Saturday, December 31, 2016

RECAP: Sea Dogs lose 7-5

FINAL: Bathurst 7, Saint John 5
SAINT JOHN - The Saint John Sea Dogs are having a lot of troubles with the Acadie-Bathurst Titan this season.

The Sea Dogs fell to 1-4 against the Titan this season following a 7-5 loss at Harbour Station on Saturday afternoon. Saint John was once again without several key players due to the world juniors and injuries, but the Dogs let this back-and-forth game slip away from them.

Saint John led 2-1 and 4-3 at times but could not hang on. The Sea Dogs' young defence core and the newly acquired Callum Booth, who made 29 saves, were shaky at times.

Bokondji Imama once again led Saint John's offence, scoring two goals in the loss. Matthew Highmore, Alexandre Lafreniere and Alexandre Bernier had the Sea Dogs' other goals.

Bathurst goals came from Jeffrey Truchon-Viel, Vladimir Kuznetsov, Zachary Malatesta, Christophe Boivin, Noah Dobson, Antoine Morand and Jordan Maher. Anthony Dumont-Bouchard made 37 saves in the win.

To the notes...
  • After Nathan Noel was given a questionable high sticking penalty just 31 seconds in, Truchon-Viel scored at 1:56 to give the Titan a 1-0 lead.
  • The Sea Dogs produced a strong penalty kill with Noel in the box again midway through the period. Just as the penalty was expiring at 10:27, Highmore grabbed the puck in the neutral zone and sped in alone, beating Dumont-Bouchard high blocker side to knot things at 1-1.
  • On a power play at 17:41, Veleno's original shot was batted down in the slot. Imama quickly pounced on the puck and tapped it in, giving the Dogs their first lead of the game.
  • Bathurst would quickly respond, though. At 18:08, Kuznetsov fired a shot that Booth got a piece of with his glove - but not enough - falling into the cage.
  • Then at 18:33, Malatesta put in his own rebound, quickly giving the Titan a 3-2 lead.
  • 3:14 into the second period, Lafreniere scored his first QMJHL goal, once again tying things up.
  • Just 27 seconds into the third, Highmore was behind the net and sent a perfect feed to Imama in front. Imama beat Dumont-Bouchard to give the Sea Dogs a 4-3 advantage.
  • It looked as though the Titan had tied the game roughly six minutes into the third, but the goal was called off due to an offside.
  • At 11:18, Booth made a nice save off a breakaway. Unfortunatly for Saint John, Christophe Boivin was right behind him to put in the rebound and make it 4-4.
  • At 12:52, Dobson was left all alone and fired a hard shot from the top of the circle past Booth, making it 5-4 Titan.
  • Noel took a high sticking penalty at 13:44. On the power play at 14:22, Morand blasted a shot to give the Titan a 6-4 lead.
  • With Booth on the bench, Bernier's point shot beat Dumont-Bouchard and crossed the line just enough, getting Saint John within one.
  • But with 1:33 to play, the Titan hit the empty net, making it a 7-5 final.
  • Booth made his Harbour Station debut.
  • Highmore now has goals in five straight home games.
  • Samuel Dove-McFalls has assists in five straight home games.
  • Imama's two goals give him 25 on the season, which ties Mathieu Joseph for the team high. 12 of Imama's 25 goals came in December.
  • Noel took three minor penalties.
  • Solid crowd of 5,624 for this one. That atmosphere was good, too.

The Sea Dogs were without Thomas Chabot (Team Canada), Mathieu Joseph (Team Canada), Jakub Zboril (Team Czech Republic), Matt Green (upper body), Chase Stewart (upper body), John Warren (upper body) and Simon Bourque (not with team yet).

Antoine Morand's goal in the third period, which made it 6-4 at the time, gave Bathurst some crucial breathing room and a two-goal advantage.

1. Christophe Boivin
2. Bokondji Imama
3. Jeffrey Truchon-Viel

The Sea Dogs host the Cape Breton Screaming Eagles on Wednesday night at 7 p.m.

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