SAINT JOHN – Carl Marois’ overtime goal completed an impressive comeback by the Victoriaville Tigres on Wednesday night at Harbour Station.
Down 3-1 in the first period, it looked as though the Saint John Sea Dogs had all the momentum against the struggling Tigres. But the visitors chipped away at Saint John’s lead, tying it in the second period and then winning it in extra time, 4-3.
Saint John had plenty of scoring chances – they finished the game with 44 shots – but just couldn’t finish, particularly in the second half of the game against Tigres net minder Chase Marchand. Daniel Del Paggio, Adam Marsh and Nathan Noel had goals for Saint John. Sebastien Auger was solid in net, making 28 saves. If not for Auger’s performance in the third, the Tigres could have very well won the match in regulation time.
Along with Marois’ goal, Nikita Li, Antoine Marcoux and Jake Barter also scored for Victoriaville. Olivier Tremblay and Chase Marchand combined to make 41 saves in the win.
The Sea Dogs opened the scoring at 5:55 of the first period when Luke Green found a wide-open Del Paggio in front of the net. The first year Sea Dog deflected the puck past Tremblay to make it 1-0.
The Tigres tied things up at 12:50 when a Li shot bounced off some bodies and in to make it 1-1. But Saint John retook the lead at 13:33 when, while on a two-on-one with Matthew Highmore, Marsh kept the puck and wired a wrist shot past the Tigres netminder. Seven seconds later, Noel fired an innocent looking shot from the top of the faceoff dot to make it 3-1. That would be the end of Tremblay’s night.
Just when it looked like Saint John was in complete control, Victoriaville got back within one at 17:29. Gabriel Gagne sent a backhand pass through the top of the crease to Antoine Marcoux who beat a fallen Auger to make it 3-2. Shots in the opening period were 13-9 in favour of Saint John.
The second period saw lots of back-and-forth play with both teams exchanging power play opportunities. Mathieu Joseph had a decent scoring chance for Saint John late in the period, diving to the left of Marchand but sending the puck wide.
At 15:00, Marois centred the puck to Barter who connected to tie things at 3-3. Shots in the second period were 16-15 in favour of the Tigres.
The Dogs had a handful of good chances in the third but just couldn’t connect. Joseph had a breakaway early on but couldn’t get much on his shot attempt. Later on, Thomas Chabot fed Del Paggio - who had a wide open net – but he fanned on the shot.
Justice Dundas headed off for checking from behind at 13:48, giving Victoriaville a late power play opportunity. On that man advantage and with 5:41 left in the game, the Tigres scored but the goal was called off due to goaltender interference. Despite some anger from the Tigres bench, Gabriel Gagne headed to the box to create some four-on-four play. Not much would happen during the span or the brief Saint John power play.
With 2:11 left in the game, Auger made a massive glove save off of a Samuel Blais shot from the top of the crease. Then, at 19:16, Samuel Dove-McFalls was given a controversial boarding penalty to send the Tigers to the power play, a power play that would carry over into overtime. Shots in the third were 16-10 in favour of Saint John.
After not being able to capitalize on the man advantage, Marois rifled a wrist shot off the bar and in at 2:06 to give Victoriaville the win. Shots in OT were 4-0 Tigres. Saint John led on the shot clock overall, 44-39.
A late surge in the third period and power play opportunity gave the Tigres momentum heading into overtime, leading them to the come-from-behind victory.
SN PLAYER OF THE GAME
Thought Dan Del Paggio looked good.
- The Sea Dogs were without forwards Bokondji Imama (first game of a four-game suspension) and Mark Tremaine (lower body) along with defensemen Jakub Zboril (lower body) and Jack vanBoekel (illness).
- There was a moment of silence to honour Harold Mayes and former Saint John Flames defenseman Steve Montador before the game.
- Saint John’s two goals in seven seconds tied a team record.
- Luke Green continues to impress offensively and recorded two assists tonight. He’s the real deal.
- Nathan Noel had been held goalless in his past six games entering this one.
- Adam Marsh now has three goals in his past four games.
The Sea Dogs are in Charlottetown on Friday night to battle the Islanders at 7 p.m.