SAINT JOHN – Special teams were the story on Tuesday night.
The Saint John Sea Dogs scored twice on the power play and once shorthanded in a 4-3 victory over the Halifax Mooseheads in Quebec Major Junior Hockey League action at Harbour Station. Halifax also scored twice on the man advantage.
The Sea Dogs had two two-goal leads in this game but that didn’t stop Halifax from tying the match up midway through the third. But while shorthanded at 12:32, Jonathan Huberdeau fed Charlie Coyle on a two-on-none to net the eventual game-winner. Saint John was dangerous while shorthanded all game long.
It was an okay game by the Sea Dogs. They played well at times but looked flat at other times.
Coyle, Huberdeau, Zack Phillips and Charles Roussel all scored for the Sea Dogs. Huberdeau and Nathan Beaulieu each had three assists. Sebastien Auger made 20 saves for the win.
The win extends Saint John’s winning streak to 12 games. They also retake first-place in the QMJHL with a record of 42-14-0-2 for 86 points. They are now one-point up on the Shawinigan Cataractes with 10 games to play.
Halifax had two goals from Jonathan Drouin while Ryan Falkenham added a solo marker. Zack Fucale had another strong performance in goal, making 34 saves in the loss.
The loss ended the Mooseheads’ four-game winning streak.
Halifax had a two-on-one opportunity early in the first period. Alexandre Grenier opted to keep and shoot but it was gloved by Sea Dogs goaltender Sebastien Auger.
A little later on, Grant West had a chance from a sharp angle but was denied by Zach Fucale in the Halifax net. Then Tomas Jurco was left alone in front with plenty of time but sent the disc wide. Soon after, Zack Phillips basically went coast-to-coast before firing the puck into the pads of Moose 'tender.
Saint John went to the power play at 11:08 as Martin Frk headed off. The Dogs had some decent pressure on, and Kevin Gagne had a good chance gloved by Fucale, but they could not connect.
Austyn Hardie then headed off at 13:02 to extend the Sea Dogs’ man advantage. After some terrific passing from Saint John’s top power play unit, Phillips was near the bottom of the circle and beat Fucale to open the scoring.
Phillips fed Charlie Coyle later on but sent it just wide. They tried a similar play again late in the period but Coyle would send it just wide again. In the dying seconds of the period, the Moose beat Auger but not the crossbar.
Shots in the opening frame were 13-7 in favour of Saint John.
Early in the second period, Stanislav Galiev was parked in front and had a wide open cage but couldn’t connect.
After Auger made a glove save at 6:03, Nathan Beaulieu and Konrad Abeltshauser both headed off for roughing. Beaulieu picked up an extra roughing call but the Moose couldn’t get much going on the power play.
A few moments later, Jurco let a sharp angle shot go that was stopped by Fucale.
At 11:25, the chaos began. Frk leveled Ryan Tesink with his head down and was given a major penalty and game misconduct for checking to the head. Maxime Villemaire and Cameron Critchlow both picked up roughing penalties on the play.
Instead of enjoying the five-minute man advantage, Tomas Jurco took a double-minor at 13:07 to end the power play. During the four-on-four Matthew Boudreau had a good chance but sent it wide. Play then came back the other way with Charles Roussel depositing a Huberdeau rebound at 15:19 to give the Dogs a 2-0 lead.
Tesink headed to the box at 16:23. During the five-on-three Mooseheads power play, Stephen MacAulay missed the net on a breakaway. Play then came back the other way with Jonathan Drouin putting the puck in at 16:50 to make it a one-goal game.
Coyle had another good chance later on in the period but couldn’t get a shot off while standing at the top of the crease.
At 17:26, Grenier headed to the box. On the power play, Phillips fed Beaulieu who was robbed by a diving Fucale. But Huberdeau collected the rebound to give Saint John a 3-1 lead at 18:57.
Shots in the middle frame were 15-7 Sea Dogs.
Just 15 seconds into the third, Ryan Falkenham converted on a Saint John turnover in front of Auger. Falkenham roofed the puck to make it a one-goal game once again.
A few moments later, Gauthier tipped a shot that was gloved nicely by Fucale.
Halifax headed back to the power play at 3:38. The best scoring chance was a shorthanded opportunity for Saint John as Fucale denied Huberdeau on a breakaway.
The Mooseheads went to another power play at 8:15 as Gauthier headed off. On the power play, Drouin walked out from behind the goal and cut in front, sliding the puck into the cage to tie things at 3-3 at 9:07.
Saint John then headed to the power play at 10:07 but that quickly ended at 11:22 as Roussel headed to the sin bin. But while shorthanded, Huberdeau and Coyle entered the zone on a two-on-none. Huberdeau fed Coyle who shot the puck over Fucale’s pad at 12:32 to give the Dogs a 4-3 lead.
Halifax began to get some pressure on in the final two minutes. MacKinnon had a great chance, hitting the post. The Moose were buzzing in the final minute but could not tie it, giving Saint John a 4-3 victory.
Shots were 10-9 Saint John in the third.
The Sea Dogs went 2-for-5 on the power play while the Mooseheads went 2-for-6.
NOTES: See Sea Dogs Postscript tomorrow on SN.
NEXT GAME: The Sea Dogs travel to Moncton to face the Wildcats on Saturday night.
Photo Credit: Marc Henwood/Station Nation
Photo Credit: Marc Henwood/Station Nation