Wednesday, March 30, 2011
POSTSCRIPT: Sea Dogs 5, Screaming Eagles 1
DOGS UP 3-0
SYDNEY, NS – With a 5-1 victory, the Saint John Sea Dogs are just a win away from sweeping their first round playoff series against the Cape Breton Screaming Eagles.
Jonathan Huberdeau, Steven Anthony, Kevin Gagne, Stanislav Galiev, and Tomas Jurco all scored for Saint John in the victory while Dany Potvin replied for Cape Breton.
Andrew Hayes made 28 stops in net for the Eagles and Jacob DeSerres earned the win via a 21 save performance.
SAINT JOHN SCRATCHES
Defenseman Jason Seed and forwards Scott Oke and Aidan Kelly were all healthy scratches for Saint John.
The Sea Dogs’ demolition of the Screaming Eagles continued as the highest scoring team during the regular season put up five goals. Saint John has now outscored the Eagles 22-2 over the three games of this series.
After scoring 10 goals in Game One and seven in Game Two, the Dogs are averaging 7.33 goals per game which ties them with the Quebec Remparts for the league high this post-season. Saint John is also averaging a league high 41 shots per game.
After the trio of games, Cape Breton is averaging a miserable 0.67 goals per game and just 18.67 shots per contest.
BACK FROM SUSPENSIONS
Spencer Metcalfe returned to the Cape Breton line-up after serving a two-game suspension. Metcalfe was suspended after hitting Halifax Mooseheads rookie forward Darcy Ashley in an illegal fashion during the final game of the regular season.
Metcalfe had an impact on this game, taking two penalties. His first penalty came at 7:10 of the first period and Jonathan Huberdeau would score four seconds later to make it 1-0 Saint John.
The veteran also had a big hit in the third period, leveling Mike Thomas as he crossed the blue line.
Saint John’s Danick Gauthier also returned after serving a one-game suspension for an illegal hit on Cory MacIntosh in Game One of the series. Gauthier was held pointless but had two shots and two hits.
THE POWER PLAY
Saint John’s unreal power play has been a big story in this series. The Sea Dogs are operating at a league high 55.6% in the playoffs. They have scored 10 power play goals on 18 opportunities.
“With our hockey club, we’re definitely a top power-play team,” said Sea Dogs head coach Gerard Gallant to the Cape Breton Post. “We can move the puck with our skill level and speed. We got another two goals, so it’s been very good for us.”
The Sea Dogs went 2-for-4 on the power play last night.
Cape Breton’s penalty kill on the other hand is running at 44.4%.
For only the second time this series, Cape Breton was actually able to score a goal. With Saint John carrying a 1-0 lead at that point, Dany Potvin tied the match up at 14:14 of the first period. The Eagles had been buzzing a bit and the momentum from the goal could have created a interesting end to the period.
But that momentum never came as Steven Anthony silenced the Eagles six second later with a goal that put Saint John ahead 2-1.
"That was huge,'' Gallant said to the Telegraph-Journal. "When you come back and score right away, it takes a bit of the steam out of them. That was definitely the turning point. We're successful when we put pucks to the net and we're a good team when we have that puck down low in the zone.''
Kevin Gagne scored in the final minute of the period to give Saint John a 3-1 lead heading into intermission.
DULL SECOND PERIOD
Neither team was too interested in offense at the beginning of the second period. It took Saint John several minutes just to get a single shot on goal.
The time span featured a lot of dull back-and-forth action that had very few shots or any dangerous looking rushes.
Things would pick up later in the stanza with Stanislav Galiev scoring. Shots in the frame ended up being 9-8 in favour of the visitors.
Not all that surprisingly, there was a small crowd for this contest. First round playoff series usually feature small crowds but even more so when the home team scoring a single goal in considered somewhat of a success.
1,869 gathered at Centre 200 to watch this one. Cape Breton averaged 2,954 fans per game during the regular season.
Small crowds gathered at Harbour Station back in the 2009 first round when the Sea Dogs were swept by the Eagles. 2,929 watched Game Three of the series at the Station and 2,757 for Game Four.
OUT OF TOWN
Montréal 2 at Halifax 0
Lewiston 4 at Moncton 2
Shawinigan 3 at P.E.I. 0
Drummondville 6 at Chicoutimi 4
Gatineau 4 at Rimouski 7
Québec 9 at Val-d'Or 0
Saint John improved tom 11-5 all-time in first round games… Mike Thomas had a Sea Dogs high three hits… Olivier Jodoin had four hits for Cape Breton… Michael Kirkpatrick had a team high seven shots for Saint John… Dany Potvin led the way for Cape Breton with four shots… Kirkpatrick had three assits… Jonathan Huberdeau is tied with Jonathan Audy-Marchessault of the Quebec Remparts for the league lead in post-season points with 10… Huberdeau is tied with multiple players for the league high in goals with four… to relive the match, check out the SN Live Blog Replay.
Game Five, if necessary, will be Friday at 7:30 pm at Harbour Station. If the Sea Dogs win this evening’s game they will advance to the quarter-finals.