to make it 4-2. Huberdeau closed out the frame with a hard wrist shot that beat Berube through the five-hole, giving Saint John a 5-2 lead after 40 minutes.
In the third, Montreal started to take momentum away from Saint John and had some solid scoring chances. Piche stood tall in the Sea Dogs’ crease, stopping 13 shots in the frame.
"It's a 5-2 game and the guys relaxed and I was yelling a lot in the last seven minutes because I was upset,” said Sea Dogs head coach Gerard Gallant. “You can't keep turning that switch on and off.''
Despite the Juniors’ power surge in the third, the Sea Dogs would go on to win 5-2.
ST. LAURENT A NO SHOW
It became clear just prior to puck drop that 20-year old goaltender Jacob De Serrres had been claimed off waivers from the Brandon Wheat Kings by Saint John. With De Serres being an overage net minder, Karel St. Laurent’s time in Saint John appears to be over.
“The Port City squad is expected to make an announcement this week regarding the future of St. Laurent, whose 21-save effort helped Saint John to a 6-2 win over Moncton Friday night,” reports the Telegraph-Journal today.
St. Laurent took warm-up and came through the inflatable Sea Dogs entrance just like every other player. With Frederic Piche starting in net, the third year Dog sat on the bench in front of the tunnel leading to Saint John’s dressing room.
But as the players came out to start the second, it was clear that St. Laurent was not there. Piche would not have a backup for the remainder of the game.
It certainly appears that something didn’t go as planned in this whole situation. There was no point in dressing St. Laurent if he would find out mid-game that his services were no longer needed, but it looked like news leaked out of the WHL. Twitter was going crazy before the game as half the city of Brandon was tweeting about it. Nathan White had an article posted on Buzzing the Net before the first period ended.
The Sea Dogs will likely try and trade St. Laurent.
Despite all the goaltending drama, Frederic Piche played very well in the Sea Dogs' crease. The 19-year old made some spectacular saves in net, facing 36 shots on the night. He improved to 3-1-0-1 on the season with the victory.
With De Serrres coming in, Piche will likely see his playing time reduced to a pure backup role.
END OF A TRIP
With Yesterday’s loss, Montreal wrapped up a three-in-three road swing through Atlantic Canada. The trip began with a 5-3 win in Halifax on Friday, a 3-2 shootout loss in Moncton on Saturday night, and then their 5-2 loss at Harbour Station on Sunday.
Of a possible six points, they collected three.
GOOD TIMES AT THE STATION
With the win, Saint John has yet to lose at Harbour Station this year and improved to 5-0-0-0 on the season at home. They have been dominating on home ice this season, averaging just under six goal per game.
LOUIS, LOUIS, LOUIS
Sunday was the only time Saint John fans would get a chance to see 2009 Montreal Canadiens first round pick Louis Leblanc in a Juniors jersey (with the exception of the two teams possibly meeting in the post-season).
Leblanc scored a power play goal in the first period, finished the game with a zero rating, and had a team high eight shots on goal. The center also had two hits.
There were a few Habs fans in the house showing their support for Leblanc, who will likely suit up for Team QMJHL in November at the Subway Super Series. There were no riots after the game.
HUB GETS AN HONORABLE MENTION
Jonathan Huberdeau wasn’t named one of the Yahoo! Sports CHL three stars of the night, but he did get an honorable mention.
“There is nothing ho-hum about how Huberdeau does it, but days like Sunday (two goals in a 5-2 Sea Dogs win over the Montreal Juniors) are starting to seem like old hat for the 2011 draft prospect,” wrote Neate Sager.
THIS ONE IS FOR HOPKINS
Last week, we brought you where referee Jeff Hopkins ate at before he performed his duties at Centre 200 in Cape Breton. He enjoyed us sharing the info very much, so yesterday he tweeted us what he had for lunch – even though he wasn’t an official in the Saint John game.
@station_nation .. Since you think its important enough to post on SN.. Lunch today was Ham & Swiss Sandwhich from Tim Hortons w/ XL 1 & 1.Can’t go wrong with Tim Hortons. Excellent choice.
OUT OF TOWN
From The Canadian Press:
Elsewhere in the QMJHL it was Victoriaville 4 Lewiston 2, Moncton 5 Halifax 1, Victoriaville 4 Lewiston 2, Drummondville 3 Chicoutimi 1, Gatineau 4 Baie-Comeau 3 and Acadie-Bathurst 4 Shawinigan 2.
Decent fight between Tyler Howe of the Wildcats and Sawyer Hannay of the Mooseheads yesterday:
Cordon Bleu sponsored the game. Along with a hosting a food drive at the main entrance of Harbour Station, old school thunder sticks were handed out… apparently the Juniors – Sea Dogs box score section of the QMJHL website was not operating for some time… no Sea Dog had a minus rating… Trevor Parkes was the only Montreal player with a plus rating at +1… a small crowd of 3,112 watched the game. Attendance was down just about everywhere due to Thanksgiving Sunday… Steven Anthony and Mike Thomas had two assists.
The Sea Dogs host the Rimouski Oceanic tomorrow night at 7:00 pm at Harbour Station. Designated ‘Toonie Tuesday’, special $2 youth tickets are available for this game with the purchase of an adult seat.
Photo Credits: SaintJohnSeaDogs.com, David Connell Photography