FINAL: Val-d’Or 4, Saint John 5 (OT)
SAINT JOHN – With both teams playing their third game in less than three days, the Saint John Sea Dogs (19-6-1-4) edged the Val-d'Or Foreurs (13-15-2-3) 5-4 in overtime on Sunday afternoon at Harbour Station.
The victory completed a perfect weekend for Saint John, winning all three of their games. The Dogs are 4-0-0-1 over their past five games.
Mathieu Joseph, Adam Marsh, Adam Bateman, Daniel Del Paggio and Jakub Zboril scored for Saint John, while Anthony Richard – with three – and Anthony Beauregard replied for Val-d'Or.
At 7:36 of the first, a slick pass from Nicolas Aube-Kubel found Beauregard all alone in front and he slid the puck between Alex Bishop's legs to open the scoring. Then just two minutes later, Joseph one-timed a pass from Julien Tessier behind Keven Bouchard to bring the stuffed animals raining down on Harbour Station's ice. At 10:27, following a short break to clear the ice, Marsh took a long up ice feed from Spencer Smallman, broke away all alone and fired a wrist shot over Bouchard's blocker to make it 2-1 for the Sea Dogs. Despite several more good scoring chances both ways, that score would stand. Shots on goal favoured Saint John 12-9 in the opening frame.
At 6:56 of the second, while skating four aside, Bateman's wrister, from the top of the right faceoff circle, found its way through Bouchard to make it 3-1 Saint John. Despite four power play opportunities, the Sea Dogs were unable to pull the trigger on any quality scoring chances for the rest of the period. Shots were even at 10 apiece.
Under two minutes into the third, some sloppy play in the Sea Dogs' zone lead to a loose puck which Richard deposited behind Bishop to cut the lead to 3-2. Then at 5:22, a long pass from Aube-Kubel sprung Richard for a breakaway and he fired a shot over Bishop's blocker to tie the score. At 11:11, during a scramble while on a power play, Del Paggio shoved the puck past Bouchard to restore the lead for Saint John. With six seconds left, and with an extra attacker on for the Foreurs, Richard's bullet from the point deflected off the cross bar and behind Bishop to send the game to extra time. Saint John outshot Val-d'Or 12-11 in the third to finish regulation up 35-31 on the shot clock.
The Sea Dogs controlled much of the play in overtime and with 18 seconds left, Zboril rifled the puck over Bouchard's shoulder to earn the win for the Sea Dogs.
Richard's goal with six seconds left in the third allowed the Foreurs to earn a point... but Zboril's goal with under 20 seconds left in OT was, obviously, huge.
SN PLAYERS OF THE GAME
Anthony Richard and Nicholas Aube-Kubel created havoc all afternoon.
Alex Bishop literally stood tall to earn his first win for Saint John. Nathan Noel played his best game for the Sea Dogs in a couple of weeks.
TWEET OF THE NIGHT
- Sunday was "Christmas at the Station" with the Sea Dogs' annual Teddy Bear Toss, in support of local children's charities. Fans threw countless stuffed animals onto the ice after Mathieu Joseph scored at 9:13 of the first period. As well, volunteer "Change Bandits" collected donations for the Empty Stocking Fund, choirs sang the national anthem and Christmas carols, and Santa made an appearance as well.
- Rookie goaltender Alex Bishop made his first start in a Sea Dogs uniform. He appeared a tad nervous at the start but used his 6'4" frame and challenged shooters well.
- The Sea Dogs made a couple of notable lineup moves as defenseman Luke Green and forward Justice Dundas were both “coach’s decisions,” giving them some added rest over this busy stretch. Also scratched was forward Alexander Kealey (body soreness) and defenseman Braydon Blight (healthy).
- Stephen Anderson returned to Harbour Station for the first time since being traded to the Foreurs. He had one shot, two hits and went 3/3 on faceoffs in the game.
- This was the last game of a three-in-three for both teams. Val-d’Or lost 4-1 in Cape Breton on Friday, won 6-3 in Bathurst on Saturday and lost 5-4 in OT on Sunday in Saint John. The Sea Dogs beat Rouyn-Noranda 5-1 at home on Friday, defeated the Mooseheads 3-1 in Halifax on Saturday and down Val-d’Or 5-4 in OT on Sunday afternoon at Harbour Station.
- The Sea Dogs now have 19 wins, matching their win total from all of last season.
- The Sea Dogs and Foreurs meet again next Saturday at the Air Creebec Centre in Val-d’Or.
- Bell Aliant Community One gave out rally towels to a game that was being broadcast on Rogers TV. Baller move.
The Sea Dogs begin a Quebec road swing on Wednesday in Victoriaville with an 8 p.m. contest against the Tigres. They will also be visiting Rouyn-Noranda on Friday and Val-d’Or on Saturday during the trip. The Sea Dogs’ next home game is Dec. 18 against the Acadie-Bathurst Titan.
Photo: Marc Henwood/Station Nation