Tuesday, May 24, 2011

DOGS BOOK THEIR TRIP TO CUP FINAL

SN RECAP
FINAL (OT): Attack 2, Sea Dogs 3


MISSISSAUGA, Ont. – For the first time since 2006, a Quebec Major Junior Hockey League team will play in the MasterCard Memorial Cup final.

The Saint John Sea Dogs punched their ticket to Sunday’s final with a dramatic, come-from-behind 3-2 overtime victory over the Owen Sound Attack on Monday NIGHT at the Hershey Centre. It was an instant classic and by far the best game of the 2011 Canadian Hockey League national championship tournament thus far.

The Attack held a 2-0 lead after one and a 2-1 edge after two. But a YouTube worthy goal by Tomas Jurco in the final five minutes of the third sent the match into overtime. In the extra frame, who else other than Jonathan “Hoobadoo” Huberdeau would net the winner at 17:35 to send the Dogs to the Cup final.

Stanislav Galiev, Jurco, and Huberdeau all scored for Saint John to improve to 2-0 at the Memorial Cup. Jacob DeSerres was sensational in net, making 47 saves for the win. It was a rare night as the Attack managed to outshoot the Sea Dogs 49-44.

Owen Sound, 1-1, had their markers from Matt Petgrave and Andrew Shaw. Goaltender Jordan Binnington was an absolute beast in net, stopping 41 shots in the loss.

It was an epic back-and-forth, high paced affair that had a national television audience watching on. Huberdeau, who has become the tournament’s must see attraction, didn’t even have his best night overall.

The Sea Dogs still have one game left in the round-robin, but, no matter what happens in that contest, they will play for a national championship on Sunday. The last Memorial Cup final that featured a QMJHL team came in 2006 when the Quebec Remparts defeated the Moncton Wildcats.

FIRST PERIOD
Saint John had all the pressure in the early parts of the first period but it would be Owen Sound who would strike first. Jacob DeSerres tried to clear the puck but committed a turnover. At 6:36, a Matt Petgrave shot from the boards went off Gabriel Bourret’s stick and between the legs of Jacob DeSerres to make it 1-0 Attack.

The Dogs kept the pressure on following the goal. Tomas Jurco crept out from the corner and cut in front but Jordan Binnington made the pad stop. Then, Jurco made a sick feed between his legs to Michael Kirkpatrick in front but the save was made.

Garrett Wilson went to the box at 8:38 but the Dogs couldn’t get anything going on the man advantage

DeSerres made a great stop just as the penalty ended as he slid across the crease to keep it a 1-0 game.

Bourret went to the box at 13:38 to give the Attack a PP. They would connect on the man advantage at 14:23 as a Mike Halmo point shot was tipped nicely by Andrew Shaw to make it 2-0 for the OHL champs.

Jonathan Huberdeau tried to get something going a few minutes later but was stopped. Then at the other end, Andrew Fritsch was in front and let a one-timer on goal but DeSerres made the save.

Bourret headed off again at 16:17 but that power play quickly ended at 16:53 as Shaw was whistled down. Nothing would happen on the four-on-four stretch.

Late in the period at 19:48, DeSerres made a huge diving glove stop to keep the Dogs down just two. A big scrum ensued and somehow the Attack ended up with a power play out of it.

Shots in the opening frame were 14-13 Saint John.

SECOND PERIOD
The Sea Dogs killed off the penalty that carried over into the third period and the score remained 2-0.

The Dogs went back to the power play at 3:43. On the man advantage, Stanislav Galiev made a great feed to Kevin Gagne just below the dot but couldn’t connect. That would be the only chance for Saint John on the power play.

Huberdeau made a nice little toe drag after the penalty expired but Binnington got his stick out to poke it away.

Owen Sound went to the man advantage at 7:29 as Simon Despres was called for high sticking. The Attack had some good pressure but could not connect. When the penalty expired, Shaw sent a shot along the goal line but was stopped by DeSerres.

Saint John went back to the power play at 12:06. Simon Despres went in all alone and broke through a few defensemen but couldn’t get a great shot off. Then, Jurco went around his man and let a backhand shot on net but was denied.

Just after Jurco’s chance, he picked the puck up along the boards and threaded the disc to Galiev at the side who went upstairs on Binnington to get the Dogs on the board.

Not long after the goal, Danick Gauthier was thrown into the open Attack bench door and would head off in some discomfort. On the same play, Bourret gave a nasty elbow to the head of Shaw and he would go off as well. The Attack got a power play after that and a five-on-three man advantage when Despres was called for slashing at 15:03. The Dogs would kill it off though.

Some rough stuff at 18:33 resulted in a couple of penalties. Near the end of the frame, Despres sent a hard shot from the slot that nailed the crossbar and stayed out.

Shots were 14-12 Owen Sound in the second stanza.

THIRD PERIOD
Early in the third period, Kirkpatrick took a cross crease pass but was absolutely robbed by Binnington.

The Dogs went to another power play at 1:46. Huberdeau was all alone in the slot but Binnington made a huge stop. Then, Galiev was in front but sent it high.

Back at even strength, Eric Gelinas let a hard shot from just inside the line that was stopped by the Owen Sound netminder. Galiev was then hit hard into the boards and fell awkwardly on his leg. He limped back to the back but would return.

Fritsch had another fantastic opportunity mid-period but couldn’t tap the puck into the open net.

The Attack went to the power play at 10:15 as Galiev was called for boarding. But the resilient Sea Dogs killed it off, making room for a comeback.

At 16:33, Jurco had the puck at the side of the goal and made an unreal play in tight quarters to lift it up and over a down Binnington to tie the match up at 2-2.

Owen Sound had a late chance but DeSerres made the pad stop.

Shots in the third period were 11 apiece.

OVERTIME
Just 56 seconds in, the pro-Owen Sound crowd nearly burnt the Hershey Centre to the ground as Wilson was called for tripping. On the power play, Kirkpatrick had the disc and was alone at the side of the net but tried to centre it. Binnington, though, was too sharp for that and got the paddle down to block it.

With the man advantage over, DeSerrs was a little slow getting to his crease and allowed Shaw to nearly deposit the puck in on a nifty wraparound move. Later on, Huberdeau fed Kirkpatrick in front and tipped it on goal only to be robbed again.

Finally, at 17:35, Kirkpatrick fed Huberdeau who was alone in front, snipping the disc upstairs to give the Dogs a 3-2 victory.

Shots in the extra session were 11-7 in favour of the Attack.

NOTES: See Sea Dogs Postscript tomorrow.

NEXT GAME: The Sea Dogs battle to the Kootenay Ice tomorrow at 8:00 pm.

Photo Credit: Toronto Star

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