SAINT JOHN – Make it 15 straight wins for the Saint John Sea Dogs.
The Port City squad defeated the Moncton Wildcats 5-3 on Tuesday night at Harbour Station in Quebec Major Junior Hockey League action. The win extends Saint John’s streak to a Canadian Hockey League best 15 straight this season.
Tonight’s win also clinched Saint John their second straight Brunswick News Rivalry Cup. The trophy was presented to Sea Dogs president Wayne Long following the match.
Saint John had goals from Charlie Coyle, Maxime Villemaire, Nathan Beaulieu, Stanislav Galiev and Jonathan Huberdeau. Beaulieu, Kevin Gagne and Aidan Kelly each had two assists. Mathieu Corbeil made 18 saves for the win.
It was another solid game by the Sea Dogs. They had two strong opening periods and led 3-0 after 40 minutes. They slipped a bit in the third but still played well enough to earn the victory.
Moncton had markers from Marek Hrivik, Devon MacAusland, and Christophe Lalonde. Mark Tremaine had two assists. Roman Will looked a bit human on this night, allowing four goals on 40 shots.
The Sea Dogs now sit three points ahead of the Shawinigan Cataractes in the race for first place. Both teams have seven games remaining.
The first period got off to a fairly quiet start. The best chance early on came when Stanislav Galiev went in on a mini-breakaway and made a deke. Roman Will was Roman Will though, making the pad save.
Things got a little physical a few moments later. Jason Cameron nailed Brayden Wood in the corner and then Charles Roussel put a big open ice hit on Charles Johnson. A little later on, Roussel produced another big open ice hit, this time nailing Christophe Lalonde.
The Sea Dogs opened the scoring at 15:21. Danick Gauthier was behind the net and sent a perfect pass to Charlie Coyle in front. Coyle deposited the puck into the cage to give Saint John a 1-0 lead.
The Wildcats headed to the power play at 15:59 but didn’t do a whole lot. After the penalty expired, Galiev had another good chance but sent it wide.
With six seconds left in the third, Will dove way out of his crease to cover the puck and was given a delay of game penalty.
Shots were 11-5 Saint John in the first period.
On the power play that carried over into the second, the Dogs couldn’t get much going. Gauthier had a big hit on Danick Emond during the time span, though. Emond had to be helped off the ice and was favouring his right leg.
Back at even strength, Galiev wound up and tried to blast the puck only to have his stick break. At 1:35, Grant West was awarded a penalty shot after getting taken down. On his free opportunity, he shot wide.
Saint John extended their lead to 2-0 at 4:34. Kevin Gagne fired the original shot that was stopped by the pad of Will. Galiev was on the doorstep to swing it in.
Moncton went back to the power play at 5:20. While shorthanded, Gauthier made a great move to split the Wildcats defense but had his shot denied by Will. Then at 6:43, Maxime Villemaire blasted a loose puck past Will to give Saint John a 3-0 advantage.
Not long after Ian Saab stepped out of the box, he went right back in at 7:42. But once again, the ‘Cats struggled to get anything going on the man advantage.
A little later on, Coyle centered the puck to a streaking Jonathan Huberdeau who had a wide open cage but he fired it off the iron.
Galiev headed off for four minutes at 15:19 due to a high sticking infraction. But the Dogs did a great job killing the penalty, not giving Moncton many scoring opportunities.
Shots were 16-7 Saint John in the second stanza.
Moncton had some pressure on in the early parts of the third period. Allain Saulnier had a decent chance at the side of the goal but was stopped by Sea Dogs ‘tender Mathieu Corbeil.
The Wildcats got on the board at 1:44. A pass from behind the net found Marek Hrivik in front who dangled around Corbeil to make it a 3-1 contest.
Saint John got their three-goal lead back at 8:19. Nathan Beaulieu grabbed his own rebound and skated around the goal, throwing the puck into a wide open goal to make it 4-1.
Saint John went to the power play at 8:42. They had some good pressure on but they could not connect. A few moments later back at even strength, Will made a couple of great saves.
The Wildcats failed to convert on a power play at 14:34. But at 18:08, Moncton made it a two-goal game again as Devon MacAusland scored in close.
Saint John got that three-goal back quickly though. With Will on the bench, Huberdeau scored on the empty net to make it 5-2 at 19:20.
28 seconds after Huberdeau’s goal, Christophe Lalone made it a two-goal contest yet again but it was too late for any kind of Moncton comeback.
After the buzzer sounded, Saab and Johnson dropped the gloves for a short tussle.
Shots in the final frame were 14-9 Sea Dogs.
Saint John went 0-for-2 on the power play while Moncton went 0-for-6.
NOTES: See Sea Dogs Postscript tomorrow on SN.
Photo Credit: Marc Henwood/Station Nation