Wednesday, February 17, 2016

RECAP: Sea Dogs Win 3-2

FINAL: Saint John 3, Shawinigan 2
By Lorne Webster | SN Staff

SHAWINIGAN, Que. - In a battle for the second seed in the QMJHL playoff race, the Saint John Sea Dogs travelled to Centre Gervais Auto and earned a tough, come from behind 3-2 victory over the Shawinigan Cataractes Wednesday evening.     

The win allowed Saint John to move two points clear of Shawinigan for second seed with one game in hand. It also allowed the Sea Dogs to remain five points ahead of the Moncton Wildcats for first in the Maritimes Division - with two games still in hand. 

Adam Marsh, Sam Povorozniouk and Matthew Highmore scored for Saint John. Alex Pawelczyk and Anthony Beauvillier replied for Shawinigan.  

1st Period
After the Sea Dogs held a territorial advantage in the first part of the opening period, Shawinigan's special teams took control. While shorthanded at 8:47, Pawelczyk ripped a wrist shot from the left face-off circle over Marc-Antoine Turcotte's glove to open the scoring. On a power play at 10:30, Beauvillier one-timed a slap shot from the right side through Turcotte's legs to put the Cataractes up 2-0. Bad blood between the two teams was evident when Kyle Ward scored a take down against Cavan Fitzgerald late in the first.

2nd Period
Saint John had intense pressure on during a pair of early power plays - and Joe Veleno hit a crossbar roughly three minutes into the second. But the Sea Dogs were unable to beat Philippe Cadorette until 10:11 of the middle frame when Marsh fired a long wrist shot that found its way past the Shawinigan goaltender. At 13:32, Povorozniouk corralled the puck - after a Nathan Noel shot had caromed off the back glass - and slammed it past Cadorette to tie the game 2-2. With just under two minutes left, Turcotte flashed the leather with a big save off a Dmytro Timashov shot to preserve the tie after two periods.
3rd Period
On a power play at 8:51, Highmore snapped a shot from in close over a diving Cadorette to give Saint John a 3-2 lead. With just over five minutes remaining in the third, Cadorette robbed Veleno to keep it a one-goal game. The Sea Dogs withstood furious pressure in the last two minutes to earn the team's first victory in Shawinigan since the round robin of the 2012 Memorial Cup.

  • Controversy seems to surround games involving Saint John and Shawinigan - especially since the QMJHL inexplicably awarded the 2012 Memorial Cup to Shawinigan - and today was no different. Early this afternoon, Shawinigan general manager Martin Mondou decided to fire head coach Martin Bernard and replace him with Claude Bouchard. Despite a 10-4-1-0 record since the trade deadline, Mondou pointed to recent disappointing losses to Halifax, Blainville-Boisbriand and Quebec as concerning. Per Mikael Lalancette of TVA Sports, Mondou was also concerned about Bernard's apparent inability to quickly integrate eight new players and have them become a dominate team in the past month. Assistant Steve Larouche ran the bench on Wednesday. 
  • Despite wins last week over Charlottetown, Baie-Comeau and Chicoutimi (a.k.a. The Valentine's Thriller), Saint John remained honorable mention to the CHL Top 10 list. QMJHL teams in the top 10 list are Val-d'Or (2), Rouyn-Noranda (3), Gatineau (8) and Shawinigan (10). 
  • Nathan Noel extended his point streak to 20 games. Matthew Highmore and Sam Povorozniouk now have points in 15 straight. Mathieu Joseph found his name on the score sheet for a tenth consecutive game. Adam Marsh has five goals in his last four games - and has scored in five straight road games.
  • Bailey Webster is now the lone regular on the Sea Dogs' injury list. Cole Reginato, Nico Blachman and Gabriel Bettez also did not play on Wednesday.  
  • Elsewhere in the Maritimes Division on Wednesday - BBA 2 - MON 4.  In a surprising turn of events, Moncton Wildcats star Conor Garland sat out Wednesday's contest against Blainville-Boisbriand as a "healthy scratch." Per GM Roger Shannon on Rogers TV, Moncton determines scratches based on performance in previous games. After a weak performance against Bathurst, Garland put himself forward. The move seemed to work as the Wildcats played well and ended a nine-game losing streak.
  • In a battle for first place in the QMJHL, the Val-d'Or Foreurs beat the Rouyn-Noranda Huskies 5-4.

Matthew Highmore's power play goal midway through the third period proved to be the difference in a battle between two bitter rivals.

Early in the second period, Bokondji Imama leveled Dennis Yan with a hard hit along the boards, which sent the Cataractes' star import to the dressing room with an apparent lower body injury. After failing to draw a penalty, Yan would return to action a short time later.

Matthew Highmore
Nathan Noel
Philippe Cadorette

The Sea Dogs travel to Rouyn-Noranda to face the front-running Huskies on Friday at 8:30 p.m.

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