FINAL: Rocket 3, Sea Dogs 5
SAINT JOHN – Finally, the Saint John Sea Dogs are in the win column.
Led by Danick Gauthier’s hat trick, the Sea Dogs topped the Prince Edward Island Rocket 5-3 on Sunday afternoon at Harbour Station in Quebec Major Junior Hockey League action to earn their first win of the 2011-12 campaign. The win gives Saint John a 1-3-0-0 record while the Rocket fall to 1-2-0-1.
Along with Gauthier’s three goals, Brock Morrison and Scott Oke also scored. Goaltender Sebastien Auger played very well in net, making 40 saves to earn the first win of his QMJHL career.
PEI had goals from Matej Beran, Felipe Corbo and Victor Provencher. Netminder Maxime Lagace made made 33 saves in the loss.
Saint John’s lineup was bolstered by the return of forwards Alexandre Beauregard, Gauthier, and Oke who had been taking part in National Hockey League rookie camps as free agent invitees. The three certainly helped the young Sea Dogs team as they combined to put up four goals and two assists.
Because and injuries and other commitments, the Sea Dogs were only able to dress 11 forwards and five defensemen.
Despite being short staffed, Saint John was able to put forth a strong performance. They had allowed eight goals in both of their previous two games entering Sunday’s contest.
The Sea Dogs will look for the momentum gained from this game to carry over into next weekend’s matches at Harbour Station as they begin the climb to the .500 mark.
Alexandre Beauregard and Olivier Croteau dropped the gloves for a quick scrap at 1:35 of the opening frame. Beauregard picked up an elbowing penalty just before the fight, putting the Rocket on the man advantage.
The Rocket’s best power play chance came during a scramble at the side of the goal but Sea Dogs goaltender Sebastien Auger held his post and kept the puck out.
Saint John took a 1-0 lead at 4:13. The Sea Dogs broke in on a three-on-one with Colin Campbell holding the puck. He made a great cross-ice feed to Brock Morrison who tipped the puck past Rocket netminder Maxime Lagace to give the Dogs an early lead.
PEI went back to the power play at 5:17. While shorthanded, Danick Gauthier had a good chance but lost the puck just above the crease.
Back at even strength, Gauthier leveled Tomas Pavelka in the corner. Not long after, Croteau had a solid chance as he cut through the crease but was denied by a sliding Auger.
The Rocket went to yet another man advantage at 13:41. Gauthier had another shorthanded chance but drew a hooking penalty on this one, forcing some four-on-four action.
A little later on, the puck was loose above the crease. Devon Oliver-Dares dove to try and bat it in but couldn’t get the puck on net.
Matej Beran picked up an interference penalty and Beauregard a roughing infraction at 19:35, creating some four-on-four action to start off the second period.
Shots were 17-14 PEI in the first frame. Auger was solid.
The Rocket tied the game at 2:06 of the second period. Matej Beran let a high wrist shot go that beat Auger high glove side to tie things up.
Just after the goal, Auger made some huge pad stop on Felipe Corbo. Play then headed down ice and then back again as Ben Duffy carried it in. He sent the puck through the crease to Corbo who had an open cage to make it 2-1 PEI.
Then the penalties started. Saint John went to a 5-on-3 power play at 3:55. Their best chance came when Kevin Gagne wired a shot off the post.
The Sea Dogs went back to power play at 6:27. Then at 7:19, they had another two-man advantage. Scott Oke nearly tied the game with a wraparound attempt but couldn’t get the puck on net. Then at 8:07, Oke fed Danick Gauthier at the side of the net who connected to make it a 2-2 affair.
Shortly after the goal, Beauregard and Matthew Hobbs had a big time collision at the blue line. As the collision happened, Gauthier went alone and was denied by the pad of Lagace.
Oliver-Dares and Marc-Andre Levesque dropped the gloves at 11:01 in a spirited scrap. Saint John got a power play out of those events, a man advantage that saw Aidan Kelly ring the puck off the post.
Back at even strength, a scramble in the Sea Dogs crease was nicely covered by Auger. The Rocket went to the power play at 14:01. They had some good pressure on but couldn’t score.
At 19:01, Gauthier came down the wing and cut in towards the goal, roofing the puck over Lagace to make it 3-2 Saint John after two.
Aidan Kelly took a late penalty to put the Sea Dogs down a man to start the third period.
Shots in the second were 15-13 in favour of the visitors.
Croteau had a good chance early on as the puck was centered to him but Auger made the stop.
At 8:23, Kelly Bent and Cooper dropped the gloves for the third fight of the game. That resulted in some four-on-four action with Beauregard and Deverick Ottereyes picking up roughing penalties on the same sequence.
At 8:43, Gauthier made a long pass down low to Oke who tapped the puck past Lagace to give the Sea Dogs a two-goal advantage.
Saint John kept the pressure on following the goal. Jason Cameron was in front and deflected the puck off something and went wide. Then, Morrison tried to the jam the puck in but couldn’t.
The Sea Dogs went to the power play at 12:09. On the man advantage, McKenzie Brown went in alone but had the puck taken off his stick. Then, Oke was in good shooting position but fired high.
The fourth fight of the game took place at 13:48 as Oke and Dylan Capstick fought along the boards in the corner. Capstick also picked up a checking from behind penalty on the play. But Spencer MacDonald headed to the box at 14:54 to create some more four-on-four action.
A few moments after the penalty call, Duffy nailed the crossbar. The play went under review and it would be ruled a no-goal.
PEI got within one at 17:43. Pier-Antoine Dion was along the side boards and centered the disc to Victor Provencher who made a little dangle and then snipped one past Auger.
In the final minute, the Rocket had a scramble in the Sea Dogs crease but could not score. Gauthier iced the game at 19:42 by scoring his hat trick goal into the empty net and make it a 5-3 final.
Shots were 11 apiece in the third.
PEI went 0-for-6 on the power play while Saint John went 1-for-8.
Photo Credit: Marc Henwood/Station Nation