Saturday, December 13, 2014

RECAP: Sea Dogs Lose 4-2

FINAL: Saint John 2, Val-d’Or 4
Lorne Webster | SN Staff

VAL-D'OR, QC - The Saint John Sea Dogs (20-8-1-4) made the relatively short drive from Rouyn-Noranda to Val-d'Or Saturday afternoon to face the Foreurs (14-15-2-3). This was the final game of a three games in four days stretch in the province of Quebec for the Dogs as well as their sixth game in nine days. It was a very difficult 24 hours for Saint John as the Foreurs upended the Sea Dogs 4-2. It was Saint John's second loss after arriving in in northern Quebec riding a four-game winning streak. However, the Sea Dogs remain first in the Maritimes Division and now have a three-point lead over the rival Moncton Wildcats.

Julien Gauthier, Anthony Beauregard, Nicolas Aube-Kubel and Anthony Richard scored for Val-d'Or while Thomas Chabot and Justice Dundas replied for Saint John.     

On a power play just under three minutes into the first, Olivier LeBlanc barely kept the puck onside and passed it quickly to Chabot, who skated down the left wing and fired a wrist shot over the short-side shoulder of rookie Etienne Montpetit to open the scoring. On another power play four minutes later, Richard unloaded a slap shot from the point that missed the net but Gauthier one-timed the rebound off the end boards past Sebastien Auger to tie the game at 1-1. That score would stand for the remainder of a fast-paced period. Shots on goal favoured Val-d'Or 14-11.

At 9:31 of the second, Dundas took advantage of a poor Foreurs line change when he bolted down the right wing all alone and rifled a wrist shot past Montpetit low on the blocker side to give the Sea Dogs a 2-1 lead. The Sea Dogs' penalty kill was called into action late in the second but answered the call to end the period up 2-1. Val-d'Or outshot the Sea Dogs again, 10-8.  

The Foreurs, likely sensing a tired crew in white, came out strong to start the third period. Just over four minutes into the period, a turnover in the Foreurs' zone ended up leading to a two-on-one break with Gauthier carrying the puck into Saint John's end. Gauthier fed the puck to Beauregard, who in turn beat Auger with a lovely deke to tie the game 2-2. With just four minutes left in the third, Adam Marsh's wrist shot caromed off the cross bar and out of play. Less than a minute later, Aube-Kubel stepped into a clean face-off win by Guillaume Archambault and he fired the puck past Auger to give Val-d'Or their first lead. With 34 seconds left, seconds after Montpetit robbed Mark Tremaine on a power play, Richard managed to corral the puck and find the empty net to add a shorthanded marker to set the final score at 4-2. Val-d'Or once again out shot Saint John - 10-9 - in the third to end the game up 34-28 on the shot clock.

The one-timer from Nicholas Aube-Kubel with three minutes left in the game pretty much took the last bit of wind out of the Sea Dogs' sails. But Etienne Montpetit's huge save off a Mark Tremaine shot, in the final minute, ultimately preserved the win and gave the Foreurs a season split with Saint John. 

Sebastien Auger's 30 saves were not enough to overcome the offensive exploits of Julien Gauthier (1G, 1A), Anthony Richard (1G, 1A) and the other young Foreurs.  

  • With Mathieu Joseph suspended indefinitely from what was called a check to the head of Ryan Penny, Julien Tessier was called upon to replace Joseph in the line-up. Mitchell Dempsey, who missed Friday's game with a lower body injury, returned to the line-up. Braydon Blight was a healthy scratch for the Sea Dogs.
  • Both of the goaltenders, Alex Bishop and Keven Bouchard, who played in last week's 5-4 overtime win by Saint John over Val-d'Or were on the bench for this contest.
  • The bad blood witnessed between the two teams last week in Saint John was evident again today and the referees were quick to call virtually every infraction in the first period. That seemed to cool things down, since the rough stuff subsided significantly in the second and third periods.
  • The QMJHL annual holiday trade period officially opens on Friday, Dec. 19. While there have already been a flurry of trades involving overagers, imports and non-roster players, it will be interesting to see what transpires, especially with the 'Q' hosting this year's Memorial Cup. Stayed tuned for Station Nation's trade period preview early next week.

The Sea Dogs host the Acadie-Bathurst Titan on Thursday at 7 p.m.

Photo: Marc Henwood/Station Nation

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