SAINT JOHN – Callum Booth came up with his best game as a Sea Dog to lead Saint John to a 2-1 over the Halifax Mooseheads in a goaltending duel at Harbour Station Sunday afternoon.
The win resulted in a split of the home-and-home series between the two Maritimes Division rivals. Booth turned in a 20-save performance, while Mooseheads rookie Alexis Gravel turned aside 32 shots in defeat.
Samuel Dove-McFalls and Bokondji Imama scored for the hosts while Maxime Fortier replied for the visitors.
- Dove-McFalls opened the scoring, while shorthanded at 2:45 of the first, when he intercepted a pass in his own zone, chipped the puck past a defender, broke away and - after faking a deke - snapped the puck to the top corner over Gravel's glove.
- The Mooseheads got in the board at 10:09 of the second when Fortier stole the puck in the neutral zone, skated to the slot and - using a defender as a screen - fired a quick snap shot that found its way through Booth's legs.
- Only 38 seconds into the third period, the Sea Dogs regained the lead. Joe Veleno created a turnover near the Mooseheads' goal which allowed Matthew Highmore to slip the puck to Imama in the slot. The Sea Dogs' leading goal scorer fired a bullet to the top shelf.
- It was generally a rough and tumble affair between two tired teams - each of whom were playing their third game in three days. The Sea Dogs and Mooseheads were assessed 60 minutes in penalties (30 each), not counting misconduct penalties.
- With seven Sea Dogs out of the lineup, Matthew Pietroniro made his QMJHL regular season debut for Saint John. The rookie from the Lac St. Louis Lions Midget AAA program was acquired from the Quebec Remparts in the same trade as Callum Booth.
- The Sea Dogs announced earlier in the day that defenceman Bryson Michel had been reassigned to the OJHL. Also, defenceman David Comeau is going to remain with the team through the end of the season.
- Mooseheads import star Nico Hischier was given the day off to rest after the heavy workload he carried for Team Switzerland at the recent World Juniors.
- For those keeping count, here are the point totals of the Sea Dogs who played in the World Juniors: Thomas Chabot (Canada) - 10; Julien Gauthier (Canada) - 7; Mathieu Joseph (Canada) - 5; Jalub Zboril (Czech Republic) - 4.
Imama - Highmore - Veleno
Smallman - Dove-McFalls - LeBlanc
Ward - Pare - Reginato
Pietroniro - Quinney - Lafreniere
Zboril - Bourque
Felixson - Webster
Comeau - Bernier
The three Sea Dogs who played for Team Canada - Thomas Chabot, Mathieu Joseph and Julien Gauthier - rest. Nathan Noel, Chase Stewart, Matt Green and John Warren are all recovering from upper body injuries. Affiliate Ben Reid was a last minute healthy scratch.
Bokondji Imama's team leading 27th goal early in the third period was the difference.
SN STARS OF THE GAME
1. Callum Booth
2. Alexis Gravel
3. Joe Veleno
The Sea Dogs travel to Cape Breton on Friday to face the Screaming Eagles at 7 p.m. The two teams will return to Saint John for the back half of a home-and-home series next Sunday at 3 p.m.