Wednesday, March 11, 2015

RECAP: Sea Dogs Lose 8-3

FINAL: Saint John 3, Cape Breton 8
Lorne Webster | SN Staff

SAINT JOHN - The highly motivated Cape Breton Screaming Eagles (29-29-3-3) came out on top by an 8-3 score against a disappointing Saint John Sea Dog squad (31-24-3-6) squad at Harbour Station on Wednesday evening.  

Despite claims they are trying to get into the top eight heading into the playoffs, the Sea Dogs generally sloppy play is leading many observers to conclude that the team is content to coast into the playoffs.   

Maxim Lazarev led Cape Breton with three goals. Former Sea Dog captain Olivier LeBlanc as well as Duncan MacIntyre, Evgeny Svechnikov, Marcus Hinds and Colby Tower added singles for the Screaming Eagles. Nathan Noel had two goals and Adam Bateman added one is response for Saint John.   

The Screaming Eagles came out with a strong push. At 3:34, Svechnikov picked Thomas Chabot's pocket just inside Saint John's blue line and fed Lazarev who, in turn, one-timed the puck past Sebastien Auger to open the scoring. While shorthanded just past the 12 minute mark, Auger made a highlight save when he dove and used his paddle to rob Lazarev as the Russian star appeared to have a open net. Cape Breton led 15-7 on the shot clock and that was fairly indicative of the play in the first period.

Saint John had their second consecutive regrettable second period as Cape Breton dominated the Sea Dogs much like Moncton did this past Sunday. At 2:58, seconds after a long delay - following a big hit by Justice Dundas which dislodged a pane of glass - the puck came back to LeBlanc from a scramble and he fired a bullet short side over Auger's shoulder. At 5:04, MacIntyre's point shot banked off Lazarev and then Dundas and past Auger to make it 3-0. At 11:35, a pinching MacIntyre tipped a lovely pass from Pierre-Luc Dubois through Auger's legs and it was 4-0 in favour of Cape Breton.

The Sea Dogs showed some push back and, on a power play at 13:31, Noel unleashed a seeing-eye shot from the slot that beat a screened Miguel Sullivan to get the Sea Dogs on the scoreboard. However, on another power play at 15:53, Lazarev completed his hat trick with a laser past a stunned Auger to extend Cape Breton's lead to 5-1. Saint John managed to get 12 shots on goal against 11 for Cape Breton in the second.  

Ross Yates finally decided to give Auger a break and Alex Bishop came into play to start the third. At 8:08, Noel fired the puck from the wing and it eluded the Screaming Eagles' keeper to make the score 5-2. At 11:25, Svechnikov completed a nice 'give and go' with Loik Leveille on a three on one break to restore Cape Breton's four goal lead at 6-2. Then, at 14:47, Bateman unloaded a slap shot from the point that beat Sullivan over his blocker to bring the Sea Dogs back to 6-3. The Sea Dogs’ hopes of a comeback where thwarted when Hinds scored a shorthanded empty net goal at 16:37. Tower made the final score 8-3 when he scored with 20 seconds left. Cape Breton out shot Saint John 12-8 in the third and 36-25 overall.

Another bad second period highlighted a tough night at the office for the Sea Dogs.

The dynamic Russian duo of Maxim Lazarev (three goals) and Evgeny Svechnikov (one goal and three assists) were too much for the Sea Dogs on this night. Nathan Noel (two goals) was one of the few bright spots for the Sea Dogs.

  • The Sea Dogs remain in 9th place - one point behind Sherbrooke - with four games left in the regular season. The Sea Dogs finish with games at Moncton (03/13), vs. Halifax (03/14), at Charlottetown (03/20) and at Halifax (03/21). The Islanders ended the night within two points of Saint John. Halifax, Rouyn-Noranda and Cape Breton could also squeak past the Sea Dogs in the final standings, especially if Saint John continues to struggle.  
  • Bokondji Imama served the first game of a two game suspension following a match penalty for head contact against Moncton on Sunday. Adam Marsh (flu) and Braydon Blight (healthy) did not dress. As a result, Matt Green, Julien Tessier and Mitch Dempsey returned to the line-up.
  • Adam Bateman returned after a one game suspension, which allowed Bailey Webster to take a break. 
  • A crew from the Edmonton Oilers, including Craig MacTavish and Kevin Lowe, were in attendance.

The Sea Dogs travel to Moncton on Friday as they face the Wildcats at 7 p.m. They return home on Saturday when they host the Halifax Mooseheads at 7 p.m. for Saint John's final home game of the regular season.

Photo: Marc Henwood/Station Nation

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