FINAL: Saint John 6, Moncton 2
By Lorne Webster | SN Staff
MONCTON - In their first game of a three game road stretch through the Maritimes, the Saint John Sea Dogs came away with a convincing 6-2 win over the Moncton Wildcats.
After losing the first five contests this season against Moncton - and the infamous Rivalry Cup - the Sea Dogs' management and fans had to feel good about the complete team effort shown in this game. The win also allowed the Sea Dogs to move back into second place in the Maritimes Division.
Luke Green and Mathieu Joseph led the way with a pair of goals each for the Sea Dogs. Bokondji Imama and Matthew Highmore also scored for Saint John. Liam Murphy and Adam Holwell replied for Moncton.
The Sea Dogs got off to a great start, including a Spencer Smallman shot off the post near the four-minute mark. Saint John would open the scoring on a power play at 13:54, when Green converted a lovely cross crease pass from Daniel Del Paggio. Just over a minute later, Imama fired a snap shot through the legs of former Sea Dog netminder Blade Mann-Dixon. With under a minute to go in the first, Conor Garland was stoned on a breakaway by Marc-Antoine Turcotte. That proved to be huge as Joseph finished off a give and go with Del Paggio to end the period with up 3-0.
Sebastien Dupre replaced Mann-Dixon to start the second period. While short handed at 6:13, Highmore took a long feed from Joseph for a breakaway and fired a wrist shot over Dupre's blocker to make it 4-0. On a two-man advantage just over two minutes later, Green unloaded a slap shot from the top of the left face-off circle to extend the lead to 5-0. The Wildcats finally broke through at 14:14 when Turcotte mishandled Murphy’s shot off the faceoff. On another two-man advantage at 16:55, Joseph finished off a lovely passing play with a tap-in off a cross crease feed from Sam Povorozniouk. With under two minutes remaining, Garland leaked out early and got another breakaway but was stoned once again by Turcotte. Garland thought he had scored off a resulting bank shot but was ruled no goal. After a review, the league’s leading scorer earned a 10-minute misconduct for unsportsmanlike conduct.
Lingering bad blood between the teams spilled over early in the third period. At the two-minute mark, Adam Marsh and Kevin Klima dropped the gloves for a spirited scrap. A little over a minute later, Imama and Lane Cormier engaged in what turned into a wrestling match. Somehow, Imama was assessed instigator penalties. Holwell's point shot - during the ensuing power play - beat a screened Turcotte to make it 6-2. Later on, n apparent goal by Del Paggio with nearly five minutes remaining was called back due to an offside call.
- Alex Bernier, a defenceman from the MHL’s Dieppe Commandos who recently signed on with Saint John as an affiliate player, played his first game in a Sea Dog uniform.
- Injured Sea Dogs Thomas Chabot (lower body), Jakub Zboril (upper body), Matt Green (upper body), Sam Dove-McFalls (lower body) and Julien Tessier (lower body) all sat out this game. Only rookie Nico Blachman would have been able to play but sat out to allow Bernier to join the lineup in front of essentially a hometown crowd.
- Chabot (Canada) and Zboril (Czech Republic) will be leaving for their respective world junior camps tomorrow.
- Moncton was missing Jacob Sweeney, Ethan Crossman and Eric Leger, along with imports Manuel Wiederer and Max Glassl who are away with Team Germany at the World Junior Hockey Championships 'B' pool.
- The Sea Dogs power play ended the game 3-for-5, while the penalty kill allowed one goal on five chances.
- There are rumblings that Darrell Young has agreed to a trade. However, unless the deal is for an overage, import or non-roster player, it cannot be announced until the trade period opens on Dec. 19.
- Conor Garland's season long streak of at least one point in each game ended in this game. That is a feat unto itself.
Marc-Antoine Turcotte's stop on a Conor Garland breakaway in the last minute of the first minute, followed by Mathieu Joseph's first goal seconds later proved to be pivotal in this game.
HIT OF THE GAME
Early in the first period, Zach MacEwen leveled Adam Bateman with a huge hit along the boards at the Sea Dogs blueline. Saint John felt that the hit should have resulted in a penalty, especially with Bateman being injured on the play. Instead, Bokondji Imama was sent to the sin bin for showing his displeasure with MacEwen and the referees.
SN PLAYERS OF THE GAME
Mathieu Joseph (2G 1A +3)
Luke Green (2G +1)
Mathew Highmore (1G 1A +2)
The Sea Dogs travel to Halifax to face the Mooseheads on Friday at 7 p.m.