Thursday, August 13, 2015

RECAP: Sea Dogs Win 5-0

FINAL: Bathurst 0, Saint John 5
SAINT JOHN – Simply put, the Saint John Sea Dogs made a good first impression on Thursday night at Harbour Station.

Despite being heavily outshot in the first half of the game, the young Sea Dogs squad showed signs of promise and were opportunistic with their scoring chances in a 5-0 pre-season victory over the Acadie-Bathurst Titan.

Ian Smallwood led the way with one goal and two assists while Joe Veleno and Will Kelly each had a goal and an assist. Julien Tessier and Peter Drohan also scored.

Alex Bishop had a strong game in net, making 23 saves – many of which were prime scoring chances. Rookie Alex D’Orio played the second half of the match and made 11 saves to preserve the shutout.

The Titan, who outshot the Sea Dogs 34-24 overall, had a seven save performance from starter Daniel Vautour and 12 saves from Tanner Somers.

The Sea Dogs were outshot by a significant margin for much of the first period, forcing Bishop to make quite a few nice stops. Despite what the shot clock said, Saint John opened the scoring at 13:39 when Tessier fired a wrist shot from just inside the line that went through some traffic and past Vautour.

After Saint John failed to convert on their second power play of the period and Bishop made a nice save off a breakaway, Kelly showed off some skill and patience in front of the net and banged in a rebound to make it 2-0 after one. Shots were 17-6 in favour of the Titan.

The Sea Dogs went back to the power play just 56 seconds into the second period but it was the Titan who had the best scoring opportunity. Arthur Miller went in on a breakaway but Bishop made another nice save.

Halfway through the period, D’Orio replaced Bishop in the Saint John net and Somers took over duties in the Titan net. Moments after the switch at 10:16, Drohan scored to make it 3-0 Saint John.

At 1:46 of the third, Veleno netted his first goal as a Sea Dog to make it 4-0. There were a couple fights a couple minutes later – Michael Tropeau vs Will Kelly and Duncan McKie vs Kyle Ward.

Saint John rounded out the scoring at 14:08 on a power play when Veleno made a great pass to Smallwood in the slot, making it a 5-0 final.

LETTERS: Matt Green wore the captain’s ‘C’ for Saint John while the assistants were Alex Kealey, Julien Tessier and Kyle Ward.

VELENO SHOW: Every time Joe Veleno touched the puck there seemed to be a bit of a buzz in the building. He showed off some skill in the first when he made a wise drop pass to Matt Green who rifled the puck off the post. Later on he showed off some skill by weaving around some Bathurst players in the offensive zone. He scored his first goal in the third and setup another later on.

His shot seemed pretty good and he made some nice feeds throughout the game. It’ll be interesting to see how he does against teams with more veterans.

ATTENDANCE: For the second straight year, Saint John’s pre-season opener could be attended free of charge. 4,897 was the announced crowd. Decent atmosphere, too – especially after the Kyle Ward fight.

NOTES: Mikael Lalancette of TVA Sports was at the game to follow the Veleno show… Saint John won just four of 22 faceoffs in the first period… there was a loud cheer when Ben Reid’s assist was announced. Reid is a Quispamsis native… neither team did a whole lot on the power play, which is to be expected in the first pre-season game of the year… Veleno started the game on a line with Matt Green and Julien Tessier… Saint John’s assistant coaches ran the bench.

NEXT GAME: The Sea Dogs travel to Pownal, PEI on Saturday to battle the Charlottetown Islanders at 4 p.m.

Photo: Marc Henwood/Station Nation; Dr. Dre

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