By Lorne Webster | SN Staff
BATHURST - The Sea Dogs (12-3-0-3) travelled to Bathurst on Wednesday to face the Titan (5-14-1-0) for the first game of a five-game road stretch. Despite getting off the a slow start, Saint John was able to finish strong in order to beat Acadie-Bathurst 4-2 at the K.C. Irving Regional Center.
Daniel Del Paggio, Justice Dundas, Jakub Zboril and Sam Dove-McFalls scored for Saint John while Jeffery Truchon-Viel and Aaron Kerr replied for Bathurst. Despite strong checking by the Titan and a depleted crew on defence, the Sea Dogs were able to overcome two one-goal deficits to win the game and maintain their lead atop the Maritimes Division.
Late in a relatively even, somewhat uneventful first period, Truchon-Viel picked the pocket of Thomas Chabot in the Sea Dogs' zone and fired the puck over Sebastien Auger's shoulder to open the scoring at 14:46. The Titan led 1-0 after one and out shot Saint John 15-7.
The Sea Dogs' penalty killing units were called on early the second period but, led by Auger, kept the Titan at bay. Then at 9:03, on Saint John's first power play of the night, Del Paggio took a back door feed from Olivier LeBlanc and deposited the puck behind a helpless Jacob Brennan to tie the game at 1-1. Less than a minute later, with the teams skating four-on-four, Kerr pulled a 'spin-o-rama' and fired a wrist shot past Auger to restore a one-goal lead. On a late power play, Dundas corralled a rebound and poked the puck past Brennan with 0.7 seconds left in the period. While Bathurst led on the shot clock 16-11, the period ended tied 2-2.
The early part of the third period was very similar to the first with tight checking and few good scoring opportunities. Also, the referees seemed to pocket their whistles in the last 10 minutes of the third period. That drew the ire of Ross Yates when Mathieu Joseph had his stick broken in two by a slash, yet it did not result in a penalty call. However, with 1:44 left in the third period, Jakub Zboril took a cross ice feed from Adam Marsh and ripped a wrist shot off the post and past Brennan to give the Sea Dogs their first lead of the night. Just one minute later, following a lengthy scrum along the right-wing boards in the Sea Dogs end, Dove-McFalls was able to grab the puck, get just past the centre line and shoot the puck into an empty net to set the final score. Saint John led 10-5 on the shot clock in the third but the Titan ended the game outshooting Saint John 36-28.
Justice Dundas' power play goal in the final second of the second period allowed to Sea Dogs to go to the locker room tied, even though they had struggled to get in sync up to that point in the game.
S.N. PLAYERS OF THE GAME
Following a two game absence due to the flu, Sebastien Auger showed his team MVP skills by making 34 saves, including a couple of breakaways, to backstop the win for Saint John. Aaron Kerr was strong in both ends of the rink for Bathurst, including a highlight reel goal in the second period.
- Saint John has moved up to No. 3 in the CHL Top 10 Rankings. Rimouski slid to 7th, Sherbrooke is at No. 10 and Baie-Comeau was an honorable mention.
- Saint John scratches were goalie Blade Mann-Dixon (healthy); defensemen Luke Green (U-17 Challenge), Jack vanBoekel (minor injury) and Adam Bateman (upper body); and forwards Matt Green (healthy) and Alex Kealey (soreness).
- Defenseman Shane MacDonald was called up from Amherst-MHL to help fill the void on defense. The 19 year-old was a 12th round draft selection (218th overall) in 2012.
The Sea Dogs travel to Halifax on Friday for a 7 p.m. game against the Mooseheads. The Sea Dogs will travel to Quebec next week for three games in four days.
Photo: Marc Henwood/Station Nation
Photo: Marc Henwood/Station Nation