FINAL: Sea Dogs 4, Majors 3
MISSISSAUGA, Ont. – Jacob DeSerres began his road to redemption at the MasterCard Memorial Cup with an impressive performance.
The Saint John Sea Dogs goaltender came up huge at times as he backstopped his team to a 4-3 win over the Mississauga St. Michael’s Majors in the opening game of the Canadian Hockey League championship tournament.
The stats sheet shows that he only made 24 saves on the night, but without DeSerres’ performance, the Sea Dogs may not have left the Hershey Centre on Friday night with a victory. He made several stops to keep momentum going in Saint John’s favour and weathered the storm on several Majors power play attempts.
Saint John had goals from Michael Kirkpatrick, Jonathan Huberdeau, Tomas Jurco, and Nathan Beaulieu. Beaulieu netted the game-winner in the third period on a controversial play that appeared to be offside.
But the missed offside call wasn’t the only officiating problem as several questionable penalty calls were made throughout the contest. The officiating was almost as bad Doug MacLean’s microphone.
Mississauga had two goals from captain Casey Cizikas and a single marker from Devante Smith-Pelly. Goaltender JP Anderson allowed four goals on 31 shots.
It was far from perfect, but the Sea Dogs performance got the job done. They battled hard against a tough Majors team all night long, they survived the hostile crowd, and they got through the hoopla of playing in the tournament opener.
Now, they will have two days off to prepare for Monday’s match against the Owen Sound Attack.
Casey Cizikas had the first good chance of the game as he wired a hard shot from above the dot that Sea Dogs goaltender Jacob DeSerres stopped nicely. Saint John picked up the puck and came back the other the way. The puck came ahead to Tomas Jurco who went in alone at 1:44 and backhanded the disc under JP Anderson to open the scoring.
Saint John went to the power play at 2:56 as Corey Bureau headed off. The Sea Dogs had limited chances on the man advantage. Their best chance came in the dying seconds as a Stephen MacAulay shot was stopped but Alexandre Beauregard couldn’t convert on the rebound chance.
The Majors tied the game up at 7:07. Stuart Percey let a shot go from just inside the line that was stopped by DeSerres. Cizikas was there in front to bang home the rebound and make it a 1-1 affair.
A few minutes later, following a turnover, Jonathan Huberdeau fired a shot from the slot that was padded away by Anderson. Then, Mississauga had a great opportunity but Zack Phillips denied them a goal with a beauty stick lift down low.
Eric Gelinas went to the box for checking from behind at 13:35. On the man advantage, a point shot was nicely tipped by Devante Smith-Pelly to give the Majors a 2-1 lead.
Saint John had another power play at 16:32 and they would connect. At 17:35, Michael Kirkpatrick released a hard wrist shot that went off Huberdeau in front and in to tie it up at 2-2 heading into the first intermission.
Shots after one were 11-7 Saint John after.
Riley Brace had a good opportunity early on as he was parked down low but DeSerres was there to make the stop.
Mississauga went to the power play 47 seconds into the frame. Maxim Kitsyn had a great chance but was robbed by the glove of the Saint John netminder. The Sea Dogs had a pretty good kill and the game remained tied.
Soon after the kill, Mike Thomas performed a wraparound but Anderson was able to get down and make the pad stop.
Some rough stuff at the 4:38 mark resulted in some four-on-four action but nothing would come out of it. Back at even strength, Dylan DeMelo one-timed the puck at the bottom of the circle but DeSerres made a quick stop and deflected the puck away.
Saint John went back to the power play at 6:10. On the man advantage at 6:58, Huberdeau was along the goal line and sent it through the slot and deflected off a Majors stick. Kirkpatrick was there and blasted one top shelf to give the Dogs a 3-2 advantage.
Mississauga would then get several opportunities. Jamie Wise had a wraparound chance but just missed. Then, a cross ice feed went to the point but the shot sailed wide. Finally, Brett Flemming led a two-on-one and kept the puck but DeSerres made the blocker stop to keep it out.
Some matching roughing calls at 14:19 created some more four-on-four play but nothing happened. Moments after that, Joseph Cramarossa cut around Kevin Gagne and went into the crease but was denied.
The Majors had a late power play as Gabriel Bourret headed off at 18:26 but couldn’t connect.
Shots in the middle frame were 12-8 Mississauga.
The Sea Dogs started the third period by killing off the penalty that carried over into the frame. A few moments after that, Justin Shugg had a wide open net at the side of the crease but the puck bounced over his stick and never got a shot off.
The Sea Dogs got into some penalty trouble at 2:40 as Stanislav Galiev was called for boarding and then Huberdeau headed to the sin bin at 3:34 for tripping to give the Majors a long five-on-three man advantage. Flemming ahd the best chance, cranking a shot off the post but stayed out.
Shugg was called for interference at 5:04 to cut Mississauga’s power play short. When the Dogs went to their man advantage, Simon Despres made a nice move to get around his man and cut in on goal but was stopped by Anderson.
A few moments later, DeSerres made a big pad stop off Chris DeSousa.
Saint John made it a 4-2 game on yet another power play at the 8:00 mark. It looked like Phillips was offside at the line but play carried on. Kirkpatrick sent it down low to Huberdeau who then passed across the top of the crease to Nathan Beaulieu who deposited the puck into the empty cage.
But Beauregard took yet another penalty 15 seconds after the goal to put the Majors up a man. They would connect as Cizikas scored at 8:33 to make it a 4-3 contest.
At 10:53, Beauregard took yet another penalty. Mississauga had all kinds of chances but DeSerres went into beast mode to make a couple of unbelievable, game-saving stops.
The Sea Dogs had a five-on-three power play of their own at 13:18. The Sea Dogs had some solid pressure on but couldn’t create many great scoring opportunities.
Saint John had a late power play at 16:20 but couldn’t get anything going.
The Majors pulled Anderson in the final minute and had the puck in the Saint John zone but couldn’t get anything going and fell 4-3 to the Sea Dogs.
Shots in the third stanza were 12-8 in favour of Saint John.
NOTES: See Sea Dogs Postscript tomorrow on SN.
NEXT GAME: The Sea Dogs take on the Owen Sound Attack on Monday at 8:00 pm.
Photo Credit: The Canadian Press