Thursday, December 31, 2015

RECAP: Sea Dogs Win 3-2

FINAL: Charlottetown 2, Saint John 3
SAINT JOHN – The Saint John Sea Dogs did something on Thursday that they couldn’t do in each of their past two games – hang on to a third period lead.

After blowing a 4-1 third period lead in a shootout win on Tuesday and a 4-0 lead in an overtime loss on Monday, the Sea Dogs bent a bit but didn’t break in a 3-2 victory over the Charlottetown Islanders. Saint John entered the third up 3-1 and, despite giving up a goal and being outshot 15-9, hung on for the regulation time victory.

Mathieu Joseph, Spencer Smallman and Matt Murphy scored for Saint John while Marc-Antoine Turcotte made 36 saves in the victory. Daniel Sprong and Mitchell Balmas replied for Charlottetown while Guillaume Briand-Briere made 26 stops in the loss.

Just a minute into the game, Joseph skated around the Charlottetown defence and beat Briand-Briere with a low wrist shot to make it 1-0 Saint John. Then at 5:16, Smallman beat the Isles netminder top corner on the blocker side to double the Sea Dogs’ lead.

With eight minutes left in the first, Joseph sent a great pass to Matthew Highmore in front but Briand-Briere made a nice pad stop off the deflected shot. A minute late, Balmas beat Turcotte but not the post.

Charlottetown got on the board at 15:15 when Sprong grabbed the puck along the side boards, skated into the slot and fired a hard wrist shot through the legs of Turcotte and making it a 2-1 contest.

In the second, Charlottetown was applying the offensive zone pressure early and even hit a crossbar a few minutes in. Later on it was Saint John getting chances – and then Turcotte had to make a few good saves as Charlottetown turned it on.

At 14:02, Joe Veleno drew a slashing and roughing penalty out of Luc Deschenes, giving Saint John a four-minute power play. On the man advantage at 16:24, a point shot from Murphy beat Briand-Briere to give Saint John a 3-1 lead.

Charlottetown got within one at 6:35 of the third. After the Sea Dogs failed to grab the puck, Balmas grabbed it and fired a shot top corner past Turcotte to make it a 3-2 game.

The Isles applied some serious pressure in the final minutes of the game. With 41.7 seconds remaining, Murphy took a high sticking penalty to give Charlottetown a six-on-four advantage to end the game. Despite maintaining puck possession, the Islanders could not convert to tie it up.

  • The Sea Dogs were without Thomas Chabot (WJC - Canada), Jakub Zboril (WJC - Czech Republic), Bokondji Imama (suspension – 6/15), Bailey Webster (lower body), Matt Green (upper body), Samuel Dove-McFalls (lower body), Dawson Theede, and Alex Lafreniere.
  • The game was missing four players due to the world juniors: Saint John’s Jakub Zboril (Czech Republic) and Thomas Chabot (Canada) along with Charlottetown’s Mason McDonald (Canada) and Filip Chlapik (Czech Republic).
  • Mathieu Joseph extended his point streak to 12 games.
  • After making a huge pad save in the final minute of the second period, Marc-Antoine Turcotte was in some pain but stayed in the game.
  • Mitchell Balmas scored his first goal since Nov. 20.
  • Daniel Sprong now has four goals and an assist in three games since his return from the NHL.
  • This was the QMJHL’s final game of 2015.
  • Big crowd of 4,524 on hand for this one.
  • Kelly Bent, who was involved in the Bokondji Imama incident on Dec. 11, returned to action with the Halifax Mooseheads today after serving a five-game suspension.
  • Trades coming:
Luc Deschenes taking four minutes in penalties at 14:02 gave the Sea Dogs a glorious opportunity to restore their two-goal lead – and they did. Matt Murphy's power play goal at 16:24 ended up being the game winner.

SJ: Marc-Antoine Turcotte
CHA: Daniel Sprong

The Sea Dogs travel to Sydney to take on the Cape Breton Screaming Eagles on Sunday at 3 p.m.

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