February 28, 2012
SAINT JOHN – The Saint John Sea Dogs captured the Brunswick News Rivalry Cup for the second straight year, clinching the competition with a 5-3 win over the Moncton Wildcats Tuesday.
Nathan Beaulieu had a goal and two assists, with Charlie Coyle, Stanislav Galiev, Maxime Villemaire and Jonathan Huberdeau adding singles. Aidan Kelly and Kevin Gagne chipped in two assists each and Mathieu Corbeil made 18 saves for the win.
The Sea Dogs improved their Quebec Major Junior Hockey League record to 45-14-0-2, good for first overall, and earned five points in the Rivalry Cup: three for the regulation win and two for breaking the 5,000-fan barrier with a crowd of 5,433. Saint John took the Cup by the narrowest of margins: 21.5-20.5. The victory also extended their winning streak to 15 games, the longest in the Canadian Hockey League this season.
Marek Hrivik, Devon MacAusland and Ryan Penny scored for Moncton and Roman Will made 36 saves in the loss as the Wildcats fell to 27-27-3-3.
Click HERE to view a complete scoresheet from Tuesday’s game.
Will made an outstanding save to keep the game scoreless just under six minutes in. Zack Phillips made a backhand dish to Galiev, who cut in from the right wing and tried to get the goalie to slide across. But Will kept his left pad in the way to deny the dipsy-doodling Russian’s forehand.
The Dogs broke through at 15:21 of the first when Danick Gauthier snuck a pass across the top of the crease from behind the net and found Coyle coming in untouched from the left wing. The Minnesota Wild prospect buried for his 12th of the year, with the other assist going to Beaulieu.
Grant West had a chance to double the lead early in the second. The former Wildcat was hauled down on a breakaway and was awarded a penalty shot, but Will stopped his attempt to the forehand.
Galiev made it 2-0 at 4:34 of the middle frame when he knocked in Kevin Gagne’s rebound after some nice work down low by Aidan Kelly, who collected the second assist.
Then with the Dogs down a man, Villemaire wound up and slapped home a loose puck from the slot after Ryan Tesink had it knocked away. Beaulieu picked up the other assist on the short-hander, Villemaire’s 16th goal of the season.
With about seven minutes left in the second, Huberdeau brought the crowd to its feet, but they uttered a collective groan as he shot a sure goal off the post after a spinning backhand feed from Galiev.
After Hrivik got the Wildcats on the board at 1:44 of the third, Beaulieu restored the three-goal cushion, beating Will on a wraparound at 8:19. Kelly and Jason Cameron assisted on the goal, Beaulieu’s 10th.
The Wildcats, however, did not give up, as MacAusland clawed them back within two at 18:08. It took an empty-net goal from Huberdeau at 19:20 to give the Dogs back their breathing room. Kevin Gagne assisted on the goal, Huberdeau’s 23rd.
Penny tallied a late marker at 19:48 to round out the scoring summary.
Just two home games remain in the regular season, as the Prince Edward Island Rocket visit Friday at 7:30 p.m., while the Acadie-Bathurst Titan are in town for a 7 p.m. date Saturday. Both games feature special promotional themes, with Irish Celebration Night kicking off the St. Patrick’s Day celebration early on Friday, while Saturday will feature thousands in dollars in giveaways from sponsors during the annual Fan Appreciation Night. A limited number of tickets are available at the Harbour Station box office, by calling 506-657-1234 or online at www.tickets.harbourstation.ca.