Friday, September 9, 2011

Wildcats Take Season Opener

FINAL: Wildcats 3, Sea Dogs 1

SAINT JOHN – A rookie filled lineup managed to stack up fairly well against the Moncton Wildcats on Thursday night at Harbour Station.

The Wildcats defeated the Saint John Sea Dogs 3-1 in the opening game of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League season. The Sea Dogs were missing 10 players who are currently attending National Hockey League rookie camps. The Wildcats were missing just three.

Saint John’s lineup was filled with rookies and a few veterans. Despite being the underdog, the inexperienced squad stood their ground and kept pace with the Wildcats all night long. They had plenty of scoring opportunities – they outshot Moncton 34-26 – but lacked the scoring touch that was needed.

The Sea Dogs’ only goal came from 20-year old Alexandre Beauregard and was assisted by another overager in Danick Gauthier. Steven Anderson received the other assist.

Alex Saulnier scored twice for Moncton and Devon MacAusland added a single marker. Rookie import netminder Roman Will played well in net, making 33 saves to earn his first career QMJHL win.

Charlie Millen made his Sea Dogs regular season debut and played quite well as well. He allowed three goals on 26 shots.

Saint John got into some penalty trouble in the first period. On a man advantage at 7:03, James Melindy fed Alex Saulnier at the side of net and had a wide open cage to make it 1-0 Moncton.

At 8:05 of the second period, Saulnier netted his second of the game as he threw the puck on goal and sailed in on a bit of a bizarre sequence to put the ‘Cats up a pair.

Saint John finally got on the board at 15:35. Gauthier was along the boards and centered the disc to Beauregard who was all alone in front. The hero of Game Six of the President’s Cup Final simply slid the puck five-hole past Will to make it a one-goal affair.

Near the midway point of the third period, Oliver Cooper was sprung on a breakaway and tried a deke but was denied by Will.

The Wildcats put it away at the 10-minute mark as MacAusland put the puck past a sliding Millen to give the visitors a 3-1 edge.

Moncton got into some penalty trouble late in the final frame but the Sea Dogs couldn’t capitalize. Saint John would pull their goaltender with two minutes remaining but could not get anything going.

The Sea Dogs went 0-for-6 on the power play while Moncton went 1-for-3.

Saint John will have a chance to rebound Friday night when they travel to Bathurst to face the Titan.

Photo Credit: Marc Henwood/Station Nation

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