By Lorne Webster | SN Staff
SAINT JOHN - Two of the QMJHL's hottest teams met at Harbour Station Wednesday evening and the Saint John Sea Dogs came away with a convincing 7-2 win over division rivals, the Charlottetown Islanders.
The win allowed the Sea Dogs to move two points clear of Moncton for first in the Maritimes Division - with two games still in hand. It was also Saint John's sixth win in seven contests against Charlottetown this season.
Adam Marsh with a pair, Sam Povorozniouk, Joe Veleno, Samuel Dove-McFalls, Mathieu Joseph and Nathan Noel scored for Saint John. Bradley Kennedy replied with a pair for Charlottetown.
Kennedy opened the scoring at 8:11 when he converted on a turnover with a quick backhand through Alex Bishop's legs. Saint John outshot Charlottetown 12-7 in the first period but the Sea Dogs were unable to get a shot past Mason McDonald.
Just 32 seconds into a wild second period, McDonald made the save of the game when he robbed Povorozniouk with a diving glove stop. At 4:37, Marsh broke down the left wing and unloaded a rocket that beat McDonald low short side. A minute later, Povorozniouk jammed in the rebound of a Noel shot to give the Sea Dogs the lead at 2-1. A short while later, Marsh rang another wrist shot off the crossbar but it stayed out. Kennedy would tie the game at 7:34 when he finished off a nice three-way passing play with a tap in past Bishop. Veleno put the Sea Dogs back in front at 9:56 with a hard wrist shot from the high slot to the top shelf. Dove-McFalls extended the lead to 4-2 - just over three minutes later - with a long shot, which eluded a screened McDonald. After Dove-McFalls’ goal, Islanders coach Jim Hulton decided to replace McDonald in goal with rookie Matthew Welsh.
3:35 into the third, Marsh's "pro shot" was on display once again when he unleashed another rocket past Welsh on the short side. At 6:44, Daniel Sprong's stick exploded - during an attempted clearing pass - and the puck went to Joseph, who walked into the slot and sent a laser over Welsh's shoulder to make it 6-2. On a power play at 8:19, Noel joined the goal parade with another top shelf effort to set the final score at 7-2.
- After a win over Moncton and a tough loss to Victoriaville last week, Saint John fell out of the CHL Top 10 list. QMJHL teams in the Top 10 this week are Val-d'Or (2), Rouyn-Noranda (3) and Shawinigan (8). Saint John and Gatineau earned honorable mentions.
- Nathan Noel is now on a 17-game point streak while Matthew Highmore and Sam Povorozniouk have points in 12 straight.
- The Sea Dogs continue to have a long list of players out of the lineup: Thomas Chabot, Spencer Smallman, Marc-Antoine Turcotte and Bailey Webster are all out with upper body injuries. Meanwhile, Daniel Del Paggio is serving the second of a three game suspension for hitting Conor Garland last Wednesday.
- 2015 first round draft choice Alex D'Orio has joined the Sea Dogs from Magog (Quebec MAAA) in Turcotte's absence.
- The Islanders were missing Fredericton native Luc Deschenes, Andrew Smith and Carl Gervais.
- The Aaron Kennedy call of the game - "... he Sprong a leak".
- Attendance at Harbour Station: 3,292.
- Elsewhere in the Maritimes Division on Wednesday - BAC 3 - CAP 10 and HAL 0 - GAT 6
Goals by Joe Veleno and Samuel Dove-McFalls just over three minutes apart midway through the second period put the Sea Dogs on a solid path to victory.
HIT OF THE GAME
Bokondji Imama proved to be a near unmovable object on a few occasions in this contest.
SN PLAYERS OF THE GAME
The Sea Dogs return to Harbour Station on Saturday to face the Baie-Comeau Drakkar at 7 p.m.
Photo: Marc Henwood/Station Nation
Photo: Marc Henwood/Station Nation