FINAL: Saint John 5, Charlottetown 6 (OT)
Lorne Webster | SN Staff
CHARLOTTETOWN, PEI - Alexandre Goulet scored the game winner at 4:23 of overtime to give the Charlottetown Islanders (34-28-1-4) a hard fought 6-5 victory over the Saint John Sea Dogs (31-26-4-6) Friday evening at a sold out Eastlink Centre.
Imports Filip Rydstrom and Filip Chlapik each tallied two goals for the Islanders and 20 year-old PEI native Ross Johnston added a power play marker in the final minute of regulation to send the game to overtime for Charlottetown. Jakub Zboril, Thomas Chabot, Justice Dundas, Boko Imama and Mathieu Joseph replied for Saint John.
Sebastien Auger - with 45 often difficult saves - and the recently struggling Sea Dogs deserve a lot of credit for playing a relatively disciplined game and battling through both a tough Islanders squad and a flu bug to earn a point in an entertaining, back and forth affair which had five ties and six lead changes.
Charlottetown opened the scoring at 8:28 of the first period, when Rydstrom ripped a wrist shot from the left face-off circle past a screened Sebastien Auger low to the glove side. Auger came up with a huge save at 16:04 when he robbed Goulet on a penalty shot with a sliding double pad stack. A more disciplined Sea Dogs squad was rewarded - when they came away from a scrum following a huge, clean hit by Mathieu Joseph - with a two-man advantage in the final minute of the first. At 19:30, Zboril unloaded a laser from the high slot past a screened Darryl MacCallum to tie the score at 1-1. Charlottetown led 12-11 on the shot clock.
Off a face-off at 1:33 of the second period, Chlapik powered his way to the net and, on a deke to the forehand, slid the puck between Auger's toe and the post to make it 2-1 Charlottetown. Just over two minutes later, Chabot walked into the slot and ripped a wrist shot low glove side to tie the game at 2-2. At 14:26, Rydstrom gave the Islanders their third lead, at 3-2, when he carried the puck from behind the net to the slot and unleashed a backhand over Auger's blocker. But, at 18:20, Dundas tied the game at 3-3 when he tapped in the rebound of a Chabot shot - following great work by Imama along the boards. Charlottetown outshot the Sea Dogs 15-10 in the second period.
At 1:49 of the third, Daniel Sprong made a slick move in the Sea Dogs zone and feathered a back door pass to Chlapik who snapped the puck past Auger to put the Islanders up 4-3. Under three minutes later, Imama carried the puck down the left wing and unloaded a heavy wrist shot to the far side top corner to even the match at 4-4. The Sea Dogs took their first lead of the night at 11:37, when Joseph carried the puck down the right wing and his pass out front deflected back to him and he wired a wrister past MacCallum. But at 19:08 - while skating six on four - Johnston got a back door pass from Sprong and he snapped the puck past an out-stretched Auger to send the game to extra time. Charlottetown had 20 shots against seven for Saint John in the third.
A back and forth game deserved a back and forth extra period. At 4:23 of OT, Kameron Keilly fed Goulet in the slot and he one-timed the puck just over Auger's pad to score the golden goal. Charlottetown led 4-3 in shots on goal to end the game up 51-31 overall.
In a game filled with highlight reel goals and saves at both ends, Goulet's overtime winner stands as the obvious difference maker.
SN PLAYERS OF THE GAME
Imports Chlapik (two goals) and Rydstrom (two goals) along with Daniel Sprong (three assists) put on an offensive show for the Islanders. Sebastien Auger (45 saves) appears to have found his mojo again. Thomas Chabot (one goal, two assists and +2) and Boko Imama (one goal and one assist) also stood out for the Sea Dogs.
- At the beginning of a pre-game ceremony, the Islanders and their fans acknowledged Sea Dogs' equipment manager David ('DK') Kelly in his battle with cancer and extended their best wishes for a full and speedy recovery. Very Classy.
- Hockey analyst Craig Button was at the game to watch a large group of potential high NHL draft picks, including Daniel Sprong, Jakub Zboril, Thomas Chabot and Filip Chalpik. Toronto's Mark Hunter and a group of Calgary Flames representatives, highlighted by GM Brad Treliving, were also in attendance.
- The Sea Dogs were missing serious firepower with two of their top three leading point getters with Nathan Noel (day-to-day - flu) and Adam Marsh (week-to-week - lower body injury) out of the lineup.
- Defenceman Jason Bell - who acknowledged in a recent Telegraph-Journal article that his defensive game is improving but requires more work - was a healthy scratch along with forward/defenceman Braydon Blight.
- Islanders star goaltender Mason MacDonald was given the final weekend off to deal with a sore back.
- There will be a ton of scoreboard watching Saturday and Sunday as essentially none of the first round QMJHL playoff matchups have been confirmed.
The Sea Dogs play their final regular season game in Halifax when they face the Mooseheads tomorrow (Saturday) at 4 p.m.