The Sea Dogs came out flat against a fired up and well rested host team, falling 3-2 to the Windsor Spitfires on Friday night at the WFCU Centre.
Jeremiah Addison, Jeremy Bracco and Aaron Luchuk all scored for Windsor. Michael DiPietro made 20 saves in the victory.
Windsor, coming off a long layoff, got off to a strong start and carried that momentum for the first two periods. The Sea Dogs had moments where they looked like their usual selves, but it wasn't until the final half of the third period when they seemed to find their mojo. By that time it was too late to complete a comeback.
The loss could certainly make the road to winning the Memorial Cup more difficult, but it's far from impossible.
To the notes...
- Saint John weathered an early storm and got some strong goaltending from Booth to keep it scoreless in the opening few minutes of the contest.
- Saint John started to get things going near the midway mark of the period, applying some sustained pressure in the Windsor zone - but they were unable to score.
- Addison opened the scoring on a power play at 15:53, beating Booth five-hole with a quick wrist shot.
- Not long after, while Saint John was on a power play, Mikhail Sergachev fired a shot past Booth but hit the crossbar.
- Bracco made it 2-0 Windsor at 18:13 of the second period, beating Jakub Zboril to enter the zone and then putting in his own rebound.
- Saint John had moments of offensive pressure in the middle frame but they still looked off for much of the period, allowing Windsor to have some dangerous scoring opportunities.
- Windsor got the third period off to a good start when Luchuk scored just 4:48 in.
- Saint John finally got on the board at 16:50 with a wrist shot from the circle that beat DiPietro up high.
- Then at 17:14, Chabot scored with a shot from the line to get Saint John within one.
- The Sea Dogs had some pressure on and created a few good chances in the final couple minutes - including an unreal chance for Matthew Highmore - but were unable to net the equalizer.
- Simon Bourque had five shots while Chabot and Samuel Dove-McFalls each had four.
- The WFCU Centre was probably 90% full or so. There were pockets of empty seats throughout the place and a few empty rows in the upper corner.
The Sea Dogs were without defencemen Ian Smallwood, Oliver Felixson and David Comeau along with forwards Landon Quinney and Samuel Leblanc.
The Sea Dogs take on OHL champion Erie Otters on Monday night at 8 p.m. Saint John will be the home team.