Tuesday, March 29, 2011
EAGLES ON THE BRINK
FINAL: Sea Dogs 5, Screaming Eagles 1
SYDNEY, NS – The Saint John Sea Dogs are one win away from advancing to the second round of the 2011 Quebec Major Junior Hockey League playoffs.
The Sea Dogs defeated the Cape Breton Screaming Eagles 5-1 at Centre 200 on Tuesday night and are now the owners of a commanding 3-0 advantage in the best-of-seven first round playoff series. Game Four, which could be the final game of the season for Cape Breton, is Wednesday night at 7:00 pm in Sydney.
Jonathan Huberdeau, Steven Anthony, Kevin Gagne, Stanislav Galiev, and Tomas Jurco all scored for Saint John in the victory. Michael Kirkpatrick had three assists while Jurco added two helpers to go along with his goal.
It wasn’t the Sea Dogs’ most dominating victory of the series but it was certainly enough for the win. In the three games of this playoff matchup, Saint John has now outscored Cape Breton 22-2. One of the stories was once again the Dogs’ power play. They were given just four opportunities on this night but still went 50% on the man advantage.
It was definitely Cape Breton’s best match of the series so far and had some decent scoring pressure on at times. They were blocking shots and trying to grind the Sea Dogs down with some physical play, but like in the first two matches, it just wasn’t enough to contain Saint John.
Cape Breton fired 22 shots on goal and forced Sea Dogs netminder Jacob DeSerres to make a few good stops. Dany Potvin scored the lone Eagles goal in the loss while goalie Andre Hayes made 28 stops.
Michael Kirkpatrick had a chance early on with a wraparound attempt but was stopped nicely be Cape Breton goaltender Andrew Hayes. Danick Gauthier was then stopped in a close a few minutes, producing a rebound that Ryan Tesink but he couldn’t hang on as he danced through the blue paint.
Cape Breton then shocked the world by having some sustained pressure. The Eagles had a couple of good chances but couldn't cash in on their best opportunity as Stanislav Galiev picked up a loose puck that goaltender Jacob DeSerres couldn’t hold onto.
Spencer Metcalfe, fresh off a two-game suspension, headed to the box for cross-checking at 7:10. Just four seconds into the power play, Simon Despres let a point shot go that hit an Eagle player and deflected to Jonathan Huberdeau at the side of the goal. Hayes had no chance on the play and Huberdeau had an easy goal to make it 1-0 Saint John.
Mike Thomas then stepped up shortly after the marker, nailing William Carrier in the faceoff circle with a clean open ice hit.
Tomas Jurco then had a good scoring chance as a pass down low found him but was stopped by the Eagles backstop.
Cape Breton tied the match at 14:14. Denis Kindl centered the puck and found Dany Potvin at the other side to tie the affair at 1-1.
But just six seconds later, Jurco came across the line and partially split the defense before wiring a shot on net. Hayes let a big rebound go and Steven Anthony had an open cage to make it a 2-1 tilt.
Fast forward to 19:12, Kevin Gagne fired a wrist shot that hit something on its way to the net, beating Hayes to give the Dogs a two-goal lead going into intermission.
Shots in the first period were 14-10 Saint John.
Kirkpatrick was along the boards early in the frame and sent a pass to a streaking Anthony. The Nova Scotian broke in alone but sailed a backhand shot wide of the goal. Shortly after, Nick Parker led a two-on-one charge for the Eagles but was sent it high.
The next several minutes was the equivalent of watching paint dry as the teams skated from one end to the other, occasionally making line changes and chips off the boards.
Things picked back up again as Anthony had another great chance in close but had his backhand shot stopped by Hayes.
The Sea Dogs struck again at 10:04. Galiev picked up the puck in the slot and spun around. He shot the disc glove side on Hayes and got it past the goaltender to give Saint John a 4-1 edge.
At 11:11, Gelinas and Brad Cuzner dropped the gloves in the neutral zone. It was a short bout with Cuzner getting the better of Gelinas. The Sea Dogs’ defenseman jersey came off, earning him a 10-minute misconduct along with his fighting major.
Dany Potvin was then sprung on a breakaway by getting around a Saint John d-man but was denied by DeSerres. The Sea Dogs goaltender kept coming up big as he stopped a couple of Eagles at the side of the crease.
Jean Kristoff Grenier had a wide open cage late in the frame with DeSerres way out in front of crease. Somehow, he missed the yawning the cage. The Eagles then had a power play at 16:36 with Simon Despres in the box but couldn’t generate anything.
Marc-Andre Kaiser was called for roughing at 19:14. On the man advantage, Zack Phillips hit the post on what would prove to be Saint John’s last good chance of the period. At 19:57, a scrum saw Huberdeau pick up a roughing penalty along with Morgan Ellis and Metcalfe for Cape Breton.
Shots in the middle stanza were 9-8 Sea Dogs.
Saint John started the third period on a five-on-three man advantage. They would make Cape Breton pay for their actions as Phillip centered the puck for Jurco in the crease. After a couple of bats, the Slovakian slid one home to make it 5-1 Sea Dogs.
With the man advantage over, some rough stuff created some four-on-four action for Saint John at 4:17 with Ryan Tesink and Cuzner heading off. Nothing would come of it, however.
The Dogs went back to the power play at 7:03 with Parker in the box but nothing would happen. Soon after the penalty expired, Raman Hrabarenka rocked Nathan Beaulieu with a hard hit by the player benches.
Galiev had a good opportunity later on but was denied in front but Hayes. Metcalfe continued his physical play soon after, dumping captain Mike Thomas with a big hit at the blue line.
Gelinas was called for interference at 14:37. Cape Breton produced some of their best pressure in the game during the span, working the puck around well and not allowing the Dogs to get the puck out for some time. But unfortunately for the home team, none of that pressure resulted in any goals.
At 18:31, a big scrum resulted in Thomas and Blake Millman dropping the gloves in a short tilt. Not many punches were thrown and the fight ended with Thomas making some bizarre WWE inspired flip move on that resulted in Cape Breton tough guy's skates almost chopping off an officials arm.
That would be all she wrote as the Dogs skated to a 5-1 win.
Shots in the final frame were 10-4 in favour of the visitors.
NOTES: See Sea Dogs Postscript tomorrow on SN.
NEXT GAME: The Sea Dogs and Eagles play Game Four of their opening round series tomorrow at 7:00 pm at Centre 200.