By Lorne Webster | SN Staff
HALIFAX, NS -The Saint John Sea Dogs defeated the Halifax Mooseheads 5-1 Saturday evening at Scotiabank Centre to complete a sweep of a home-and-home matchup.
In light of Shawinigan's 3-1 win over Charlottetown on Saturday, the Sea Dogs still hold the third seed in the QMJHL playoff race - with one game in hand over the Cataractes. The win also allowed Saint John to extend its lead over Moncton, for first place in the Maritimes Division, to six points - with two games still in hand.
Matthew Highmore, Sam Povorozniouk, Mathieu Joseph, Jakub Zboril and Joe Veleno scored for Saint John while Spencer Smallman added four assists. Arnaud Durandeau replied for Halifax
Povorozniouk went postal in the opening minute of a back-and-forth first period. Halifax's Anthony Sorrentino also found iron with roughly four minutes remaining. Mooseheads "super pest" Kelly Bent successfully drew the Sea Dogs into two penalties in the first frame – and Halifax would capitalize on the second opportunity at 17:40. A point shot from Jocktan Chainey deflected to Durandeau and the rookie made no mistake as he snapped the puck behind Marc-Antoine Turcotte to stake Halifax to a 1-0 lead after one.
Just a minute into the middle frame, Eric Brassard made a big save to prevent Thomas Chabot from finishing off an impressive end-to-end rush. On a power play at 3:48, Highmore took a back door feed from Smallman for a tap in to tie the game 1-1. Near the midpoint of the second, Turcotte robbed Otto Somppi with a big glove save and Brassard answered, seconds later, by flashing the leather to catch a blast from Luke Green. An apparent Mooseheads goal with 2:42 left was called back because Bent was caught bumping into Turcotte prior to a shot by Sorrentino. That seemed to spark the Sea Dogs. At 18:32, Povorozniouk finished off a give-and-go with Smallman by tipping the puck through Brassard's legs. 38 seconds later, Joseph converted another give-and-go with Chabot by deflecting the puck over the left pad of a sprawling Brassard to give the Sea Dogs a 3-1 lead after two periods.
On a power play at 6:39 of the final period, Zboril one-timed a cross-ice pass from Joseph past Brassard's blocker. Then at 15:19, Veleno took a feed from Smallman and unloaded a rocket, which beat the Mooseheads' keeper to the far side to set the final score at 5-1 for the visitors.
- The Sea Dogs are an impressive 15-3-1-0 since the trade deadline. Only Rouyn-Noranda and Gatineau - two teams in the CHL Top 10 list - have more points than Saint John since the trade deadline.
- Nathan Noel suffered a minor lower body injury against the Mooseheads on Thursday. He is out on a day-to-day basis. Bailey Webster (long-term, upper body), Adam Marsh (day-to-day, upper body) and Gabriel Bettez sat out Saturday's contest as well. Spencer Smallman did not come out to start the third period but rejoined his team later.
- Matthew Highmore moved into a tenth place tie with Danick Gauthier - one point ahead of Stanislav Galiev - on the Sea Dogs' all-time scoring list.
- Joe Veleno's goal allowed him to equal Jonathan Huberdeau's rookie scoring total of 35 points.
- Matt Murphy - who played in his last regular season game at Scotiabank Centre, after playing parts of three seasons with the Mooseheads - has quietly moved into fifth place in scoring by defencemen in the QMJHL this season.
- Saint John's penalty kill was sharp on the night by only allowing just one goal against on seven Halifax power plays. Saint John limited Halifax to six shots in the third period, despite Halifax being handed three man advantages in the final frame. The Sea Dogs power play was 2/3 on the night.
- The QMJHL disciplinary prefect determined that Otto Somppi's high hit on Thomas Chabot on Thursday did not warrant a suspension.
- The Sea Dogs have noted that any unused season ticket vouchers must be redeemed by end of day on Monday, Feb. 29, for any the five remaining regular season home games.
A disallowed Halifax goal - followed quickly by a pair of lovely give-and-go goals by the Sea Dogs 38 seconds apart - late in the second period appeared to deflate the young Mooseheads.
HIT OF THE GAME
Late in the first period, Kelly Bent took a long run at rookie Oliver Felixson. As Felixson moved to avoid the collision, his arm struck Bent, which sent the Moosehead crashing hard into the boards. That was deemed as a penalty against Saint John's rookie import and Halifax would open the scoring during the ensuing power play.
SN PLAYERS OF THE GAME
TWEET OF THE GAME
Calm before the storm @station_nation @SN_Canucklehead @SeaDogsLive #GoDogsGo pic.twitter.com/hk49Q2Lr8J— Stacie Smith (@stace_smith94) February 27, 2016
The Sea Dogs return home on Tuesday, March 1, to face the Acadie-Bathurst Titan at 7 p.m. This is the make-up game for the postponed contest originally scheduled for Feb. 5. So, unused tickets from Feb. 5 will be accepted on Tuesday.
Photo: Marc Henwood/Station Nation
Photo: Marc Henwood/Station Nation