FINAL: Rimouski 6, Saint John 2
Lorne Webster | SN Staff
SAINT JOHN - Following a three-game, three-day road trip to Quebec last weekend, the Saint John Sea Dogs (26-18-1-6) returned to Harbour Station to face the Rimouski Oceanic (33-13-2-1). Rimouski showed why they are considered President's Cup favorites with a convincing 6-2 victory Wednesday evening.
Francois Beauchemin had two goals to lead the Oceanic to the win. Michael Joly, Anthony Deluca, Samuel Laberge and Alexis Loiseau added singles while Bailey Webster and Adam Bateman replied for Saint John.
Rimouski opened the scoring just over five minutes in, when Beauchemin took a short feed in the slot from Chris Clapperton and snapped the puck over Sebastien Auger's glove. The Sea Dogs tied the game at 11:25 when Justice Dundas passed the puck from the left wing boards back to Webster, who ripped a wrist shot through the legs of a screened Philippe Desrosiers. That was Webster's first QMJHL goal.
Rimouski restored a one-goal lead at 15:28 of the first while shorthanded. Joly intercepted a cross ice pass in his own zone, carried the puck straight up the middle and beat Auger in close before crashing into the Saint John keeper. The goal was reviewed but would stand. Saint John had 11 shots against 8 for Rimouski in the first.
The Oceanic pretty much controlled the second period with four straight goals. The onslaught began when DeLuca banged in the rebound of a Jan Kostalek point shot at 5:47. A shorthanded goal off a partial breakaway by Beauchemin made it 4-1 at 11:20. Laberge scored on a deke in close off a lovely feed from DeLuca at 12:53. Loiseau capped off Rimouski's scoring with a laser from the left face-off circle that beat Auger short side. Adam Bateman deposited his own rebound past Desrosiers in the final minute of the period to cut the lead to 6-2. Rimouski out shot Saint John 14-8 in the second period.
Alex Bishop relieved Auger to start the third period. Bishop and Desrosiers both made several nice saves but otherwise not much happened. Rimouski and Saint John each had 13 shots in the third. The Oceanic led in shots 35-32 overall.
The second of two shorthanded goals for Rimouski, near the middle of the second period, seemed to erase any hope the young Sea Dogs had of beating the league's most experienced team.
SN PLAYERS OF THE GAME
Francois Beauchemin (2G) and Anthony Deluca (1G, 1A) set the tone for Rimouski in the offensive zone. Samuel Morin is a huge young man at 6'7" and 225 pounds - and he used his size extremely well in the defensive zone. Bailey Webster's first QMJHL goal was the highlight of the night for Saint John.
- Prior to the game, Sea Dogs fans acknowledged Samuel Morin and Frederik Gauthier for the goal medal performances at the World Junior Hockey Championships in early January.
- Forward Mark Tremaine (lower body injury), defenceman Jack vanBoekel (mono) and defenceman Jakub Zboril (lower body injury) were not available to play for the Sea Dogs. Julien Tessier was a healthy scratch.
- Adam Bateman was the only Sea Dog with a plus rating (+1) on the night.
- Sea Dogs monthly awards for January were handed out prior to the game to:
- Nathan Noel (Player of the Month)
- Dan Del Paggio (Student of the Month)
- Mathieu Joseph (Hardest Working Forward)
- Adam Bateman (Hardest Working Defenceman)
The Sea Dogs host the Sherbrooke Phoenix Friday at 7:30 p.m. Then, on Sunday at 3 p.m., the Moncton Wildcats are in town to face the Sea Dogs.