FINAL: Saint John 2, Moncton 5
By Lorne Webster | SN Staff
MONCTON, NB - The Saint John Sea Dogs fell to 0-1-1 following a 5-2 loss to the Wildcats (1-1-0) at the Moncton Coliseum on Sunday afternoon.
The young Sea Dogs had first row seats to the Connor Garland show for the first two periods. Garland and line mate Chris Lalonde led the way with one goal and two assists each for the Wildcats. Stephen Johnson (PP), Will Smith (SH) and Adam Holwell also scored for Moncton.
Nathan Noel and Drew Gross scored shorthanded goals one minute apart late in the third period to make things interesting. But a slow start by Saint John, on the heels of a disappointing opening night shootout loss in Charlottetown, ended up costing the Sea Dogs dearly.
The Wildcats came out strong after a reportedly bad home opener against Cape Breton on Friday. The ‘Cats controlled much of the play for the first 10 minutes. And then Alex Dubeau came up with some big saves in the second half of the first to keep the Dogs off the board. Shots on goal favored Moncton 12-11 in the first. A goal by Garland just under five minutes in and a shorthanded goal by Smith on a beautiful feed from Johnson gave the home team a 2-0 lead.
Moncton pretty much dominated the second period. Garland served up beautiful passes to Lalonde (under 2:00 minutes in) and Holwell (just before the 12:00 mark) to extend the ‘Cats lead to 4-0 after two. Shots on goal were 14-4 Moncton.
The third period was back and forth until the Sea Dogs’ penalty kill scored back-to-back goals to make it 4-2. But Johnson scored a power play goal on a deflection off a Jacob Sweeney point shot to restore the three-goal lead. The Sea Dogs pushed hard to score late but were not able to get another puck past Dubeau. The Dogs out shot the ‘Cats 15-10 in the 3rd.
Will Smith's shorthanded goal late in the first, followed by Lalonde's marker early in the second, took the wind out of the Sea Dogs' sails.
S.N. PLAYERS OF THE GAME
Connor Garland and Stephen Johnson may be on the small side but both were buzzing around the Sea Dogs all day.
Nathan Noel was the best Sea Dog on the day and was rewarded for his efforts with a beautiful shorthand breakaway goal.
- The Sea Dogs went with the same lineup as opening night on Friday. Nikita Li, Braydon Blight and Bobby Dugan sat out, while Olivier LeBlanc, Matt Highmore and Mitch Dempsey are still away at NHL camps. Not sure if anything can be read into Li's absence for the second straight game.
- Saint John's penalty kill is off to an amazing start to the season. They did not allow a power play goal until the 15th chance. They now have two shorthand goals for vs one power play goal goal against.
- Alex Kealey and Lane Cormier were ejected in the third for what the ref's felt was a staged fight.
- The twitterverse was buzzing with a report that Moncton will send a 3rd round draft choice to the Armada for Dom Talbot-Tassi once Daniel Walcott returns to Blainville-Boisbriand from New York Rangers camp.
NEXT GAME: The Sea Dogs home opener is this Friday at 7:30 p.m. against the new-look Acadie-Bathurst Titan.