FINAL: Bathurst 6, Saint John 4
For the second time this season, the Titan picked up a road win in Saint John, downing the Sea Dogs 6-4 in a back-and-forth game on Wednesday night. Saint John has suffered just two regulation time home losses this season, both of which have come against Bathurst.
Both teams featured new faces in their lineup and both had their struggles. Saint John’s defense, missing Olivier LeBlanc due to trade and Jakub Zboril due to injury, had a rough night and goaltender Sebastien Auger struggled at times.
Mark Simpson had an impressive outing for the Titan, posting two goals and three assists in the win. Nicolas Blanchard, Aaron Kerr, Andrew Ryan and Jordan Maher also scored in the victory. Daniel Vautour made 31 saves in the win.
Spencer Smallman scored twice for Saint John while Justice Dundas and Mitchell Dempsey added singles. Auger made 25 stops in the loss.
After Bokondji Imama fanned on a shot from the slot, Smallman found the loose puck and beat Vautour with a shot to give Saint John a 1-0 lead at 8:42 of the first. Bathurst quickly tied it up though as Simpson put in a rebound at 13:40.
Bathurst took a 2-1 lead at 17:51. Simpson grabbed the puck in the corner and skated towards the crease. He sent a short pass to Blanchard who beat Auger with a shot off the post and in to put the visitors in front.
Shots in the first period were 12-9 in favour of the Sea Dogs.
The opening half of the second period was rather dull with not much of anything happening. Finally at 11:25, things started to happen. Imama’s shot from the circle was stopped by Vautour but Smallman jammed the puck in to tie things up at 2-2.
Just 43 seconds later, Kerr grabbed a loose puck at the defensive blue line and skated all the way into the offensive zone uncontested. He burst in and fired a wrist shot top corner past Auger to put Bathurst back in front 3-2.
Saint John tied things up again at 13:28. Dempsey fired a sharp angle shot from the goal line that somehow went through Vautor to make it a 3-3 contest.
The goals kept coming as Maher connected at 15:21. Following a scramble in the crease, Auger was caught out of position, allowing Simpson, who was behind Auger, to throw the puck through the blue point to Maher who tapped it in to make it 4-3 Titan.
Saint John tied things yet again at 17:16. A pass from Matthew Highmore found Dundas in the circle who wired a hard wrist shot upstairs on Vautout to make it 4-4.
Shots in the goal filled second frame were 19-12 in favour of the Sea Dogs.
After another uneventful start to a period, the Titan retook the lead as Ryan swept the puck past Auger at 8:19 of the third. That made it a 5-4 game.
Simpson added some insurance at 17:43 as he grabbed the puck along the side boards and fired a innocent looking wrist shot past Auger to put Bathurst in front by score of 6-4.
Saint John couldn’t generate a whole lot in the final minutes, dropping the game 6-4. Shots were 10-4 Titan in the third and 35-31 Saint John overall.
TURNING POINT/BIG MOMENT
It was anybody’s game entering the final 20 minutes. Bathurst was the better team in the third, scoring twice and outshooting Saint John 10-4, to guide the Titan to victory.
SN PLAYERS OF THE GAME
It’s impossible not to pick Mark Simpson who had a five-point night. The Titan’s Nicholas Blanchard had a few quality scoring chances in this game as well.
TWEET OF THE NIGHT
In Saint John tonight to watch @SeaDogsHockey vs @ABTitan with @WayneLongSJ & @DrShelleyR #QMJHL pic.twitter.com/nu7lSLClKm
— Brian Gallant (@BrianGallantNB) January 8, 2015
- The Sea Dogs were without forwards Julien Tessier (flu) and Mathieu Joseph (shoulder) along with defensemen Jakub Zboril (lower body) and Braydon Blight (healthy).
- Due to some travel issues, Bokondji Imama did not take warm up but arrived in time for opening puck drop. Imama certainly made an impact, registering two assists and four shots in his Sea Dogs debut.
- In a pre-game interview on NewSong FM, Ross Yates said he tried very hard to acquire Imama during last year’s trading period.
- New Brunswick premier Brian Gallant was in attendance. He was interviewed by Rogers TV during the first intermission.
- Nathan Noel had two assists.
- Spencer Smallman now has points in seven straight games – which includes seven goals.
- Only three penalties in this game.
NEXT GAME: The Sea Dogs are in Moncton tomorrow night to battle the Wildcats at 7 p.m.