FINAL : Saint John 4, Charlottetown 5
Lorne Webster | SN Staff
CHARLOTTETOWN, PEI - In their second game in less than 24 hours, the Saint John Sea Dogs (23-11-1-4) travelled to Charlottetown to face the Islanders (20-19-1-1) Sunday afternoon and came away with a 5-4 loss.
The Sea Dogs rolled into PEI riding a three-game win streak but the Islanders proved to be too much for a tired Sea Dogs squad. In what has become a series of tight games between the two clubs, Charlottetown improved to 4-1-0-1 against Saint John - while the Sea Dogs fell to 2-2-1-1 against the Islanders. The loss, combined with a 2-1 win by Moncton over Acadie-Bathurst, left the Sea Dogs three points behind the front running Wildcats.
Alexandre Goulet, Spenser Cobbold, Filip Chlapik, Oliver Cooper and Daniel Sprong scored for Charlottetown while Olivier LeBlanc, Nathan Noel, Justice Dundas and Matthew Highmore replied for Saint John.
On a power play at 12:32 - seconds after Alex Bishop robbed Chlapik - Mitch Dempsey served up a lovely pass, which LeBlanc stepped into and his slap shot found its way through a crowd and past Mason MacDonald to open the scoring. Less than two minutes later, Noel finished off a beautiful three-way passing play with Spencer Smallman and Mark Tremaine to extend the Sea Dogs' lead to 2-0. But, at 16:11, Goulet one-timed at pass from Daniel Sprong past Bishop to bring the Islanders back to within one. Shots on goal favoured Saint John 11-10.
The teams opened the second period skating four aside and they quickly exchanged goals in the first two minutes. First, at 0:51, Bishop stopped Goulet and thought he had covered the puck but Cobbold found the disk and poked it into the net to tie the game at 2-2. Then, at 1:39, Dundas took a feed from Noel and unloaded a waist-high laser that beat MacDonald glove side to make it 3-2. However, with just over a minute left in the second, Sprong grabbed a neutral ice turnover, skated into Saint John's end and sent a cross-ice pass to Chlapik who sent a rocket past Bishop to tie the game once again at 3-3. Saint John out shot the Islanders 9-8.
At 10:33 of the third, at the end of a hard working shift with a fine display of puck cycling, Cooper capitalized on a scramble in front of Bishop and snapped the puck into the top of the net to give Charlottetown its first lead at 4-3. Then, at 13:08 following a turnover at the Sea Dogs line, Sprong finished off a lovely three-way passing play with Chlapik and Goulet to extend the Islanders' lead to 5-3. On a power play at 16:56, Highmore tipped a Dempsey shot past MacDonald to bring the Sea Dogs back to 5-4. The Islanders took a couple of late penalties but the Sea Dogs were unable to get the equalizer past MacDonald. Charlottetown out shot Saint John 12-8 in the third. The final shot tally favoured the Islanders 30-28.
Daniel Sprong's marker midway through the third period, less than three minutes after the Islanders’ puck cycling display, which led to former Sea Dog Oliver Cooper's goal, proved to be the difference.
SN PLAYERS OF THE GAME
The line of Sprong, Chlapik and Goulet awoke from a recent slump and powered the Islanders to the win. Nathan Noel turned in another strong effort to lead the Sea Dogs.
- Extra circular activity at the end of both the first and second period resulted in penalty calls to both teams.
- Forwards Mathieu Joseph (shoulder), Julien Tessier (flu), Alex Kealey (body soreness) and defenceman Jakub Zboril (lower body) did not dress for Saint John.
- The QMJHL annual holiday trade period officially ends on Tuesday, Jan. 6, at 1:00 p.m. Atlantic. In an interview with John Moore last night, GM Darryl Young indicated that he is looking to add one physical forward, possibly another defenceman and maybe another high draft choice. Young stated that he is not looking to make a trade for any 19 or 20 year-old players.
- Young also said - again - that he does not expect Jack Eichel to leave Boston University for Saint John at this point. Eichel has met his academic requirements at BU and, despite Team USA's defeat to Russia in the WJHC quarter-finals, Young does not think that Eichel feels he has to prove his draft status to the Canadian press in Saint John.
The Sea Dogs host the new look Acadie-Bathurst Titan on Wednesday evening at 7 p.m. Please note that the Sea Dogs are offering special student and youth pricing for all of their home games in January. It would be awesome to see more fans turn out at Harbour Station to show their support for this exciting young team.