Wednesday, April 13, 2011


FINAL (OT): Sea Dogs 5, Tigres 4

VICTORIAVILLE, Que. – It took over 63 minutes for Jonathan Huberdeau to be credited with a shot on goal, but the Saint John Sea Dogs’ leading scorer made the best of his lone chance.

Huberdeau netted the overtime winner at 3:04 of the extra frame, giving Saint John a 5-4 win over the Victoriaville Tigres and a 3-1 series lead in the best-of-seven quarter-final playoff matchup. Game Five, which could be the final affair of the series, is Friday night at Colisee Desjardins.

It was a wild back-and-forth game that seemed destined for overtime after the teams were deadlocked at 2-2 after both the first and second period. The Tigres scored first but the Sea Dogs quickly retook the lead. That would pretty much be the story of this game as no matter how many times the Dogs went ahead, Victoriaville always stayed calm and evened the match in no time.

The Tigres’ big players came to play tonight as Phillip Danault, Benjamin Laliberte, Brandon Hynes, and Philippe Maillet all scored. David Honzik was David Honzik, making 39 saves in the loss.

Besides Huberdeau’s game-winner, the Dogs had goals courtesy of Jason Cameron, Eric Gelinas, Stephen MacAulay, and Tomas Jurco. Mike Thomas and Pierre Durepos each had two assists while goaltender Jacob DeSerres made 24 saves in the win.

The Sea Dogs certainly didn’t play perfect but still played well. One of the obvious negatives for Saint John was that they kept allowing the Tigres to get back into the game and were never able to gain a two-goal lead.

If Game Five is anything like the first four, it should be an entertaining match.

Victoriaville had all the pressure early on. They had a two-on-one chance just a few minutes into the game but Nathan Beaulieu got down to block the centering pass.

The Tigres opened the scoring at 2:21. The puck was fed to Phillip Danualt in front who who beat Sea Dogs netminder Jacob DeSerres to make it a 1-0 affair.

But the Sea Dogs would respond to that goal not too long after. At 3:32, Jason Cameron was in behind the goal battling for the puck. He then walked out to the bottom rim of the faceoff circle and ripped a shot past David Honzik to tie the match at 1-1.

Danick Gauthier had a good chance following the goal but was robbed by the leg of Honzik. Then, Guillaume Naud was at the side of the Sea Dogs net but was stopped by DeSerres.

There was some four-on-four action at 6:04 following some rough stuff. During that span at 6:43, Jonathan Huberdeau entered the zone on a breakaway but hit the post. The puck was cleared to the line where Eric Gelinas kept it in. Gelinas fired the puck on net and it slid past Honzik to give Saint John a 2-1 edge.

Not long after the goal, Stanislav Galiev was breaking away but was hauled down and awarded a penalty shot. On his free attempt, Galiev made a pretty sick move, one-handed the puck on net but just hit the top of Honzik’s leg and stayed out.

Victoriaville kept on rolling though despite the Saint John chances. On a delayed penalty call at 10:05, Phillip Maillet centered the puck from behind the goal line to Benjamin Laliberte in front to make it a 2-2 game.

After missing on their first man advantage moments earlier, Saint John went to the power play at 16:29. Their best chance came when Simon Despres sent a pass down low to Huberdeau at the side of the cage but was denied.

Beaulieu ended the Dogs’ power play at 17:55 as he was whistled for slashing. The Tigres had plenty of puck control but few chances to score.

Shots in the first period were 13-11 Saint John.

The Sea Dogs went to the power play at 2:10 as Lalieberte headed off for tripping. The best chance for the Sea Dogs came on a Gelinas point shot through some traffic that was easily stopped by the eagle-eyed Honzik.

Back at even strength, Vincent Marcoux sent a cross crease pass to Goulet who just missed the puck on his follow through. After that chance, Saint John really turned up the pressure.

Danick Gautier tried to breakaway but fell and then had the puck taken away from him by a Victoriaville defender. Then, Beaulieu had a clear shooting lane from the dot but riffled a shot just wide of the net.

At 11:56, the Sea Dogs rushed up ice and threw the puck on net. A streaking Scott Oke beat the fallen Honzik to give, it appeared, Saint John a 2-1 lead. But there was a delayed penalty on the play against the Tigres, and for some reason, even though the Dogs had the puck, the whistle blew and the goal was not allowed.

On the ensuing Sea Dogs man advantage, a bouncing puck found Tomas Jurco at the side but he couldn’t get enough on the shot to make it accurate. Then, Mike Thomas dove for a loose puck at the side of goal but sent it wide.

The Tigres gave Saint John another power play chance at 17:25 as Honzik tripped Huberdeau. But just 23 seconds later, Steven Anthony ended the man advantage opportunity as he was called for slashing. During the four-on-four play, a shot from the boards got through some traffic and forced DeSerres to make a blocker stop. Late in the frame, Maillet was at the side of the crease but was robbed by a pad-stacking DeSerres.

At the buzzer, Gabriel Bourret took a high sticking penalty to give the Tigres a power play to start the second frame.

Shots in the middle stanza were 18-6 Saint John.

On the power play that carried over into the third, the Tigres finally got some good pressure on. Brandon Hynes one-timed the puck from the circle but it just went wide. Later on, a huge scrum in the Saint John crease created a buzz but the Tigres could not beat DeSerres.

With the penalty over, Galiev was alone in the slot but was denied by the chest of Honzik.

Saint John stepped things up again at 5:10 as Stephen MacAulay walked out from the goal line and beat Honzik down low with a wrist shot to give Saint John a 3-2 lead.

But the Tigres refused to die. At 6:46, a breakaway for Brandon Hynes looked deadly but he missed the net. Fortunately for the Tigres, the puck quickly came out for Maillet who tied the match with a clutch goal.

After the Sea Dogs killed off a Galiev penalty, Anthony went one-on-one with a Tigres player and got a shot off that was stopped by Honzik.

Saint John would take the lead once again at 14:26. Mike Thomas broke loose from the defense but blasted a shot high of the net. The puck came to the side of the net where Jurco found it and beat a fallen Honzik to make it a 4-3 game.

With 1:02 left, the Tigres called a time-out and pulled Honzik.

With the extra man on the ice, Victoriaville continued their comeback ways by tying the affair with 35 seconds to go. Hynes somehow scored by lifting the puck up-and-over and DeSerres to send the match into overtime.

Shots in the third frame were 10-9 in favour of Victoriaville.

The Sea Dogs had the best chance early in the frame, breaking into the zone on a three-on-one. Saint John got a shot off but Gauthier couldn’t jam it past Honzik.

At 3:04, Galiev came down the wing and sent a shot that hit the glove of Honzik and rattled the post, putting the disc onto the goal line. Huberdeau was all alone and simply tapped it in to give Saint John a thrilling 5-4 extra-time victory.

Shots in the overtime session were 4-1 Saint John.

Saint John went zero-for-five on the man advantage while Victoriaville went zero-for-four.

NEXT GAME: Game Five of the series goes Friday night at 8:00 pm at Colisee Desjardins.

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