Halifax scored three times in the third period in a 5-2 victory over the Sea Dogs on Saturday night at Scotiabank Centre. The previous meeting between the two, held earlier this month at Harbour Station, ended in a 5-4 Halifax overtime win.
While the Mooseheads are the better team on paper and were probably the better team on the ice on Saturday, Saint John didn't get beat up or extremely outplayed - which was good to see given how shorthanded the team's lineup currently is.
Maxime Fortier had a pair of goals for Halifax while singles came from Arnaud Durandeau, Otto Somppi and Raphael Lavoie. Blade Mann-Dixon made 23 saves in the win.
Cedric Pare and Kevin Gursoy scored for Saint John. Matthew Williams was excellent in net, making 35 saves in the loss.
Saint John opened the scoring at 6:15 of the first period when Pare beat Mann-Dixon with a wrist shot.
Halifax tied the game at 10:47 when Fortier was finally able to bang the puck past Williams after a few tries. That caused a delay as the ice crew picked up all the teddy bears that were tossed onto the ice.
William Poirier had a great chance with around seven minutes left in the opening frame, going in alone from the blue line only to be denied by Mann-Dixon's pad.
The Mooseheads took their first lead of the game at 19:45. On a power play, Durandeau performed a wrap around and slid the puck in before Williams could dive over.
In the second, Saint John was awarded a lengthy five-on-three late in the period. At 16:08, Ostap Safin fired a hard shot off the crossbar but the rebound bounced in front to Gursoy who put it in, making it 2-2.
Saint John had in edge in shots in the second, 10-5, thanks to the power play time. It was a fairly evenly played frame.
Somppi gave the Mooseheads a 3-2 lead at 3:19 of the third, one timing a cross ice feed past Williams.
Halifax got some insurance at 14:08 of the final frame when Fortier scored during some four-on-four play. The Moose captain took a drop pass in the slot and ripped a quick wrist shot past Williams' glove to make it 4-2.
The Dogs pulled Williams with 90 seconds left. Saint John had the puck in the offensive zone but couldn't generate many shots. Lavoie iced the game with an empty net goal at 19:48 to make it a 5-2 final.
SCRATCHESHere is tonight's lineup for your #SJSeaDogs brought to you by @CantrburyDental #AlwaysWearYourMouthGuard pic.twitter.com/abQ5kdLhSY— Saint John Sea Dogs (@SJSeaDogs) January 27, 2018
The Sea Dogs were without and forwards Cole Reginato (lower body), Matt Green (upper body), Nick Deakin-Poot (upper body), Landon Quinney (upper body) and Robbie Burt (lower body).
Burt, who suffered a leg/foot injury last night in Bathurst, took warm up but did not play.
Reid returned to action after being injured in last Saturday's home game against Quebec.
With Robbie Burt out and Tyler Smith, the Sea Dogs had eight defencemen dressed for this game... it was Teddy Bear Toss Night in Halifax... Mooseheads forward Filip Zadina served the first game of his two-game suspension... William Poirier had two breakaways in the game but could not score on either. The Sea Dogs have not had much luck with breakaways of late... Cedric Pare took a hard hit behind the net in the second period. He was a little slow getting back to the bench but stayed in the game... Pare now has goals in back-to-back games... Saint John has now lost six straight road games.
The Sea Dogs and Mooseheads meet again tomorrow afternoon at 3 p.m. at Scotiabank Centre.