FINAL: Saint John 3, Bathurst 2 (OT)
BATHURST, NB – They were looking to rebound and they did just that.
A night after losing their season opener 3-1 to the Acadie-Bathurst Titan, the Saint John Sea Dogs headed north and pulled off a 3-2 comeback win in overtime over the Titan in Quebec Major Junior Hockey League action at the KC Irving Regional Centre.
Oliver Cooper, who missed the majority of Thursday’s match after taking an awkward hit, scored the overtime winner at 3:32 of the extra frame. Returning veterans Jonathan Huberdeau and Kevin Gagne also scored in the victory. Stephen MacAulay registered two assists.
Goaltender Sebastien Auger was solid, making 29 stops in the victory. He made some big time stops late in the third period when the match was tied.
Bathurst had goals from Matthew Bissonnette and Brandon Hynes. Goaltender Jacob Brennan had a strong game, making 34 saves in the loss.
The Titan led 2-0 late in the first until Huberdeau got the Sea Dogs on the board with 24 seconds left. Gagne tied it up in the second and that’s the way it would stand.
All things considered, it’s been a pretty good first couple of games for this new Sea Dogs squad and a 1-1 record is certainly deserving. This team will be fun to watch if they can continue to compete like this.
The first period took nearly an hour to complete.
Saint John went to the power play at the two-minute mark but couldn’t get much of anything going.
The Titan made it 1-0 at 4:05. Matthew Bissonnette deposited a rebound past Dogs goaltender Sebastien Auger to open the scoring.
Soon after that, a shot went on the Titan goal and a big scrum ensued after. The Dogs would get a power play out of it but couldn’t do much.
At 12:02, chaos broke loose. Noah Zilbert was hit hard, forcing Michael Mastrangelo to step in. Two Titan players would go after free agent signee from Ontario. Meanwhile, along the boards, Marcus Cuomo and Etienne Slavail dropped the gloves for a scrap. It took a while to sort everything out.
Bathurst made it 2-0 at 18:33 as Brandon Hynes showed some patience and beat Auger with a quick shot.
Saint John got on the board at 19:36 as Jonathan Huberdeau entered the crease area and pushed the puck past Jacob Brennan to make it 2-1 after one.
Shots were 9-8 Titan in the first.
The Sea Dogs got into penalty trouble in the second period. Saint John took four minor penalties in the first 7:28 of the middle frame, giving the Titan plenty of opportunities to add to their lead. But the Dogs did a good job on the penalty kills and kept it a one-goal game.
At 14:45, Kevin Gagne tied it up. Assists went to Huberdeau and Stephen MacAulay as the veterans continued to step it up.
The momentum began to swing towards to Saint John following the goal. A Ryan Kelly point shot was tipped nicely by Oliver Cooper, forcing Brennan to make a quick pad save. The Dogs sent a few more shots towards the Titan net in the final couple minutes of the frame.
At 18:32, Saint John headed to the power play. When the buzzer blew at the end of the period, Sean Girard shoved Ryan Tesink to the ice. Girard was given a five-minute major and game misconduct for his "checking to the head" actions, giving the Dogs a huge opportunity in the third.
Shots were 13-10 Saint John in the second.
Despite having a lengthy power play to open the period, the Sea Dogs could not score so the match remained tied.
Saint John got into some more penalty trouble midway through the frame but managed to survive. When all that ended, Jason Cameron had a great chance in front but was stopped by Brennan.
At 14:02 Raphael Lafontaine headed to the box. Then at 15:29, Matthew Bissonnetee headed off to serve a questionable unsportsmanlike conduct penalty. Despite having another great opportunity to take the lead, the Dogs once again failed to connect on the man advantage.
Late in the frame, Auger took care of business by making several key saves to send this thing into overtime.
Shots were 11-11 in the third.
At 3:32, Cooper ended the match and ruined the Titan’s home opener. Tesink and Olivier Leblanc picked up helpers on the winner.
Shots were 5-1 Saint John in extra time.
The Sea Dogs went 0-for-8 on the power play while the Titan went 0-for-6.
NOTES: See Sea Dogs Postscript tomorrow on SN.
NEXT GAME: The Sea Dogs battle the Moncton Wildcats on Wednesday night at Harbour Station.