Wednesday, April 13, 2011
SEA DOGS STRIKE BACK
FINAL: Sea Dogs 6, Tigres 3
VICTORIAVILLE, Que. – It was a rough start but a solid finish for the Saint John Sea Dogs.
A penalty filled first five minutes in the opening frame could have been disaster for Saint John. Instead, the team took a 2-0 lead in the first period and never looked back en route to a 6-3 win over the Victoriaville Tigres Tuesday night at Colisee Desjardins. The win gives Saint John a 2-1 series lead in the best-of-seven quarter-final playoff matchup.
Saint John had period leads of 2-0 and 2-1 before exploding in the third period. Jonathan Huberdeau scored twice in the match while Eric Gelinas, Zack Phillips, Stephen MacAulay, and Danick Gauthier all added singles. Stanislav Galiev had three assists.
Goaltender Jacob DeSerres was excellent, making some very big stops all game long. He came up big at important times, keeping momentum in the Sea Dogs’ favour. He made 25 saves on the night.
It was a much better game for Saint John after the 3-2 loss in Game Two on Saturday. The Tigres played the trap less and that seemed to allow the Sea Dogs to play a much smoother game. They were also finally able to solve goaltender David Honzik who looked human in this one.
Even when the score was close Saint John was still getting the better of the chances. Penalties were once again an issue, but fortunately for the Dogs, their penalty kill came through in a big way all night long.
Honzik made 33 saves in the loss. Tigres goals came from Samuel Groulx, Pierre-Luc Pelletier, and Yann Gourde.
Victoriaville looks to even the series up again tonight at 8:00 pm.
1:09 into the game Alexandre Beauregard was called for roughing. Then things got even worse as Nathan Beaulieu picked up a double minor for high sticking. During the long power play, the Sea Dogs shut down the Tigres. Victoriaville had the puck a lot but couldn’t generate any dangerous chances.
Pierre-Luc Pelletier blasted a point shot when the penalties were over, forcing Sea Dogs stopper Jacob DeSerres to make a nice pad stop. Soon after, a big scrum in the Saint John crease had DeSerres successfully dig for and keep the disc out.
Saint John then turned on the engines. Jonathan Huberdeau made a move to get into the slot but was denied by David Honzik in the Victoriaville crease. Not long after, the puck came loose to Pierre Durepos who had an open net but couldn’t get a shot off in time to beat the sliding Honzik.
The Sea Dogs went to the power play at 8:47 with Samuel Groulx heading off. At 8:59, the puck was sent to Eric Gelinas at the point who sent a shot through some traffic and beat Honzik through the legs to give the Dogs a 1-0 advantage.
The Dogs kept on rolling after their first marker. The puck was centered between the faceoff circles where Stephen MacAulay battled for it. He managed to find the disc and get a shot off to give the visitors a 2-0 lead.
Troy Vance was called for interference at 11:22 to send Saint John back to the power play. The Sea Dogs had some chances but couldn’t get a third goal.
Scott Oke was then fed at the side of the net but tipped it just wide. Late in the frame, Saint John had an odd-man rush as Oke fed Zack Phillips but any chance of centering the puck was ruined after a Tigres defender made a nice play to block the pass.
Shots in the opening frame were 9-5 in favour of the Sea Dogs.
Stanislav Galiev had a chance early in the frame as he was left alone in front but was stopped by the leg of Honzik.
Victoriaville went back to the power play at 1:28 with MacAulay heading off. But once again, the Tigres failed to get anything going on the man advantage.
Philippe Maillet went into animal mode after the penalty expired, cutting through the crease but was stopped by a huge toe save by DeSerres. A few moments later, Maillet let a shot go again from the faceoff dot but was denied by the Sea Dogs ‘tender.
Beaulieu made a dangerous play in front of his net and took a cross checking call at the same time at 7:38. While shorthanded, Honzik was being Honzik as he robbed Steven Anthony on a breakaway with a big glove save. Like previous times, Victoriaville failed on the power play again.
The Sea Dogs started to crank the pressure up after the penalty. A shot from the point was stopped nicely by Honzik. Then things really started up as Ryan Tesink threaded a pass to a streaking Oke at the side of cage but was denied by the Tigres goaltender. Saint John head coach Gerard Gallant argued for a replay and was granted one. Unfortunately, the no-goal call stood.
Soon after, things opened up a bit. Huberdeau nicked a shot off the far post and then Brandon Hynes was robbed by DeSerres on a shot from just inside the line. Huberdeau was back at it again in close, but Honzik made a huge pad stop.
The Tigres started to take control late in the frame. Finally, at 16:50, they would connect. DeSerres stopped a Maillet shot but the rebound came out to Samuel Groulx. With some traffic in front, Groulx slid the puck past DeSerres to make it a 2-1 game.
The Tigres kept pressing and eventually forced Anthony to take a roughing call at 19:29 following a mix up with Yannick Dube. The infraction would carry over into the third frame.
Shots in the middle stanza were 13 apiece.
After successfully killing off the penalty, Galiev fed Huberdeau down low at 1:55. The Sea Dogs’ sniper deked around Honzik and slid a backhand shot home to give the Sea Dog a two-goal lead.
Saint John had a five-on-three power play opportunity five minutes into the third. The team had some good puck movement but had little scoring chances.
The Dogs had a chance to redeem themselves with another power play at 8:56. They would connect this time as Beaulieu sent a point pass to Zack Phillips parked at the side of the goal. The Fredericton native beat Honzik with a wrister to make it a 4-1 Saint John lead.
Soon after Mike Thomas was given a 10-minute misconduct for some reason, Vincent Marcoux was at the top of the Sea Dogs crease but flipped the puck just wide of the net.
After a few minutes of nothing happening, Victoriaville made it a two-goal game again. Phillip Danault fed Pelletier in the slot who ripped the puck high glove side on DeSerres to make it 4-2.
The Tigres kept the pressure on as, moments later, Maillet was fed in front on a pass from behind the goal but was robbed by the leg of the Sea Dogs goaltender.
Saint John took control of the play again at 16:15. A point shot was tipped nicely by Danick Gauthier and got past Honzik to give Saint John a three-goal lead again. The play would be reviewed to see if it went in with a high stick but it was ruled a good goal.
A delayed penalty was called against the Tigres after Galiev was smoked by the benches. During the same sequence at 17:52, Scott Oke centered a pass to Huberdeau at the top of the crease who had a wide open net to make it 6-2 Sea Dogs.
Victoriaville would score once more but it was too late to start any kind of comeback. Yann Gourde made a nice toe-drag around a fallen Saint John player and then riffled the puck up and over DeSerres to make it a 6-3 final.
Shots in the third period were 15-8 Sea Dogs.
Michael Kirkpatrick missed his second straight game with an ‘upper body’ injury. According to News 88.9, he will be reevaluated today.
Forwards Jason Cameron and Aidan Kelly were both scratches.
Defenseman Jason Seed made his 2011 playoff debut but didn’t appear to take a shift all game.
NEXT GAME: Game Four of the best-of-seven quarter-final playoff series goes down tonight at 8:00 pm.
Photo Credits: La Nouvelle Union