Wednesday, November 27, 2013

RECAP: Another Streak Dies. Dogs Win 3-2.

FINAL: Charlottetown 2, Saint John 3 (SO)
By Ray Harris | @CanadasPredsFan

SAINT JOHN - It was the win the Sea Dogs needed, but absolutely not the one they deserved.

After three full periods, a five minute overtime and a shootout, the Saint John Sea Dogs finally ended their eight-game losing streak, getting only their second win in 19 games – incidentally, both were against the Islanders.

The Dogs had a phenomenal first period where they registered a whopping 18 shots and scored twice leaving the PEI side somewhat demoralized as they entered the dressing rooms. But the Dogs came out absolutely flat for the second and third periods, giving the puck away like it was only 22 days till Christmas. Luckily Charlottetown did an excellent job demonstrating why they have only won three of their last ten as they flubbed chance after chance and could not capitalize on the Sea Dogs exceptionally weak breakouts.

Saint John did enough to ride their early lead to a shootout, where they scored their first two and didn’t need their third. Just like that, after two periods that they just seemed bound to lose, they picked up a much, much, much, much, needed win.

The Sea Dogs were quick to try to set the tone, getting a few chances early before a clearly pre-meditated fight between DiPaolo and Walter. They were chirping during warm up and dropped the gloves at the two-fifty mark of the first period. DiPaolo got the better of Walter with some big punches that connected, but Walter had a very good takedown at the end … so we’ll call it a draw.

Other than that, the Sea Dogs were disciplined/the Refs were eager to let the play flow for the first 10 minutes. The Dogs got plenty of rubber on Antoine Bibeau, who actually looked quite shaky in the first frame.

Although they had plenty of even strength opportunities, it took a 5-on-3 advantage for Saint John to get on the board. A roughing penalty for Beran followed shortly by a hooking minor for Ottereyes gave the Dogs a 1:11 5-on-3, which they got the full value of, scoring with only three seconds left in the first minor. It was the import Jurij Repe who got his first goal of the season. The defender found some space up high and put one past a recovering Bibeau. Highmore and Cooper were credited with the assists.

Before the second penalty could end, DiPaolo flipped one up over the glass to create an additional power play opportunity. The Dogs capitalized again, this time with Cooper allegedly tipping a LeBlanc point shot. I still think it’s inconclusive whether or not he got a piece of it. Noel had the second assist.

The less said about the rest of the contest the better. After an 18 shot first period, the Dogs only mustered another 16 in the 45 minutes that followed. The team struggled to get anything around the towering Islander defenseman, who looked about ‘4 feet taller than the rest of the players. Anderson got several opportunities where his speed just downright surprised everyone and led to a breakaway – I think he had three or four – but he couldn’t capitalize. Cooper actually had one of the better chances where he got passed the two d-men, avoided a trip and had a nifty move only to go a bit too far and hit side netting.

The Islanders should have had twelve goals in the game. Saint John struggled to exit the zone giving the puck away at their own blue line numerous times. They got punished twice. The first goal was Daniel Sprong who, in the second, easily intercepted a pass and was alone on Auger, making no mistake as he went upstairs. The second goal came half a minute into the third. Off the opening faceoff the Islanders entered the zone with numbers and Cobbold buried the game tying goal. The rest of the period was Saint John unable to break out of the zone, save a few spread passes that lead to breakaway chances.

The Shootout – the win
Sprong on Auger – Goal
Smallman on Bibeau – Goal
Cortese on Auger – Save
Noel on Bibeau – Goal
Kennedy on Auger – Save, Win, gg Charlottetown. Enjoy not paying the bridge toll on your way back home. Actually with that said it’s a surprise they were here at all given the bridge closures during the day (Ed. Note: they made arrangements to ensure that they, and their equipment, would get here for the game even with the bridge closure).

Other notes and thoughts and things:
  • No minor penalties for the Sea Dogs. They had the fighting major paired with the 10 minute misconduct for punching the guy after the fight (what, is that not allowed anymore!?) , but other than that the Dogs stayed clear of the box.
  • The Second intermission shootout had to go to three rounds of overtime before the red KV girls team won.
  • Auger played fine, as usual, making a handful of good saves. But Charlottetown didn’t test him too much. Both goals were more or less unstoppable, and he looked good in the shootout.
  • Again, pretty sure Cooper only got credit for that goal because he celebrated hardest. Show me the tapes!
  • Thank you Harbour Station for cheering for the guy with an actual mustache during the Movember contest for pizza money or whatever. I know it was hard to resist clapping for the child with the painted on green facial hair, but you guys did the right thing.
  • This was game 1 of a 5 game homestand that will hopefully be the point of the season where fans can look back and say “that’s where we turned things around.”
  • Double header this weekend, 7:30 start against Val-d’Or on Friday and 7 against Rouyn-Noranda Saturday. 

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