FINAL: Sea Dogs 1, Tigres 2
VICTORIAVILLE, Que. – All good things must come to an end.
The Saint John Sea Dogs found that out the hard way this afternoon/evening in Victoriaville, falling 2-1 to the Tigres in Quebec Major Junior Hockey League play. The loss ends the Sea Dogs’ winning streak at 15 games and their unbeaten in regulation streak at 22 games.
It’s a hard pill to swallow right now. The Sea Dogs hadn’t lost a regulation game since December 30 in Bathurst and hadn’t lost in any way since a shootout defeat on January 15 against Drummondville. But losing happens. Prior to this one, the team had lost five games in regulation and two in extra time. They rebounded from those loses and they will overcome this one.
The Sea Dogs just didn’t have it in this contest. There were times when the Dogs had plenty of pressure on but then there were times when they were sloppy and unorganized, allowing the Tigres to dictate the play. It wasn’t a typical game from the top-ranked team in the Canadian Hockey League.
Even in the third period and down a goal, Saint John couldn’t overcome whatever problems they were having. Victoriaville put on a show, outshooting the Sea Dogs 12-3 in the final 20 minutes of play.
The only Saint John goal came from captain Mike Thomas in the second period. Goaltender Mathieu Corbeil was fairly solid once again in net, making 23 saves in the loss.
Philippe Maillet and Pierre-Luc Pelletier each scored for the winners. Antonio Mastropietro put on a clinic at times, stopping 25 shots in the win. The Tigres played an all around great game and did what they had to do in order defeat the top team in the QMJHL.
The Sea Dogs will look to rebound tomorrow in Shawinigan against the team that should give them the most trouble on this three-in-three road trek.
Stanislav Galiev was in close early in the first period and had his shot stopped by Victoriaville netminder Antonio Mastropietro. The rebound came loose to Michael Kirkpatrick in the crease but sent the puck wide of the cage. Soon after, Alexandre Beauregard made some nice moves to get into the danger area but missed the net high and wide.
The Tigres went to the power play at 3:15 as Kevin Gagne was called for hooking Benjamin Laliberte. But the home team had no good chances on the man advantage as Saint John appeared to have a fairly easy time killing the penalty off.
Back at even strength, Tomas Jurco centered the puck for Kirkpatrick in the crease but he was held up nicely by a Tigres defender. Victoriaville then had a pretty good chance back the other way as Carl-Antoine Delisle had a step down the wing but Sea Dogs netminder Mathieu Corbeil was there to make the stop.
A few minutes after Kevin Gagne had point his shot stopped, the Tigres would open the scoring. A point shot was blocked in front and the puck plucked down in front. Philippe Maillet was there to swipe the disc through the legs of Corbeil to make it 1-0 at 12:12.
The Dogs had a power play opportunity at 14:21 but they couldn’t get many good shots off.
Later on in the frame, Vincent Marcoux tried to jam the puck in past a fallen Corbeil but was unable to. Several moments later, Jonathan Huberdeau looked like he would enter the crease area with the puck but was taken down nicely by Tigres defenseman Samuel Groulx.
Shots in the opening frame were 11-6 Saint John.
Just 29 second into the period, Victoriaville opened up a 2-1 lead. Pierre-Luc Pelletier sent the puck on goal but was stopped by Corbeil. Pelletier then skated in front and picked up his own rebound to give the Tigres a two-goal lead.
The Tigres kept on coming as Maillet set up Yanni Gourde on a two-on-one but was denied by the pad of Corbeil. But Saint John would start to recover when the fourth line had a great shift, creating a solid scoring chance and holding the puck for a lengthy period of time.
The Sea Dogs finally got on the board at 6:44 as the puck somehow came out in front courtesy of Kirkpatrick. Mike Thomas was wide open and beat Mastropietro high blocker side to make it a 2-1 game.
Thomas was then called for tripping at 6:57 but the Dogs would kill it off.
Saint John picked things up again after the penalty expired. Phillips sent a cross crease feed to Huberdeau who missed the shot. But Huberdeau regained the puck and sent it to Gabriel Bourret at the dot who was robbed by the leather of Mastropietro.
Thomas and Kevin Gagne then had a two-on-one chance but Thomas’ shot was blockered away by the Tigres goaltender. Guillaume Goulet then had a good chance for Victoriaville but had his point shot padded away by Corbeil.
After the Sea Dogs failed to get anything working on a power play at 13:01, Steven Anthony was stopped nicely in front. Then, late in the period, Bourret sent a long shot on goal that just hit the glove of Mastropietro. The puck came loose to Phillips in front but was once again stoned by the Tigres netminder. Jurco and Pelletier picked up roughing calls at 18:33 after a mix-up in the corner.
As the period ticked down, Huberdeau made a great deke to get around a Tigres defenseman and then cut in front. But Mastropietro was once again zoned in to make the stop.
Shots on the second period were 12-7 Saint John.
An entire fan base held their breath early in the third as Simon Despres’ arm went awkwardly into the boards on a hit. He favoured his arm/shoulder on the way to the bench but he would later return.
Delisle then had a good chance for the Tigres as he fired a backhand shot that went to the goal line and stayed out. After several minutes of blah action, Galiev was called for delay of game at 8:55 after he tossed the puck out of play. While shorthanded, Anthony and Kirkpatrick broke free on a two-on-one but Groulx went down to get a piece of the shot and deflect it out danger. Still on the power play, Hynes was robbed by a diving Corbeil.
Not long after, Anthony was called goaltender interference at 13:23. It was a joke call as a Tigres defenseman clearly pushed Anthony into Mastropietro. But the result of the penalty would not be harmful as the Dogs would kill it off.
Saint John had a big chance to tie the match at 15:35 as Pelletier was called for tripping. But the Dogs had nothing in the tank, creating no great opportunities to score.
The Dogs were completely shut down in the third. Laliberte could have put the game away late as a rebound went right on his stick but he missed the wide open cage.
Corbeil was pulled in the final minute in favour of the extra attacker. But it wouldn’t matter as the Tigres completed the upset and won 2-1.
Shots in the final stanza were an unreal 12-3 in favour of the Tigres.
The Sea Dogs went 0-for-3 on the power play while the Tigres went 0-for-4.
SAINT JOHN SCRATCHES
St. Louis Blues prospect Stephen MacAulay was given the day off and did not play. Forward Scott Oke was also a healthy scratch.
Defenseman Nathan Beaulieu was a late scratch and his status is unknown. According to News 88.9, he showed no obvious signs of injury earlier in the day.
Michael Kirkpatrick was the News 88.9 Top Dog… the Colisee Desjardins looks great after some renovations in the off-season. They now have seamless glass and a ton of spot lights… pretty much every streak ended tonight… the lines were just a mess. They started off differently as Anthony replaced Huberdeau on a line with Phillips and Galiev. In the second period, Gerard Gallant had everybody everywhere… two body suit guys at the game. The two guys seem to be pretty popular at the games as they were featured a promo video on the Tigres’ YouTube page earlier this week… Gabriel Bourret and Mike Thomas were the only Sea Dogs with a plus rating at plus-1… great game from Antonio Mastropietro… the Tigres celebrated like they had just won Game Seven after the match, jumping on Mastropietro in a huge pile that sent the net flying against the end boards… to relive the match, check out the SN Live Blog Replay.
The Sea Dogs finish their three-game road trip tomorrow afternoon at 5:00 pm in Shawinigan.
Photo Credit: La Nouvelle L'Union