Friday, December 4, 2015

RECAP: Sea Dogs Lose 4-3

FINAL: Moncton 4, Saint John 3
SAINT JOHN – It’s still early, but it certainly feels like the Saint John Sea Dogs’ chances of winning the Maritimes Division are slipping away.

Following a tough-to-swallow 4-3 loss to the Moncton Wildcats on Friday night at Harbour Station, the Sea Dogs now find themselves nine points back of the rival ‘Cats for the division lead. Saint John has done themselves no favours this season, earning just a single point in five games against Moncton.

On Friday, Moncton’s power play made Saint John’s penalty kill – ranked second best in the league entering this game – look dreadful. The Wildcats went 4-for-9 on the man advantage with Conor Garland in on all four of them.

Garland, the league’s leading scoring, finished the night with two goals and two assists. Cameron Askew also scored twice in the victory while former Sea Dogs goaltender Blade Mann-Dixon made 29 saves.

Nathan Noel, Adam Marsh and Mathieu Joseph scored for Saint John. Marc-Antoine Turcotte made 21 saves in the loss.

The Sea Dogs, despite getting into penalty trouble, played fairly well in the first 40 minutes and led 3-1 entering the third. But Moncton was opportunistic in the third, cashing in on three power play chances they were awarded - and the Dogs weren’t able to respond. If the Sea Dogs can’t respond to the Wildcats in the remaining meetings between the two this season, Moncton may run away with the division.

The game got off to a fairly slow start. Things heated up a bit at 13:15 when Lane Cormier and Dawson Theede dropped the gloves for what could be labeled a “spirited fight.”

At 16:58, an Oliver Felixson point shot went off Noel in front of the net and past Mann-Dixon to make it 1-0 Saint John. As the teddy bears rained down, the goal went under review – and a long one at that – but it was called a good goal.
At 19:31, Mann-Dixon decided to leave his net to try and poke the puck away from a chasing Marsh. But Marsh got to the puck first, skated around the Wildcats netminder and deposited the puck into an empty net to make it 2-0 Saint John after one.

The Wildcats got on the board at 1:08 of the second period with a power play marker. Garland blasted a shot from the circle that found the top corner past Turcotte to make it a 2-1 contest.

Saint John got their two-goal lead back at 4:18. Joe Veleno had the puck behind the net and made a great backhand feed to Joseph who beat Mann-Dixon upstairs with a hard, quick shot.
Moncton got back within a goal just 25 seconds into the third. With Veleno in the box for hooking, a Garland wrist shot from the line went through some traffic and past Turcotte to make it a 3-2 match. Moments later, Marsh had a breakaway but the puck hit the crossbar and stayed out.

Kyle Ward was sent to the box at 6:20 for hooking. On the man advantage, Garland found Askew open in the slot to tie things at 3-3 and give Moncton their third power play goal of the game. To make matters worse, the Sea Dogs were called for too many men when the goal was scored, sending the ‘Cats straight back to the power play. Fortunately for Saint John, the Wildcats’ PP failed to connect this time.

Daniel Del Paggio was given a questionable tripping penalty at 12:06, sending Moncton to yet another power play. At 12:56, a Garland shot from the circle was stopped by Turcotte but Askew put in the rebound to give Moncton a 4-3 lead – their first lead of the game.

The Sea Dogs pulled Turcotte with two minutes left in regulation time. Despite pressing a few times in the Moncton zone, Saint John was unable to tie it up.


  • The Sea Dogs were without Thomas Chabot who, according to the 96.1 NewSong FM pre-game show, is day-to-day with a lower body injury. He appeared on the ice during a pre-game ceremony and seemed to be walking fine, which is a good sign. Jason Bell was inserted into the lineup to replace Chabot.
  • Defenseman Austin Clapham was a healthy scratch once again. Forwards Samuel Dove-McFalls, Matt Green and Julien Tessier all remain out with injuries.
  • Before the game, UNBSJ student Alex Bishop was named the Sea Dogs’ student of the month. Chabot was named the team’s player of the month.
  • The Wildcats were without their two imports – Manuel Wiederer and Maximilian Glaessl – who are both away playing with Germany’s under-20 team.
  • Defenseman Bailey Webster picked up an assist on Nathan Noel’s first goal, his first point of the season.
  • Noel now has goals in back-to-back games.
  • Conor Garland now has points in 26 straight games and goals in four straight.
  • Entering this game, the Sea Dogs were a perfect 7-0-0-0 on home ice when leading after two periods.
  • The Wildcats were given six straight power play opportunities through the middle of this game. Saint John had to wait until the third period to get their second power play.
  • While the Sea Dogs entered the game with the second best penalty kill in the league, they were also averaging the third most penalty minutes per game. Saint John was arguably the better team at five-on-five in this game.
  • Moncton won the 2015-16 edition of the Brunswick News Rivalry Cup with tonight’s victory. So there’s that.

Adam Marsh had a great chance on a breakaway in the third period when the Sea Dogs were up 3-2 - but the puck found the crossbar. If Marsh scores there, hard to say what might have happened.

1. Conor Garland
2. Garland, Conor
3. The teddy bears

The Sea Dogs host the Charlottetown Islanders tomorrow night at 7 p.m. at Harbour Station.

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