Tuesday, March 28, 2017

RECAP: Sea Dogs win 5-2

FINAL: Saint John 5, Rimouski 2
RIMOUSKI, Que. - The Saint John Sea Dogs are one win away from advancing to the second round of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League playoffs.

The Sea Dogs took a 3-0 lead in their first round series against the Rimouski Oceanic on Tuesday, recording a 5-2 win at Colisée Financière Sun Life. Saint John can complete the sweep with a win in Game 4 Wednesday night.

Bokondji Imama had a pair of goals for Saint John while singles came from Jakub Zboril, Matthew Highmore and Joe Veleno. Callum Booth had a quiet night in net, only facing 12 shots in the win.

Denis Mikhnin and Nico Blachman responded for the Oceanic. Alexandre Lagace made 33 stops in the loss.

To the notes...
  • Early in the first period, Cole Reginato and Blachman had a long, eventful fight. Reginato returned to the game for a short time but eventually left and did not return.
  • Zboril opened the scoring on a power play at 9:51 when a shot went off a Rimouski player's leg and past Lagace.
  • Rimouski quickly tied the game at 11:58 - on their first shot of the game. After a Sea Dogs turnover, Mikhnin showed some nice patience and beat Booth from a sharp angle.
  • Imama gave the Sea Dogs a 2-1 lead at 5:49 of the second. The 20-year-old forward entered into the zone with the puck and had a step on the Rimouski defence, eventually firing a hard wrist shot past Lagace.
  • Highmore made it 3-1 Saint John at 8:35. Mathieu Joseph centred the puck to Highmore in front, who got enough of the puck to chip it off Lagace's stick and up-and-over the Rimouski netminder.
  • Shots were 15-3 in favour of the Sea Dogs in the second period.
  • Just 2:01 into the third, Blachman, who was along the goal line, banked a shot off Booth and in, cutting Saint John's lead to 3-2.
  • Veleno got Saint John's two-goal lead back at 8:24. After a point shot from Thomas Chabot couldn't be gloved by Lagace, Veleno put in the rebound.
  • Just 25 seconds later, Imama netted his second of the match - potting the puck past a scrambling Lagace - to give the Dogs a 5-2 advantage. 
  • Current Sea Dog and former Oceanic captain Simon Bourque was honoured before the game.
  • The Sea Dogs allowed just 12 shots against in this game, which is a franchise playoff low, according to Tim Roszell. The previous team record was 15.
  • Saint John scored their first power play goal of the playoffs.
  • Blachman's goal was his first ever playoff goal and just the fifth of his QMJHL career.
  • Zboril returned to the Saint John lineup after missing the first two games of the series with an upper body injury.

The Sea Dogs were without Oliver Felixson, John Warren, David Comeau, Samuel Leblanc and Landon Quinney.

Saint John's third period goals - which came 25 seconds apart - ended the momentum Rimouski had grabbed from Nico Blachman's goal.

1. Bokondji Imama
2. Mathieu Joseph
3. Thomas Chabot

There's a story here.
Game 4 of the series takes place on Wednesday night at 8:30 p.m. in Rimouski.

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