FINAL: Saint John 3, Bathurst 6
BATHURST - In a do or die game for Acadie-Bathurst, Daniil Miromanov put on a show with four goals to lead the Titan to a 6-3 win over the Saint John Sea Dogs Wednesday evening at the KC Irving Regional Centre. With the loss, the Sea Dogs will return home with a 3-1 lead in the first round playoff series.
Christophe Boivin and Jordan Maher also scored for Bathurst. Jeffrey Truchon-Viel added four assists and Reilly Pickard had 40 saves in the victory. Matt Murphy, Nathan Noel and Samuel Dove-McFalls replied for Saint John.
With their backs solidly against the wall, the Titan played arguably their most complete period of the playoffs thus far. Miromanov got Bathurst off to a fast start when - on the first shot 21 seconds into the game - he took a pass from Guillaume Brisebois and ripped a wrist shot from the bottom of the right faceoff circle which beat Marc-Antoine Turcotte high on the short side. Then at 12:42, Miromanov banged the rebound of a Mark Simpson shot past Turcotte to extend Bathurst's lead to 2-0. The Titan also did an effective job of playing five in the box in front of Pickard to frustrate the Sea Dogs and take their 2-0 lead into the first intermission.
It was lucky 21s (or deja vu all over again) for Bathurst to open the middle frame - as just 21 seconds into the second a Titan point shot was blocked but went directly to Boivin on the left wing who snapped a shot past a screened Turcotte to make it 3-0 for the hosts. A little over two minutes later, the Titan capitalized on a neutral zone turnover. At 2:50, Maher finished off a two-on-one break with Vladimir Kuznetsov with a laser over Turcotte's blocker to give the Titan a four goal lead. After that goal, head coach Danny Flynn called a timeout and replaced Turcotte in goal with Alex Bishop. The Sea Dogs came on strong after the timeout with 16 straight shots on goal. While skating four-on-four at 5:51, Murphy one-timed a cross ice feed from Thomas Chabot past Pickard to get Saint John on the board. Chabot, who logged a ton of ice-time, went postal at 12:30. On a power play at 14:07, Nathan Noel's cross crease pass deflected off a Titan defender past Pickard to bring the Sea Dogs within two after two.
The Sea Dogs controlled much of the play to start the final period but Pickard came up big early and often. At 8:44, Miromanov took a feed in the slot and unloaded a heavy snap shot over Bishop's glove for his hat trick goal to give the Titan a 5-2 lead. At the start of a power play with over five minutes remaining, Flynn decided to roll the dice and pull Bishop. Despite heavy pressure, the Sea Dogs could not get a puck past Pickard until 17:40 when Dove-McFalls deflected a Chabot point shot into the Titan net. However, Miromanov completed his four-goal night with an empty net goal to quell the Sea Dog's comeback attempt.