SAINT JOHN - Saint John’s losing streak ended at six as the Sea Dogs rallied together to defeat the division leading Halifax Mooseheads 6-3 Friday evening at Harbour Station.
The victory also avenged a tough 8-2 loss in Halifax two weeks ago, when the Mooseheads chose to run up the score late in that contest.
Ostap Safin and Robbie Burt both had two goals and one assist to lead the Sea Dogs. Cedric Pare chipped in three assists while Anthony Boucher and Ben Reid added solo markers. Alex D’Orio had 28 saves - and added an assist - to earn the win in net for the Sea Dogs.
Otto Somppi, Filip Zadina and Xavier Parent scored for Halifax. Mooseheads goaltender, and former Sea Dog, Blade Mann-Dixon turned aside 36 shots in defeat.
- Safin opened the scoring at 4:54 of the first, when he received a long bomb pass from Alexis Girard near the Halifax blue line, skated into the slot and ripped a wrist shot just inside the right post past Mann-Dixon.
- Just past the four minute mark of the second period, Jocktan Chainey intercepted a clearing attempt and sent a cross ice pass to Somppi who blasted a booming one-time slap shot off the crossbar and into the net behind D’Orio.
- Safin put the Sea Dogs back on top – on a power play at 7:59 of the middle frame - when he snapped the rebound off a Pare backhander past Mann-Dixon.
- Just 14 seconds later, Zadina tied the game 2-2 with an impressive array of moves, including pulling the puck between his legs to allude a Saint John defender and then firing a backhand shot over D’Orio’s shoulder on the short side.
- At 19:56, Burt finished off a three-way play as William Poirier won a puck battle on the left boards, slid a pass to Pare in the slot and the Sea Dogs pivot, in turn, sent a backhand, backdoor feed to the big winger. Burt made no mistake with a quick snap shot to the top of the opened cage.
- The Sea Dogs took their first two-goal lead just 53 seconds into the third period when Safin picked up his own dump in behind the Mooseheads net, slid a pass to Kevin Gursoy for a one-timer and Boucher slid the rebound into the net.
- That lead was short lived, since a mere 11 seconds later, Parent received a pass in close and roofed a backhand shot to the top shelf - just under the crossbar.
- Burt restored the two-goal lead at 7:10 of the third, when he carried the puck to the top of the left faceoff circle and unleashed a laser past Mann-Dixon’s blocker.
- Reid capped the scoring at 15:47 when he collected the rebound of a D’Orio save along the right wing boards in his own zone, carried the puck deep into Mooseheads territory and fired a heavy wrist shot over Mann-Dixon’s right shoulder into the top corner.
- Goaltender Tommy DaSilva was recalled from Quebec Midget ‘AAA’ earlier on Friday and served as D’Orio’s backup. DaSilva was acquired from Cape Breton during the Christmas trade period in exchange for Isiah Campbell.
- With Kevin Mason and Brendan O’Reilly unable to play, the Sea Dogs dressed 10 forwards and 7 defenceman – one under the regular roster size. Also of note, Bailey Webster (20) and Anthony Boucher (19) were the only Sea Dogs over the age of 18 to dress on Friday evening for Saint John.
- Per Cami Kepke of CTV News, former Sea Dog Oliver Felixson has been declared cancer free and the big defenceman from Finland hopes to resume his playing career soon. That was certainly exciting and welcome news for the Sea Dogs and fans.
Forward Kevin Mason (upper body) and defenceman Brendan O’Reilly (lower body) joined Cole Reginato (lower body), Matt Green (upper body), Landon Quinney (upper body) and Nicholas Deakin-Poot (upper body) on the injury list. Goaltender Matt Williams also sat out this contest.
Robbie Burt’s goal with a mere 3.5 seconds remaining in the second period gave the weary Sea Dogs a much needed lift heading into the final frame.
SN STARS OF THE GAME
1. Ostap Safin
2. Cedric Pare
3. Robbie Burt
Saint John hosts their 2012 Memorial Cup nemesis from Shawinigan on Saturday night.