HALIFAX – Sebastien Auger’s 37 saves backstopped the Saint John Sea Dogs to a solid 3-1 road win over the Halifax Mooseheads at Scotiabank Centre on Saturday night.
Luke Green, Matthew Highmore and Mitchell Dempsey scored for the Sea Dogs in the victory but the big story was Auger who came up huge at key moments in the game, particularly in the third period when Halifax outshot Saint John 19-4.
The Sea Dogs improved to a Maritimes Division best 18-6-1-4 with the win. Saint John has won the first two games of their bizarre three-in-three weekend set and will try for the sweep tomorrow afternoon.
Halifax’s lone goal on Saturday came from Timo Meier late in the second period. Zach Fucale didn’t have a fantastic night in net, allowing three goals on 23 shots.
The Mooseheads fell to 14-14-2-1 with the loss.
Green opened the scoring at 8:04 of the first. The defensemen took a pass from his twin brother, sped down the wing, cut in front and fired the puck over the shoulder of Fucale to make it 1-0 Saint John. The Dogs kept the pressure on following the goal, creating a couple of good chances.
At 12:36, Adam Marsh centered the puck to Highmore who redirected it in to give Saint John a 2-0 advantage. Shots were 14-9 in favour of Saint John in the opening period of play.
Midway through the second, Highmore bumped into Fucale a bit and seemed to upset the Moose goaltender as he rushed over to the officials to have word at the next whistle. Soon after, at 10:02, Dempsey threw the puck on net and it somehow slid past Fucale to make it 3-0 Sea Dogs.
Halifax got on the board at 17:12. Nikolaj Ehlers, from along the boards, found a streaking Meier who beat Auger upstairs to make it a 3-1 game. It was fairly back-and-forth second period with shots ending up 10-5 in favour of Halifax.
The Mooseheads’ comeback attempts were dealt a major blow 12:00 of the third. Ehlers was called for roughing but, after arguing the call with the officials, was given a misconduct for abuse of officials.
It was all Halifax late in third. They pulled Fucale with 2:30 remaining and were then placed on a power play when Jakub Zboril was called for roughing at 18:25. Auger came up with some big saves to keep the Dogs in front until the buzzer sounded.
Shots were 19-4 in favour of the Moose in the third and 38-23 overall.
Saint John’s two first period goals gave the Sea Dogs a big boost and deflated the Mooseheads, ultimately leading the visitors to victory.
SN PLAYER OF THE GAME
Saint John’s penalty kill: after killing off seven Rouyn-Noranda power plays last night, the Sea Dogs killed off all four Halifax man advantages tonight.
- The Sea Dogs were without forwards Julien Tessier (healthy) and Alexander Kealey (body soreness) along with defensemen Bailey Webster (healthy) and Braydon Blight (healthy).
- According to Tim Roszell, Luke Green’s first period goal was the first goal that the Green twins have combined to create.
- Juraj Siska’s assist on Mitchell Dempsey’s second period goal was his first point since Oct. 30.
- Dempsey scored his first goal since Oct. 25.
- With an assist on Timo Meier’s second period goal, Nikolaj Ehlers extended his point streak to 15 games.
- Mark Tremaine had a Sea Dogs high four shots.
- Saint John improved to 5-0-0-0 against Halifax this season with the win.
- Halifax’s five game home winning streak came to an end.
- Sebastien Auger appeared to be in some discomfort after making a save late in the third period but remained in the game. Alex Bishop will presumably start tomorrow since the Sea Dogs will be playing their third game in less than three days.
- Jeff Lansing, formerly of the station once known as News 88.9, provided colour commentary on 96.1 NewSong FM.
The Sea Dogs host the Val-d’Or Foreurs tomorrow afternoon at 3 p.m. at Harbour Station. Tomorrow’s contest is “Christmas at the Station,” featuring the annual Teddy Bear Toss.
Photo: Marc Henwood/Station Nation
Photo: Marc Henwood/Station Nation