Sunday, April 30, 2017

RECAP: Sea Dogs win 6-5

FINAL: Saint John 6, Chicoutimi 5
CHICOUTIMI, Que. - The Chicoutimi Sagueneens got off to a quick start and were cruising to victory.

But then they weren't.

And the they were again.

But then they weren't again.

Eventually, they weren't winning long enough for the buzzer to sound, allowing the Saint John Sea Dogs to earn a hard fought, back-and-forth 6-5 win in Game 6 of the President Cup semifinal series. The Sea Dogs win advances them to the league final for the fourth time in team history and first since 2012.

Bokondji Imama scored the game-winner with 5:15 left in the third period. Joe Veleno, Jakub Zboril, Julien Gauthier, Thomas Chabot and Samuel Dove-McFalls also scored. Callum Booth made 16 saves in the win.

Frederic Allard and Joey Ratelle each scored twice for Chicoutimi. Dmitry Zhukenov added a solo marker. Julio Billia made 28 stops in the loss.

The Sags jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the first period. Then Saint John grabbed a 3-2 lead in the second. Chicoutimi then scored three goals in the first five minutes of the third to take a 5-3 lead. Then Saint John three times, ending up with a 6-5.

It was a back-and-forth game to say the least, and it's hard to say how it would have turned out if hockey games were longer than 60 minutes. It was also a bit weird in the sense that Saint John dominated the second period, but the first and third were... interesting. Of all the great Sea Dogs playoff games played over the years, this was definitely one of the most memorable and entertaining ones.

To the notes...
  • During a brief power play at 10:32 of the first period, Allard fired a bomb from the point that beat Booth to give the Sags a 1-0 lead.
  • Chicoutimi extended their lead to 2-0 at 13:00 when Ratelle beat Booth from the inside of the faceoff circle. Saint John used their timeout following the goal.
  • Veleno got Saint John on the board at 18:35, scoring on a breakaway. That would make it 2-1 after one.
  • Zboril tied it up at 2-2 just 24 seconds into the period. The Sea Dogs came out flying to start the period.
  • After starting the game 0/3 on the power play, the Sea Dogs finally connected on a man advantage at 13:38. Spencer Smallman fired a shot that was redirected by Gauthier in front and past Billia, making it 3-2 Saint John.
  • Just 25 seconds into the third, Allard scored his second of the game to tie things at 3-3
  • Then just over a minute later, Zhukenov scored, giving the Sags the lead back.
  • On a power play at 4:22, a cross ice pass found Ratelle in front who beat Booth upstairs, making it 5-3 Chicoutimi. 
  • Chabot got the Sea Dogs back within one at 8:18, ripping a hard shot from the slot past Billia. That made it 5-4.
  • Then at 10:07, Chabot and Dove-McFalls entered the zone on a two-on-one. Chabot kept it and the fed Dove-McFalls who scored, making it 5-5.
  • At 14:45, Imama put Saint John in front for good, ripping a hard shot past Billia to make it 6-5.
  • With 1:27 left and Billia on the bench, the Sags were forced to take down Mathieu Joseph, giving the Dogs a late power play and, essentially, the game.
  • What a game.
  • This crowd was rocking all night long, especially when the Sags were on fire in the third period.
  • Veleno's goal was his eighth of the playoffs, tying him with Spencer Smallman for second on the team.

Cole Reginato missed the game with a minor upper body injury. He is day-to-day. Samuel Leblanc took his spot in the lineup.

There were no other changes in the Sea Dogs lineup with Oliver Felixson, David Comeau and Landon Quinney scratched.

Samuel Dove-McFalls' game-tying goal in the third period kept momentum going in Saint John's favour.

1. Thomas Chabot
2. Joey Ratelle
3. Joe Veleno

Game 1 of the President Cup Final, which will feature the Sea Dogs and Blainville-Boisbriand Armada, is on Friday night at 7 p.m. at Harbour Station.

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