VAL-D'OR, Que. – A three-goal performance by Mathieu Joseph led the Saint John Sea Dogs to a 7-3 win over the Val-d'Or Foreurs at Centre Air Creebec Tuesday evening.
With the victory, Saint John secured a 3-0 stranglehold in their quarter-final match-up and can move into the semi-finals with one more victory over the Foreurs.
Cole Reginato, Joe Veleno, Julien Gauthier and Kyle Ward added single goals for Saint John. Callum Booth recorded 16 saves in the win.
David Henley, Ivan Kozlov and David Noel replied for Val-d'Or. Etienne Montpetit had another impressive 52 save performance for the Foreurs.
- Henley opened the scoring on a power play at 3:16 of the first period when his seemingly innocent point shot deflected off a Sea Dogs defender and past a screened Booth. Former Sea Dog Jason Bell earned an assist on the goal.
- Kozlov sent the home team supporters into a frenzy of horn blowing at 5:47 when he corralled a rebound in the slot and snapped the puck between Booth's toe and the post to put the Foreurs up two goals for the first time this series.
- Sea Dogs head coach Danny Flynn used his time out immediately after Kozlov's goal to settle his troops and it worked perfectly. Just 30 seconds later, Samuel Dove-McFalls' drop pass from behind the Foreurs' goal went to Reginato in the slot and the Sea Dogs winger snapped a one-timer past Montpetit to make the score 2-1 in favour of the hosts.
- Veleno evened the score while on a power play at 19:10 of the first, as he deftly tipped a cross crease pass from Simon Bourque past Montpetit.
- Joseph gave Saint John their first lead of the night at 7:08 of the second - after Bokondji Imama intercepted a pass in the defensive zone and sent a long lead pass to his linemate - on a breakaway and beat Montpetit with a slick deke to his backhand. In games one and two of this series, the Sea Dogs had been stoned by Montpetit on shots during about seven or eight breakaway opportunities.
- Val-d'Or's Noel tied the score at 9:28 when his point shot appeared to glance off another Sea Dogs defender in front of Booth.
- Despite being outshot 37-11 after two periods, the hosts had managed to find a way to go to the dressing room even at 3-3 on the scoreboard.
- The Sea Dogs moved back in front at 4:18 of the third when the rebound of a Bailey Webster point shot went to Gauthier in the slot and the former Foreurs sniper unloaded a quick snap shot past Montpetit.
- Joseph put the Sea Dogs up by two at 8:26 when he cut through the slot, faked (or fanned on) his initial attempt to freeze Montpetit and then snapped the disc past the Foreurs' 'keeper's blocker.
- Joseph completed his hat trick with an empty net goal at 18:45.
- Ward put a cherry on top with a one-timer from the slot after a nice drop pass from behind the goal line by Cedric Pare to make the final score 7-3 for the visitors.
- Gauthier established a Sea Dogs record for most shots on goal in regulation time of a playoff game on Saturday as he unleashed 13 shots against his former team in the game two victory.
- Henley's first period power play goal was the first man advantage goal against the Sea Dogs in this year's playoffs. Saint John also had scored three shorthanded goals in the team's first six playoff games.
- Kozlov, one of the Foreurs' two import players, returned to the lineup after sitting out Saturday's game.
- Elsewhere in the QMJHL - a broken refrigeration line in Sydney, NS caused Game 3 of the Screaming Eagles - Charlottetown Islanders series to be postponed. In Bathurst, the Titan earned a 4-1 victory over Blainville-Boisbriand to jump into a 2-1 series lead. And in Chicoutimi, the second ranked Rouyn-Noranda Huskies came away with a 3-1 win over the Sagueneens - to take a 2-1 series lead there.
SCRATCHESHere is tonight's Game #3 lineup for your #SJSeaDogs brought to you by @CantrburyDental #AlwaysWearYourMouthGuard pic.twitter.com/o2awqm9h9h— Saint John Sea Dogs (@SJSeaDogs) April 11, 2017
Landon Quinney (appendicitis), Oliver Felixson (upper body) and Ian Smallwood did not accompany the team on the trip to northern Quebec. Goaltender Matt Williams - who was recalled from Summerside (MHL) Monday - forward Samuel Leblanc and defenceman David Comeau were healthy scratches.
Cole Reginato's goal just 30 seconds after Val-d'Or had jumped out to a quick 2-0 lead seemed to restore the Sea Dogs' confidence.
SN STARS OF THE GAME
1. Mathieu Joseph
2. Jakub Zboril
3. Etienne Montpetit
Saint John and Val-d'Or play Game 4 on Wednesday evening at Centre Air Creebec, starting at 8:30 p.m.