FINAL: Saint John 3, Charlottetown 4 (OT)
CHARLOTTETOWN – The Saint John Sea Dogs will have to wait to celebrate a Maritimes Division championship.
The Sea Dogs are one point short of clinching the title following a 4-3 overtime loss to the Charlottetown Islanders on Sunday afternoon at Eastlink Centre. Saint John did, however, move into sole possession of second overall in the QMJHL (with one game in hand), jumping over the Shawinigan Cataractes.
Just getting the game to overtime was an impressive accomplishment by Saint John. Down 3-1 in the third, the Dogs scored two power play goals in the final minutes to tie things at 3-3. Unfortunately for the visitors, a power play goal by the Islanders in overtime was the deciding marker.
Matt Murphy, Daniel Del Paggio and Sam Povorozniouk scored for Saint John. Thomas Chabot and Matthew Highmore each had two assists. Marc-Antoine Turcotte had a strong game, making 40 saves in the loss.
Kameron Kielly scored twice for Charlottetown while Bradley Kennedy and Samuel Blais added singles. Matthew Welsh, filling in for Mason McDonald, made 32 stops in the win.
It was a fairly back-and-forth first period with both goaltenders making a few quality stops. With 1:14 left in the frame, Nicolas Leblond fed Kennedy who ripped a wrist shot upstairs on Turcotte to give Charlottetown a 1-0 advantage. Shots were 9-8 in favour of Charlottetown through 20 minutes of action.
Charlottetown had a few great chances in the first half of the second but Turcotte stood tall in net, keeping it a one-goal game.
Saint John started to fire up the offensive engines in the final minutes of the period but could not but Welsh. Shots were 13-11 in favour of the Islanders in the second.
Just 22 seconds into the third period, Del Paggio fed Murphy who was streaking into the crease area. The overager defenseman beat Welsh in close to make it a 1-1 game.
Pierre-Olivier Joseph headed off for hooking at 10:21, sending Saint John to the power play. But after the Dogs turned the puck over at the blue line, Blais picked it up, went in alone and beat Turcotte with a deke to his backhand to give Charlottetown a 2-1 lead. Then at 14:02, just as a Samuel Dove-McFalls penalty was expiring, Kielly jammed the puck past Turcotte to make it 3-1 for the home side.
Del Paggio got the Sea Dogs back within one on a power play at 16:26. Chabot fired a shot from the point and that produced a rebound. Del Paggio was on the doorstop and made a move to his backhand to make it 3-2. Then on a five-on-three advantage at 17:55, Chabot fed Povorozniouk in the circle who beat Welsh to tie things up at 3-3.
The Islanders were awarded a power play at 2:26 of overtime. At 3:54, Kielly scored from in close to give Charlottetown the extra point.
- The Sea Dogs were without defensemen Bailey Webster (upper body) and Alex Bernier (collarbone) along with forwards Nico Blachman (healthy) and Kyle Ward (healthy).
- According to Tim Roszell, head coach Danny Flynn said Bernier will miss three to six weeks with a broken collarbone suffered in Saturday’s game against Bathurst.
- The Islanders were without goaltender Mason McDonald once again. Former Sea Dogs forward Oliver Cooper was also out of the lineup.
- The Islanders honoured their billet families before the game.
- Really nice bounce back game by Marc-Antoine Turcotte, who made 40 saves. Kept it close with some big saves early on.
- Good crowd at Eastlink Centre. The Islanders play-by-play announcers repeatedly said there were 3,500 or so at the game but the QMJHL box score has the number at 2,578.
- This was Saint John’s fifth overtime loss of the season. They have four OT wins – plus another four shootout victories.
- Mathieu Joseph did not play the final part of the third period and overtime due to an apparent upper body injury.
- Daniel Sprong was held pointless.
If not for Charlottetown taking a bunch of penalties in the final few minutes, the Sea Dogs may have lost this game in regulation time. The infractions led to two power play goals and a point for the Sea Dogs.
SN PLAYERS OF THE GAME
The Sea Dogs are in Moncton on Wednesday to face the Wildcats at 7 p.m.