Sunday, January 15, 2017

RECAP: Sea Dogs lose 7-6

FINAL: Cape Breton 7, Saint John 6
SAINT JOHN - The coaching staffs may not have liked it, but the Saint John Sea Dogs and Cape Breton Screaming Eagles played a very entertaining, back-and-forth hockey game on Sunday afternoon at Harbour Station.

Unfortunately for the Sea Dogs, they came out on the losing end of the high-scoring affair, falling 7-6 to the Screaming Eagles.

Giovanni Fiore, the league's leading goal scorer, netted a natural hat trick in the second period. Drake Batherson, Olivier LeBlanc, Adam McCormick and Declan Smith also scored for Cape Breton. Kevin Mandolese made 32 saves in the victory.

Saint John goals came from Matthew Highmore, Joe Veleno, Alexandre Bernier, Julien Gauthier, Samuel Dove-McFalls and Mathieu Joseph. Alex D'Orio was pulled after allowing five goals on 23 shots through the first two periods. Callum Booth allowed two goals on seven shots in relief.

To the notes...
  • Just like on Friday night in Sydney, Batherson got the scoring started. On a two-on-one, Mathias Laferriere fed Batherson who made a move to his backhand and beat D'Orio, making it 1-0 Eagles at 9:21.
  • Tyler Hylland scored a few minutes later, but the goal was immediately called off due to a high stick deflection.
  • Thomas Chabot had a rare shorthanded breakaway chance in the first period but could not score.
  • Just eight seconds into the second period, Highmore carried the puck into the zone and fired an innocent looking wrist shot on net that snuck through Mandolese's pads and in, tying the game at 1-1.
  • LeBlanc put Cape Breton back in front with a power play goal at 7:11, beating D'Orio with a wrist shot.
  • Veleno tied the game with a shorthanded goal at 10:00, going in all alone and beating Mandolese with a nice move.
  • Bernier put Saint John in front, 3-2, just 59 seconds later. With some bodies in front of the net, Bernier fired a shot that got past Mandolese and just over the goal line.
  • Fiore tied the game at 3-3 at 15:45, netting his league high 33rd of the year.
  • Fiore scored again at 16:25, this time on a delayed penalty call. The puck came to Fiore in front and he beat D'Orio with a quick shot, making it 4-3 Cape Breton.
  • Fiore completed a natural hat trick at 19:17, putting Cape Breton in front 5-3.
  • Saint John quickly got back within one at 19:51. Joseph carried the puck into the zone and fed Gauthier who fired a shot high glove side on Mandolese.
  • Booth replaced D'Orio in the Sea Dogs net to start the third period. The five goal total D'Orio allowed was the most of his QMJHL career.
  • Dove-McFalls tied the game at 5-5 at 6:00 of the third, cutting into the crease area and sliding the puck past Mandolese.
  • The Eagles went up 6-5 at 7:59. After Booth stopped Fiore, McCormick beat the Sea Dogs netminder to regain the lead.
  • Then at 10:52, Payton Hoyt fed Smith through the crease. The former Dogs prospect beat Booth, making it 7-5 Eagles.
  • Saint John, once again, got back within one at 14:17 as Joseph was able to jam the puck past Mandolese. That made it 7-6.
  • The Sea Dogs pulled Booth with 1:25 left but Saint John had a difficult time keeping the puck in the offensive zone. Gauthier had a chance in the dying seconds but was stopped.
  • There was a ceremony before the game honouring all of Saint John's international participants from the past few months.
  • Some good news: Saint John scored six goals, five of which were at even strength or shorthanded. 
  • Saint John has scored a league high 14 shorthanded goals.
  • Joseph extended his point streak to 20 games, which is the longest active streak in the QMJHL. The longest streaks in the league this season have been 21 games, done by Filip Chlapik and Francois Beauchemin. The longest point streak in Sea Dogs history belongs to Zack Phillips at 22 games.
  • Joseph also has goals in seven straight home games.
  • Highmore now has points in 10 straight home games.
  • Fiore has goals in seven straight road games.
  • Happy birthday shout out to Tim Roszell.

The Sea Dogs were without Nathan Noel (upper body), Chase Stewart (upper body), John Warren (upper body), Landon Quinney (healthy) and Oliver Flexison (upper body).

Felixson was questionable for the game, according to Tim Roszell, because of an upper body injury. David Comeau took his spot.

Declan Smith's goal - which ended up being the game-winner - midway through the third period seemed to take a lot of hope out of another two-goal Saint John comeback.

1. Giovanni Fiore
2. Drake Batherson
3. Mathieu Joseph

The Sea Dogs host the Moncton Wildcats on Tuesday night at 8 p.m.

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