FINAL: Moncton 6, Saint John 2
SAINT JOHN - The Moncton Wildcats (43-17-0-3) waltzed into Harbour Station Sunday afternoon and clobbered the Saint John Sea Dogs (31-23-3-6) by a final score of 6-2. The Sea Dogs had front row seats to the "Conor Garland Show" as they watched the diminutive winger set a Wildcats record for points in a season.
Garland led Moncton with one goal and three assists to break Sebastien Roger's record of 114 points. Dominic Talbot-Tassi, Bronson Beaton, Ivan Barbashev, Stephen Johnson and Cameron Askew added singles for the Wildcats while Nathan Noel and Mathieu Joseph replied for Saint John.
While Sea Dogs fans expected a battle for home ice advantage in the playoffs, Saint John instead did their best Toronto Maple Leafs impression. For the most part, the Sea Dogs were undisciplined and generally uninspired in what may have been the team's worst home ice performance of the season.
The Sea Dogs were called for penalties early and often in the first period. Talbot-Tassi made them pay with a power play goal at 8:26 with a blast from the point past a screened Sebastien Auger. Moncton led 10-3 on the shot clock in the first period.
The second period was pretty much all Moncton as the Wildcats scored a pair a beautiful goals less than 30 seconds apart in the eighth minute by Beaton - on a lovely tip of an Askew pass from the corner- and Garland - on a wraparound. With just over five minutes left in the second, Boko Imama was assessed a major and game misconduct for head contact. The Wildcats made Saint John pay dearly with power play goals by Barbashev and Johnson to end the period up 5-0. Moncton had 16 shots on net versus nine for the Sea Dogs in the second period.
The Sea Dogs actually came out strong to start the third period and Noel finally beat Alex Dubeau with a snap shot top shelf at 4:58. Joseph then converted a beautiful back door pass from Sam Dove-McFalls at 8:43 to make it 5-2. But Askew's power play goal - and Moncton's fourth extra man marker in the game - at 14:48 ended any hopes of a comeback. Saint John outshot Moncton 16-15 in the third but Moncton ended the game up 41-28 overall.
A pair of highlight reel goals by Moncton before the midpoint of the second period.
SN PLAYER OF THE GAME
Connor Garland - Wildcats new record holder for points in a season.
TWEETS OF THE NIGHT
Seven players in the box, the refs are even confused #ComeOn #LetsPlayHockey #SeaDogs #Wildcats
— Duane Squires (@DuaneSquires) March 8, 2015
#Seadogs finally got their second goal. Woppers all around!
— HamptonToday (@HamptonToday) March 8, 2015
- The Sea Dogs handed out their monthly awards for February. Player of the month was Mathieu Joseph, student of the month was Adam Bateman, Ryobi hardest working forward was Sam Dove-McFalls and the Ryobi hardest working defenceman was Bailey Webster
- Adam Bateman was out due to a suspension as a result of removing Campbell Pickard's helmet during a fight Friday evening in Bathurst.
- Defenceman Jack vanBoekel recovered from mononucleosis and returned to the line-up for the first time in over a month.
- Matt Green, Julien Tessier and Mitch Dempsey did not dress for Saint John.
- Moncton has a firm grasp on the Rivalry Cup for the 2014-15 season.
The Sea Dogs host the Cape Breton Screaming Eagles Wednesday at 7 p.m.