Friday, May 6, 2011

POSTSCRIPT: Olympiques 1, Sea Dogs 2

SAINT JOHN – The Saint John Sea Dogs opened up the President’s Cup final with a 2-1 victory, taking a 1-0 lead in the best-of-seven series against the Gatineau Olympiques. The two teams meet again tomorrow evening at Harbour Station.

The game went pretty much as expected as Gatineau had some pressure early on but then sat back, somewhat, and waited for their opportunites. Saint John looked a bit rusty at times which was expected after the long layoff between series.

"We had some good chances, but we didn't always bear down (enough),'' Sea Dogs head coach Gerard Gallant said to the Telegraph-Journal. "I thought there was some rust in our game tonight. Overall, we played a decent game, but not good enough for what we need and hopefully we'll be a lot better Saturday night.''

The Sea Dogs opened the scoring at 12:35 of the first period as Danick Gauthier scored his second of the post-season to make it 1-0. Saint John was the more dangerous team in the opening frame and outshot the ‘Piques 13-7.

In the second period, Hubert Labrie tied it at 7:38 to make it a 1-1 game.

At 12:17 of the third period, Simon Despres broke the deadlock as he fired a shot through some traffic that went upstairs on Gatineau goaltender Maxime Clermont to give the Dogs a 2-1 lead and eventual victory.

"Saint John deserved to win,'' Gatineau head coach Benoit Groulx said. "They played better than us and we hung in there, and Clermont was very solid. They have so many guys who can make the difference and they find ways to win.''

Clermont and made 35 saves in the loss. Jacob DeSerres made 22 saves for the win.

Forward Jason Cameron and defenseman Jason Seed were both healthy scratches for Saint John.

As expected, Michael Kirkpatrick did not play and is listed as ‘day-to-day’ with what the team is calling a ‘upper-body injury’ that is believed to be shoulder related. It’s not certain when or if he’ll be playing in this series.

Aidan Kelly came into the lineup to replace Kirkpatrick. Danick Gauthier moved up to the second line, playing with Steven Anthony and Tomas Jurco.

As you’ve probably read by now, the game did not sellout. 5,727 took in the game which is only the second largest crowd of this year’s post-season at Harbour Station. The largest crowd was in Game One of the semifinals against the Lewiston Maineiacs.

Tomorrow’s game is already sold out. The Sea Dogs released 200 standing room tickets this afternoon.

Pierre Durepos nearly ended the life of Gatineau forward Philippe Halley in the third period.

As Halley was trying to sneak towards the net, Durepos caught him with a huge open ice hit that sent Halley’s helmet flying. It was one of the bigger hits that the Sea Dogs have been involved with this season.

RDS’ game highlights feature the hit:

Along with being shown on RDS, the hit was also seen on TSN. The hit was labeled “good” in That’s Hockey 2Nite’s “the good, the bad, and the ugly” segment. It also aired on the SportsCentre morning loop where Dan O’Toole stumbled over Durepos’ name.

No clue if Rogers Sportsnet showed it.

Sea Dogs forward Steven Anthony was hurt at some point during yesterday’s contest and missed a good chunk of the latter half of the game. His status is unknown.

So far this post-season, the Vancouver Canucks prospect has five goals and seven assists.

The injury came on the same day as the Telegraph-Journal’s article about Anthony’s injury last year in the playoffs. Creepy stuff.

The big line of Jonathan Huberdeau, Zack Phillips, and Stanislav Galiev didn’t have its most productive night yesterday. The top trio went pointless, something that is rare to see.

Phillips fed Huberdeau twice during a second period power play that nearly resulted in goals. Maxime Clermont stopped one and then Huberdeau couldn’t get a shot off on the other. Huberdeau had two shots in the game while Phillips had three.

As for Galiev, he had a second period breakaway that he was stopped on and then hit the post in the third period. He had three shots in the game.

Danick Gauthier made the most of his time on the Sea Dogs’ second line where he was filling in for Michael Kirkpatrick. Gauthier was all over the ice, creating several scoring chances as well as breaking the ice with the first goal of the match.

Gauthier finished the game with a goal, a plus-one rating, five shots, and three hits.

The 19-year old scored the lone Sea Dogs goal in Game One of last year’s final, making him the only player in team history to score in the first game of each President’s Cup final Saint John has been involved in.

Philip-Michael Devos led the Olympiques with four shots… Danick Gauthier had a team high five shots for Saint John… Hubert Labrie had five hits for Gatineau… Mike Thomas had five hits for Saint John… The Sea Dogs have now won eight straight playoff games… the two teams combined for just 10 penalty minutes… David Weckworth and Cody Linteau were both a team worst minus-two for Gatineau… Eric Gelinas, Gabriel Bourret, and Stephen MacAulay were a team worst minus-one for Saint John… Sea Dogs goaltender Jacob DeSerres was credited with an assist on Gauthier’s first period goal… Toronto Maple Leaf Darryl Boyce attended the game… check out Marc Henwood’s photos from the match… to relive the game, visit the SN Live Blog Replay.

Courtesy of SeaDogsTV:

The Sea Dogs and Olympiques meet in Game Two of the President’s Cup final tomorrow night at 7:00 pm at Harbour Station.

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