SAINT JOHN – Ethan Crossman’s goal more than thirteen minutes into the third period proved to be the game-winner as the Acadie-Bathurst Titan outlasted the Saint John Sea Dogs, 6-4, Sunday at Harbour Station.
The game was tied 2-2 after two periods, largely due to the play of Sea Dogs’ goalie Alex D’Orio. He was one of the game’s biggest stories, finishing the afternoon with a team-record 60 saves, including 30 in the middle frame. He was named the game’s first star.
Jeffrey Viel scored twice for Acadie-Bathurst (39-15-7-2) while Antoine Morand, Mitchell Balmas, and Noah Dobson also found the net.
Cole Reginato had a goal and an assist for Saint John (13-38-9-2). Anthony Boucher, Nathan Larose and Ben Reid netted a goal apiece.
A scoring summary is available HERE.
The Sea Dogs opened the scoring seven-and-a-half minutes into the game following a turnover in the Titan zone.
Reginato had the puck bounce to him in front of the net. The overager turned toward the goal, deked to his forehand and snapped it past the right leg of goalie Joseph Murdaca.
Morand tied the game with under a minute left in the period, finding and depositing the rebound of a shot from the right wing that was stopped initially by D’Orio.
Saint John regained the lead with six-and-a-half minutes to go in the second.
Boucher raced in alone on a shorthanded breakaway, but was hooked as he took a shot on goal and was awarded a penalty shot.
The 19-year-old centre made no mistake, carrying the puck into the right circle and ripping a wrist shot under the blocker of Murdaca, off the right post and in.
Acadie-Bathurst peppered D’Orio with shots in the second period, and evened the score again with 34.8 seconds remaining in it.
The Sea Dogs turned the puck over in front of their own goal, allowing German Rubtsov to feed Balmas at the right side of the crease for an easy tap-in.
The Titan had 31 shots on goal in the second period, which established a new record for most shots against the Sea Dogs in a single period. It’s also the most shots by any team in any period this season.
The visitors took the lead in the opening two minutes of the third period thanks to goals 18 seconds apart from Viel.
First, the Titan captain worked a give-and-go with Dobson and found himself with an open shot from in front of the crease.
On the next shift, Rubtsov released a backhand shot from the right side of the net that was stopped by D’Orio. Viel pounded home the rebound.
Larose cut his team’s deficit to 4-3 with seven minutes left.
The rookie blueliner rifled a shot from the right point that deflected over the glove of Murdaca.
But the Titan responded 21 seconds later when Crossman stepped into a heavy wrister from the right side and beat D’Orio over his blocker.
Dobson made it a 6-3 game with under five minutes left, sending a wrist shot from the top of the right circle that deflected off of a Saint John defender and inside the right post.
Reid got that one back 23 seconds later.
The Quispamsis-native took a long shot from the right side that skipped over the left pad of Murdaca and into the crease behind him. Reid followed up his own shot and slipped it into an empty cage.
The Sea Dogs earned a power play chance with under three minutes remaining and pulled D’Orio for an extra skater, but could not get any closer.
Murdaca made 25 saves to earn the win for the Titan. D’Orio’s first-star performance included 60 saves and an assist on Larose’s goal. The 66 shots against Saint John were also a franchise high for shots against in a single game.
Viel’s two goals made him second star. Dobson was named third star with three points and 11 shots on goal in front of 5,506 fans in attendance.
The Sea Dogs’ next game is Wednesday, March 7th, at 7 p.m. against the Charlottetown Islanders at Harbour Station. Tickets are available at the Harbour Station Box Office and online.
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