Friday, April 15, 2011


FINAL: Sea Dogs 3, Tigres 2

VICTORIAVILLE, Que. – The Victoriaville Tigres put up quite a fight, but at the end of the day, they just couldn’t handle the Saint John Sea Dogs.

The Sea Dogs climbed back from a two-goal first period deficit, scoring three unanswered goals en route to a 4-1 series win in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League quarter-final playoff series. The team will open up the semi-finals next Friday at Harbour Station.

Zack Phillips scored twice and Stanislav Galiev added the other. Jonathan Huberdeau had a pair of assists. Goaltender Jacob DeSerres made some huge stops to keep momentum going in his team’s favour, making a total of 22 stops on the night.

Brandon Hynes and Carl-Antoine Delisle scored for Victoriaville. Davod Honzik put on his nightly goaltending clinic, stopping 42 shots in the loss.

It was certainly a close and hard fought series, especially considering the Tigres were the 11th-seeded team going into the playoffs. But the underdogs of the President’s Cup playoffs proved their first round sweep of the Acadie-Bathurst Titan was no fluke, taking the nation’s top-ranked team to five games – including three one-goal affairs.

The Tigres deserve a lot of credit – especially Honzik. The 17-year old has gone from a no-name backstop to one of the fastest rising goaltenders from the upcoming NHL Entry Draft.

Saint John battled through some adversity in this series, an experience that should help them as the playoffs progress.

The win puts the Sea Dogs into the semi-finals for the third time in four years.

Brandon Hynes opened the scoring at 1:21. Then Carl-Antoine Delisle made it 2-0 at 6:32.

Saint John had a better second half to the period but were unable to beat David Honzik in the Tigres’ crease. Whatever.

Shots were 14-8 Saint John in the opening stanza.

The Sea Dogs opened the period on a power play that carried over from the first frame but could not connect.

Finally, at 1:13, a two-on-one for Saint John developed. Jonathan Huberdeau slid the puck ahead to Zack Phillips who ripped a wrist shot past Honzik to make it a 2-1 game.

Danick Gauthier headed off for checking Brandon Hynes from behind at 3:26. While shorthanded, Stephen MacAulay fed Simon Despres at the side of the cage but was robbed by Honzik. Victoriaville then had an opportunity as a huge scrum ensued in the Sea Dogs crease but they could not beat DeSerres.

Back at even strength, Saint John would tie the game. At 5:38, Gauthier was still buzzing around the penalty box area. He then sent a pass over to Stanislav Galiev who backhanded a shot past Honzik to make it a 2-2 match.

Tomas Jurco took a penalty at 6:26 for roughing but the Tigres couldn’t connect. When the penalty expired, Steven Anthony had a step on a Tigres defender but was denied by a huge pad stop by Honzik.

The Sea Dogs had another man advantage chance at 11:03 with Samuel Groulx in the box. On the power play, the puck was centered for Huberdeau in the crease but he couldn’t get lumber on the disc.

After the Tigres couldn’t connect on yet another power play, some four-on-four play took place at 17:27 following some rough stuff. During that span, Michael Kirkpatrick broke free and cut through the crease but was stopped nicely by Honzik.

Late in the frame, Gauthier had a partial break but was interfered with and taken down. There would be no penalty called in the play.

Shots were 14-5 Saint John in the second period.

Saint John kept things rolling as the third period started. Honzik made a dangerous play with the puck and turned the puck over, allowing Jurco to have a wide open net but cranked it off the crossbar. Then, Anthony dropped the disc for Kevin Gagne who was denied by the pads of Honzik.

MacAulay headed off for high sticking at 4:07. On the man advantage, Phillip Maillet got around a Saint John defenseman but was stopped by DeSerres in close.

After the man advantage chance, Victoriaville started to put some pressure on as DeSerres made some ridiculous paddle stop in the crease. Then, Bohumil Jank let a long shot that went off DeSerres’ head and stayed out.

Finally, at 12:54, Saint John made the comeback complete by taking the lead. Phillips fed Galiev as they entered the zone and then he fed Huberdeau at the side. Huberdeau threaded a cross crease pass to Phillips who went upstairs on Honzik to give the Dogs a 3-2 lead.

Saint John had a couple of chances after that as Jurco went in on an odd man rush but hit the legs of Troy Vance. Then, Mike Thomas hit the post later on.

Honzik was pulled for the final minute but the Tigres couldn’t pull off another late miracle, falling 3-2 in the game and 4-1 in the series.

Shots in the third period were 17-11 Sea Dogs.

NEXT GAME: The Sea Dogs open up the semi-finals next Friday at 7:30 pm at Harbour Station.

Photo Credit: Marc Grandmaison

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