SAINT JOHN – The Saint John Sea Dogs had arguably their best first period of the season - and then the wheels fell off.
The visiting Shawinigan Cataractes climbed back to post an 8-5 win over over the Sea Dogs on Saturday evening at Harbour Station. The win allowed Shawinigan to leapfrog the Sea Dogs into 17th place in the overall standings and did serious damage to Saint John’s hopes to secure a playoff berth. Shawinigan is now four points behind the Foreurs for 16th place in the standings while the Sea Dogs are now five back.
Alex Plamondon and Anthony Imbeault both had two goals to lead the Cataractes to the come-from-behind victory. Gabriel Denis, Simon Dubois-Tiberghen, Jason Horvath and Frederik Theoret also scored for Shawinigan. Mathieu Bellemare turned aside 20 of 25 shots for the Cataractes.
Ostap Safin led Saint John with one goal and three assists on Saturday. Anthony Boucher added one goal and two assists, Kevin Gursoy and Radim Salda chipped in with a goal and an assist each and Robbie Burt added a goal to the cause as well. Rookie Tommy DaSilva made his first QMJHL regular season start for the Sea Dogs and had 32 saves - but was hung out to dry too often.
- Safin opened the scoring at 2:03 of the first when he banged the rebound of a Gursoy shot past Bellemare for his 20th goal on the season.
- Salda would provide the Sea Dogs with a two-goal lead at 10:53 of the first when he finished off a rush by snapping his own rebound past Bellemare.
- The hosts would go up 3-0 at 12:24 of the first when Safin stole the puck behind the Cataractes net and fed Boucher in front who then completed a nifty deke to his backhand in tight.
- The Sea Dogs came out flat to start the second and the Cataractes got on the board at 3:05 - just as a power play ended - when Denis deposited a rebound past a fallen DaSilva.
- The visitors came right back with another rebound goal just 11 seconds later, this time by Plamondon.
- Burt put the Sea Dogs up 4-2 with a power play goal at 18:15 when he ripped a wrist shot from the bottom of the right faceoff circle which found its way between Bellemare’s arm and chest into the net.
- The Cataractes would respond less than a minute later with their third rebound goal of the period – this time by Imbeault at 18:59 - following a turnover deep in the Sea Dogs zone. The Sea Dogs argued, to no avail, that a Cataractes skater in the crease interfered with DaSilva.
- At 9:18 of the third – seconds after Salda had the stick knocked out of his hands without a penalty call – Dubois-Tiberghen fired a backhand shot over DaSilva’s blocker to tie the score.
- The Cataractes would take the lead on a power play at 10:00, when Horvath scored his first QMJHL goal by batting the puck out of the air and past DaSilva.
- Shawinigan struck on another power play at 14:59 when Imbeault scored his second of the night by finishing off a lovely three-way passing play, snapping a backdoor feed past DaSilva.
- The Sea Dogs got back to within one at 16:37 as Bellemare got caught out off the net and Gursoy finished off a quick tic-tac-toe with a tip-in into an open cage.
- On the next shift, Plamondon got past a pinching defenceman for a partial breakaway and sent a laser from the right faceoff circle over DaSilva’s shoulder.
- Theoret capped the scoring with a Hail Mary shot from deep into his own zone into an empty net at 19:04 to make the final 8-5.
- With six players on the injury list, the Sea Dogs rolled three lines and rotated seven defencemen once again.
SCRATCHESHere is tonight's lineup for your #SJSeaDogs brought to you by @CantrburyDental #AlwaysWearYourMouthGuard pic.twitter.com/GqTeUgGGdT— Saint John Sea Dogs (@SJSeaDogs) February 10, 2018
Forwards Kevin Mason (upper body), Cole Reginato (lower body), Matt Green (upper body), Landon Quinney (upper body) and Nicholas Deakin-Poot (upper body) as well as defenceman Brendan O’Reilly (lower body) are on the injury list. Goaltender Alex D’Orio was given a well deserved night off.
A no call after Radim Salda had the stick knocked out of his hands - which led to the game tying goal by Dubois-Tiberghen - proved to be an absolute dagger to the heart of the depleted Sea Dogs lineup.
SN STARS OF THE GAME
1. Anthony Imbeault
2. Ostap Safin
3. Alex Plamondon
The Sea Dogs travel to Sherbrooke – as part of three games in four nights in western Quebec – when they faceoff against Luke Green and the Phoenix on Wednesday at 8 p.m.