FINAL: Saint John 2, Charlottetown 3
CHARLOTTETOWN – The Charlottetown Islanders refuse to lose.
The Islanders improved their perfect start to the season to 5-0-0-0 with a 3-2 victory over the Saint John Sea Dogs in Quebec Major Junior Hockey League action on Friday night at Eastlink Centre.
Much like Sunday’s game in Saint John between the two, this was a close game. Despite Charlottetown having a large shot advantage (45-28), the Dogs were able to stay in this game much like they have in most of their games this season.
The two teams were tied 1-1 after one before Charlottetown jumped out to a 2-1 lead heading into the third. Kameron Kielly scored what proved to be the game winner 7:53 on a power play in the third. It was an unfortunate goal as Sebastien Auger went behind the net to play the puck, missed, collided with someone, and then fell down, giving the Islanders a wide open net. Spencer Smallman scored shortly after to get the Dogs back in it but they could not tie things up.
The Islanders also had goals from Matthew Bursey and Troy Vance. Antoine Bibeau played very well in net, making 26 saves in the win.
Stephen Anderson scored Saint John’s other goal. Auger made 42 saves in the loss. It was the second time (of many times) that Auger made 40+ saves in a game this year.
The Sea Dogs fell to 2-2-0-1 with the loss. If the first five games are any indication, there are going to be some real close games in the Maritimes Division this year.
Saint John headed to the power play just 24 seconds into the game. Stephen Anderson had a couple of good chances in front of the net but was stopped by Antoine Bibeau.
The Islanders would open the scoring at 5:49. Troy Vance fired a shot from the point that went through some traffic and then past Sebastien Auger to give Charlottetown a 1-0 advantage. It was originally given to Vance but later awarded to Matthew Bursey. It was the first time this season the Isles scored first in a game which is really weird for an unbeaten team.
Oliver Cooper and Metaj Beran headed to the box for roughing at 7:28. A few moments into the four-on-four action, Auger made a great save on the awesomely named Deverick Ottereyes.
Noah Zilbert was given a hooking penalty at 13:57. The Isles power play was about as productive as Sandspit amusement park during the middle of January.
Islander Stephen Anderson tied the game at 17:30. Bibeau was down and out, allowing Anderson to deposit the puck into the net and tie the hockey match at 1-1.
Shots in the first were 18-7 Isles. Hits were 12-8 Isles.
Not a whole was happening early in the second period. The Sea Dogs had a couple odd man rushes but couldn’t finish on either.
PEI natives Alexander McQuaid and Kameron Kielly were each sent to the box for roughing at 5:51 after some rough stuff in front of the Saint John goal.
Kielly went back to the box at 8:07, this time for slashing. The Dogs were applying some good pressure and then Jack Nevins was called for tripping at 9:29 to send Saint John to a five-on-three advantage. The Dogs had some good pressure on in the offensive zone but couldn’t get many quality shots on net. Zilbert had a good chance on somewhat of a breakaway but couldn’t get a great shot off.
At 12:18, Vance fired a quick shot from along the boards and below the point that beat Auger to make it 2-1 Charlottetown.
Right after the goal, Bibeau made a big time save on a Jason Cameron shot.
Former PEI Rocket Kelly Bent was sent to the box at 15:38 for tripping to send the Isles to the power play again. Charlottetown had some pressure on but couldn’t do anything with it.
Bibeau made a nice glove save on Oliver Cooper in the final couple minutes of the period. With 27 seconds remaining, Alexis Pepin headed to the box for slashing to give the Dogs a power play to open up the third period.
Shots in the second stanza were 15-9 in favour of the Islanders.
The Dogs couldn’t get much of anything going on the power play that carried over into the period.
Later on, Bibeau made a huge pad save on Cooper. The Fredericton native had the Islanders goaltender down but just couldn’t get the puck high enough.
Lukas Walter went to the box at 7:12. During the man advantage, Auger went behind his net but hit some traffic and was taken down. That allowed Kielly to score into an open net at 7:53 to make it 3-1 Charlottetown.
The Dogs got back into the game at 8:46. Spencer Smallman made a nice move on a breakaway and beat Bibeau upstairs to make it a 3-2 contest. Beautiful goal.
The Sea Dogs headed back to the power play at 13:45, giving them a great opportunity to tie things up. But they could not take advantage of this opportunity as the Isles produced a good kill.
David Weckworth took an untimely checking from behind penalty at 16:58 to send to the Isles to the man advantage. The Sea Dogs would kill it off though.
The Sea Dogs pulled Auger when Weckworth’s penalty was over but they could not tie things up. Game.
Shots in the third were 12-12 and 45-28 in favour of the Islanders overall.
Charlottetown went 1-for-4 on the power play while Saint John went 0-for-5.
SCRATCHES: The Sea Dogs were without forwards Connor Donaghey (healthy), Samuel Dove-McFalls (healthy), and Juraj Siska (injured/not here) along with defensemen Michael Abbott (flu symptoms) and Jurij Repe (wrist).
NOTES: The game was broadcast on Eastlink cable… defenseman Will Thompson picked up an assist on Stephen Anderson’s goal. It was the first point of his QMJHL career… 3,105 attended the game. Great stuff, Charlottetown… Noah Zilbert and Matthew Highmore each had four shots… Olivier LeBlanc had four hits. He was hitting everything… Bradley Kennedy had two assists for the Islanders… Jack Nevins had seven shots and six hits.
NEXT GAME: The Sea Dogs host the Sherbrooke Phoenix tomorrow night at 7pm at Harbour Station.