Thursday, April 27, 2017

RECAP: Sea Dogs lose 4-3

FINAL: Saint John 3, Chicoutimi 4
CHICOUTIMI, Que. - That was a heartbreaker.

With 13.9 seconds left in regulation time, Joey Ratelle broke a 3-3 tie, giving the Chicoutimi Sagueneens a 4-3 victory over the Saint John Sea Dogs in Game 4 of the President Cup semifinal series on Wednesday. The Sags' win ties the series at 2-2.

Brendan Hamelin, who ended up leaving the game on a stretcher, scored two goals while Mark Bzowey added a solo marker. Julio Billia was terrific in net for Chicoutimi, making 30 stops.

Mathieu Joseph scored twice for Saint John while Bokondji Imama added a solo marker. Callum Booth made 19 stops in the loss.

This game could have gone either way. The Sea Dogs never led - despite outshooting the Sags 33-23 - but battled back several times, including tying the game with a shorthanded goal midway through the third.

While the series is tied 2-2, it's hard to argue that the Dogs haven't had an edge in play. One of Chicoutimi's wins was in overtime while the other was essentially in overtime. Those games could have gone either way. The Sags are a good team and giving the Dogs a good run, but it's not time to panic just yet.

To the notes...
  • Saint John got an early power play in this game but could not get a whole lot going.
  • Chicoutimi opened the scoring at 13:17 when Bzowey scored, beating Booth on a nice deke after the Sea Dogs goaltender came out to challenge the play.
  • Joseph tied the game with a power play goal at 4:04 of the second period.
  • After failing to score on a power play of their own, Hamelin scored at 11:06 to put Chicoutimi back in front, 2-1. A point shot bounced to Hamelin in front who spun around at the top of the crease and potted the puck past Booth.
  • Saint John - particularly Nathan Noel - had a few great shorthanded chances in the period, none better than a two-on-none that was stopped by Billia late in the frame.
  • After Saint John couldn't connect on a power play, Hamelin scored at 2:38 of the third to put Chicoutimi up 3-1. The puck came loose after a scramble and Hamelin put it through Joe Veleno and a diving Booth.
  • Just 37 seconds later, Imama scored to cut Chicoutimi's lead to 3-2.
  • After a bizarre interference call on Thomas Chabot, the Sags headed to the power play at 9:45. But at 10:34, and after some fine penalty killing by the Dogs, Joseph scored to even things up at 3-3.
  • There was a big scramble in the Saint John crease in the final minute. The play would be reviewed upstairs but called no goal.
  • Ratelle scored with 13.9 seconds left in the third, giving the Sags the win.
  • Dmitry Zhukenov was down for a while in the second period after taking a hit from Imama. He left the game but did return.
  • Hamelin took a hit from Jakub Zboril in the third period and was in a lot of discomfort. He was able to stand up with some help but was carted off on a stretcher anyways. 
  • Joseph and Matthew Highmore extended their point streaks to 12 games.
  • This was Saint John's first road loss of the playoffs.

There were no lineup changes for the Sea Dogs once again. Oliver Felixson (cancer treatments) and Landon Quinney (appendicitis) remained out while goaltender Matt Williams, forward Samuel Leblanc and defencemenn David Comeau and Ian Smallwood were healthy scratches.

Joey Ratelle's third period goal. This game could have gone either way.

1. Brendan Hamelin
2. Julio Billia
3. Welp

Eat away the pain.
Game 5 of this series takes place on Friday at 7 p.m. at Harbour Station.

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