FINAL: Cape Breton 4, Saint John 2
SAINT JOHN - In the second game of a home-and-home set, the Cape Breton Screaming Eagles defeated the Saint John Sea Dogs 4-2 Thursday evening at Harbour Station - which avenged a 4-3 loss to the Sea Dogs last Saturday. With the win, Cape Breton leapfrogged Saint John into second place in the Maritimes Division - although the Sea Dogs now hold two games in hand.
Anthony Sorrentino, Michael Joly, Joel Caron and Pierre-Luc Dubois scored for Cape Breton. Adam Marsh and Mathieu Joseph replied for Saint John.
In a hard fought, back and forth period, both Marc-Antoine Turcotte and Alexandre Belanger were tested early and often. However, both goaltenders came up with a number of 'grade A' saves to keep the game scoreless. Just before the nine-minute mark, Bailey Webster and Jordan Ty Fournier met for a short tilt after the Eagles forward bowled over Turcotte behind the Sea Dogs net.
An apparent Eagles goal by Alexandre Gosselin near the six-minute mark was called back due to a missed offside call. However, four minutes later, Sorrentino's one-timer from the slot beat Turcotte to open the scoring. At 12:44, seconds after the Eagles killed off a penalty, Joly banged a rebound past a fallen Turcotte to extend Cape Breton's lead to 2-0. Frustrations boiled over at 14:17 when Marsh fought Colby Tower, landing several hard punches. Caron extended Cape Breton's lead to 3-0 when he deposited his first QMJHL goal off a goalmouth scramble.
The Screaming Eagles onslaught continued into the third and at 3:24 Dubois swooped out of the corner and beat Turcotte to the far side to make it 4-0 Cape Breton. The Sea Dogs finally got on the scoreboard on a power play at 8:32 when Marsh tipped a Matthew Highmore point shot past Belanger. On another power play at 14:58, Joseph unloaded a slap shot from the right face-off circle and past Belanger to bring the Sea Dogs back to 4-2. Despite applying tremendous pressure in the closing minutes, Belanger was able to hold the fort for the win.
- Recent acquisition - and Fredericton native - Matt Murphy wore an 'A' on his uniform after he was officially named to the Sea Dogs' leadership group earlier on Thursday.
- Affiliate Player Ryan Chiasson was called up from the MHL's Dieppe Commandos for this game. Chiasson's teammate in Dieppe, Alex Bernier, also dressed for Saint John.
- With Thomas Chabot (world junior camp - Canada) and Jakub Zboril (world junior camp - Czech Republic), Bokondji Imama (suspended), Jason Bell (lower body) joining Matt Green (upper body), Sam Dove-McFalls (lower body) and Julien Tessier (lower body) out of the line-up, there were no other healthy players available to play for Saint John.
- Cape Breton was missing Evgeny Svechnikov, Maxim Lazarev, Saint John native Colin MacSween, Clark Bishop and Jeremie Beaudin.
- While there has been plenty of buzz around social media sites with the QMJHL trading period set to begin on Saturday, general managers Darrell Young and Marc-Andre Dumont are holding their cards very close to the vest. The likelihood of a blockbuster trade by Saint John appears to be very slight at this time.
- It was a memorable night for Joel Caron - who signed on as an affiliate player with Cape Breton earlier this week - as he scored his first QMJHL goal in his first game in a Screaming Eagles uniform.
- Attendance at Harbour Station was 3,144.
Michael Joly's goal midway through the second period - after the Sea Dogs got caught with a five forward unit on the ice at the end of a power play - appeared to deflate the home team.
HIT OF THE GAME
Dawson Theede leveled Cole Reginato with a huge hit near the Sea Dogs bench in the first period.
SN PLAYERS OF THE GAME
Alexandre Belanger (31 saves)
Anthony Sorrentino (1G 1A +2)
Mathieu Joseph (1G 1A)
The Sea Dogs are back home on Friday to face the Halifax Mooseheads at 7:30 p.m. This will be the last game before the Christmas break.