FINAL: Halifax 1, Saint John 4
Lorne Webster | SN Staff
SAINT JOHN - In their first game of 2015, the Saint John Sea Dogs (23-10-1-4) hosted the Halifax Mooseheads (19-17-2-1) in QMJHL action Saturday night at Harbour Station. The Sea Dogs continued their mastery over Halifax with a 4-1 win - their sixth victory in six games against the Mooseheads this season. The win also allowed the Sea Dogs to get within one-point of Moncton at the top of the Maritimes Division and the league overall.
Spencer Smallman, with two goals, Jakub Zboril and Adam Marsh scored for Saint John while Brett Crossley replied for Halifax.
On a power play at 16:15 of a fast paced first period, Nathan Noel broke down the right wing and flipped a pass to Smallman who chipped the puck over Eric Brassard's pad to open the scoring. Under two minutes later, Zboril picked up the puck from a scramble in the slot and ripped a wrist shot to the top corner to extend the Dogs' lead to 2-0. Shots on goal favoured Halifax 12-11.
The referees took full control of the second period and the Sea Dogs were forced to kill several penalties, including two extended five-on-three power plays for Halifax.
At 15:40 of the second, Kelly Bent came out of the penalty box, took a clearing pass and broke in alone on Sebastien Auger. Despite being hooked he got a shot off but the rebound went to Crossley, who snapped the puck over Auger's shoulder to make the score 2-1. However, with 0.6 left in the period, after Noel had won a faceoff to Brassard's right, Marsh sent a laser to the top corner to restore Saint John's two goal lead. Halifax again out shot the Sea Dogs, this time 11-9.
While playing short handed (again) at 2:55 of the third, Smallman carried the puck into Halifax's end, lost the puck, stole it back and fired a shot off the right post and behind Brassard to extend Saint John's lead to 4-1. Saint John had 11 shots to Halifax's 8 in the third and the shot clock ended tied at 31 apiece.
Adam Marsh's goal in the final second of the second sapped any remaining energy from the Mooseheads.
SN PLAYERS OF THE GAME
Sam Dove-McFalls' shot blocking and penalty killing were on full display, especially during the second five-on-three penalty kill late in the second period when he blocked three or four shot attempts and left the ice to a rousing ovation.
- Prior to the game Spencer Smallman was awarded with two awards - Sea Dogs Student of the Month for December and the Ryobi Hardest Working Forward. Rookie Luke Green was the Player of the Month and Thomas Chabot was the Ryobi Hardest Working Defenceman.
- Star Moosehead forwards Nikolaj Ehlers (Denmark) and Timo Meier (Switzerland) are away at the World Junior Hockey Championships. They are expected to return to Halifax's line-up next weekend.
- Forwards Julien Tessier (flu) and Alex Kealey (body soreness) along with defencemen Bailey Webster (healthy) and Braydon Blight (healthy) did not dress for Saint John.
- Mathieu Joseph and Jakub Zboril were both injured early in the game and did not return. Both are likely doubtful for tomorrow's game in PEI.
- Saint John ended the game 1/4 on the power play. The Sea Dogs were perfect in killing off 10 power plays for Halifax and had a shorthanded goal to boot.
- The QMJHL’s annual holiday trade period officially ends on Jan. 6 at 1:00 p.m. Atlantic. It appears that the Sea Dogs will stand pat. At least Sea Dogs GM Darrell Young is holding his cards extremely close to his vest, so to speak.
The Sea Dogs travel to Charlottetown tomorrow to face the Islanders at 3 p.m.