FINAL: Baie-Comeau 6, Saint John 5
Lorne Webster | SN Staff
SAINT JOHN - In essentially a must win game, the Saint John Sea Dogs came up short on a frantic comeback and fell 6-5 to the Baie-Comeau Drakkar Tuesday evening at Harbour Station.
With the victory, the Drakkar now own a 3-0 lead in the best-of-seven first round series and can complete the sweep on Thursday night.
Nicolas Meloche, Vaclav Karabacek, Simon Desbiens, Maxime St-Cyr, Matthieu Desautels and Jeremy Gregoire scored for Baie-Comeau. Mark Tremaine, Adam Bateman, Sam Dove-McFalls, Spencer Smallman and Mathieu Joseph responded for Saint John.
For the third consecutive game, the Sea Dogs and Drakkar ended the first period scoreless. The Drakkar thought they had opened the scoring at 9:03, off a goalmouth scramble, but the officials ruled that the puck did not cross the line. With roughly seven minutes left in the period, Dove-McFalls was robbed by a big glove save by Philippe Cadorette while on a partial breakaway. The Sea Dogs outshot Baie-Comeau 13-10 in the first.
At 1:54 of an eventful second period - seconds after Nathan Noel had been hit from behind in the corner - Tremaine banged in the rebound of a Jakub Zboril point shot to open the scoring. On a power play at 8:10, Meloche's wrist shot from the point beat a screened Sebastien Auger high blocker side to even the score at 1-1. The Drakkar went up 2-1 at 13:35, when Karabacek came from behind the net and jammed the puck between Auger's skate and the post. The Sea Dogs found new life when a pinching Bateman snapped the puck, from the slot, just under the cross bar at 18:06 to tie the game at 2-2. Shots on goal favoured Saint John 18-12 in the second period.
The Drakkar came out strong to start a wild third period and took a 3-2 lead at 2:15 when Desbiens finished off a lovely give and go with Karabacek. It appeared that Chad Pietroniro had scored about 30 seconds later but the goal was called back due to an offside call – discovered after a video review. At 11:55, St-Cyr did extend the Drakkar lead to 4-2 when he tipped a slap pass from Meloche over Auger's shoulder. At 13:03, Desautels' rocket from the right faceoff dot found its way just under the crossbar to make the score 5-2.
At 14:15, Dove-McFalls scooped up the puck outside his blue line and off a two-on-one rush wired a wrist shot from the right side that beat Cadorette on the stick side to bring the Sea Dogs to 5-3. However, less than a minute later, the Drakkar outworked the Sea Dogs and Gregoire snapped a rebound past Auger to re-establish a three goal lead. To their credit, the Sea Dogs made a final push. At 18:28, Smallman one-timed a pass from Tremaine past Cadorette to make it 6-4. With Auger on the bench for an extra attacker, Joseph's wrist shot from the bottom of the faceoff circle snuck past Cadorette with 12.7 seconds left. The Sea Dogs were not able to get the equalizer in the dying seconds, though. Baie-Comeau led 18-10 in shots on goal in the third but Saint John ended the game up 41-40 overall.