SAINT JOHN – What a game at Harbour Station on Monday night.
A hard fought, closely matched, intense game between two rivals ended with a defensive-defenseman scoring the shootout winner as the Saint John Sea Dogs topped the Moncton Wildcats 2-1 in the first Quebec Major Junior Hockey League game of 2012.
It was a quite a contest as neither team could score through the first 40 minutes. Shots were fairly even after two and neither team even had a power play in the first two frames.
In the third, both teams finally connected. Marek Hrivik scored for Moncton and Danny Chiasson for Saint John. That would setup the shootout where Pierre Durepos netted the winner in the fifth round.
Both goaltenders had solid games. Roman Will picked up second star honours with 29 saves. Mathieu Corbeil, who struggled in a 5-2 loss in Moncton on Saturday, made 21 saves for the win.
The win ended Saint John’s three-game losing streak. They are now tied with the Quebec Remparts for first overall but have played four fewer games.
The first period was an entertaining one and saw the Sea Dogs outshoot the Wildcats 10-4. Despite some solid chances, the game remained scoreless after 20 minutes.
Stephen MacAulay and Grant West both had solid chances early on the first period. Later on, Zack Phillips setup Stephen Anderson with a cross-crease pass but he couldn’t get a shot on net.
At 13:05, Ian Saab and Scott Trask dropped the gloves for a short scrap that didn’t see a whole lot of punches land.
Hrivik had a good chance for Moncton shortly after the fight, diving through the crease to bat at the puck. The first period came to an end with some back-and-forth action.
In the second period, it was more of the same as neither team could get a goal.
15 seconds into the middle frame, Spencer MacDonald and Trask dropped the gloves for a good fight. Trask was given a game misconduct after taking part in his second fight of the night.
The first half of the period was quite dull but things did pick up. Danivk Gauthier and Aidan Kelly both had great chances but were robbed by Will. Then Chiasson had a wide open net but couldn’t get a shot off before Will slid over.
Moncton had some pressure on late in the first period but couldn’t connect. Allain Saulnier had a solid opportunity but sent it wide.
Shots were 10-7 Moncton in the second period.
Finally, at 1:56 of the third period and Gauthier in the box, the Wildcats opened the scoring. Hrivik performed a wraparound and slid it under the pads of Corbeil to make it 1-0 Moncton.
Saint John went to the man advantage at 4:33 but couldn’t get much going. Then at 6:36, Jason Seed sent a shot towards the net that was tipped by Kelly. The puck then went to Chiasson in front who sent it up and over Will to tie the game at 1-1.
A little later, Jason Cameron nearly gave the Sea Dogs a 2-1 lead when he tipped a shot off the iron.
Saint John went back to the power play at 11:32 but couldn’t connect. Both teams had some good chances late in the third but couldn’t score.
Shots were 12-7 in favour of the Sea Dogs in the third period.
Not much happened in overtime. Shots were 1-1.
In the fourth round of the shootout, Hrivik and Charles-Olivier Roussel both scored. In the fifth round, Patrick Houde missed which setup Durepos’ winner.
NOTES: See Sea Dogs Postscript tomorrow on SN.
Photo Credit: Marc Henwood/Station Nation