Saturday, September 24, 2011
SAINT JOHN, NB – The Saint John Sea Dogs welcomed Minnesota Wild first-round draft pick Zack Phillips back into the lineup Saturday, as he helped them win 6-2 over the early-season powerhouse Acadie-Bathurst Titan in Quebec Major Junior Hockey League action.
Stanislav Galiev had two goals and an assist for the Sea Dogs and Phillips registered a Gordie Howe hat-trick with a goal, assist and a fight. Danick Gauthier added two goals, Oliver Cooper chipped in a single and Tyrone Sock added three assists. Mathieu Corbeil turned aside 25 for the win between the pipes as Saint John evened its record at 3-3.
Christophe Losier and Jeremie Blain replied for the Titan, which thumped Saint John 8-1 in their first meeting of the season. Robert Steeves made 22 saves in the loss as Bathurst fell to 3-3-1-0.
Among the crowd of 3,570 at Harbour Station to watch the game was special guest Nicholas Giroux. Giroux was honoured for his outstanding perseverance through a major injury and received a standing ovation prior to puck drop. In May of 2009, Giroux lost part of his right leg during an accident. Less than one year later, Giroux had strapped on the skates and was the starting goaltender for his hockey team this past season. His story was featured on TSN during the Kraft Celebration Tour stop in Sackville, New Brunswick, where he grew up and continues to play sports. The game also featured a food drive organized by the Bell Aliant Pioneers.
Phillips made his presence felt early on as he set up Galiev to open the scoring at 2:43 of the first. The Titan replied on the power play at 9:59 of the first, with Losier snapping one on net off the cycle from Mirko Hoefflin and Matthew Bissonette. The Titan attack continued when Blain fired on net from the point and the trickling puck crossed the goal line at 16:20.
The Sea Dogs weathered an early penalty kill in the second period with some solid goaltending from Corbeil. The kill proved to be essential, as Galiev returned the favour and set up Phillips for his first goal of the season at 10:21 of the second. Pierre Durepos picked up the other assist. Exactly three minutes later, Philips dropped the gloves with Jordan Murray to complete his first-ever Gordie Howe hat-trick. The Sea Dogs power play went to work at 15:42 and Galiev notched his second marker at 16:09 on a feed from Durepos.
At 1:13 of the final frame, Scott Oke set up Sock for a shot from the point. Steeves could not control the rebound which fell to Gauthier who slid a backhander into an open net. Later in the frame, during a scramble along the boards Oke dug the puck away from the Titan and handed it off to Gauthier. Gauthier powered into the offensive zone, pulled a nifty move around a defender and spun around the Titan netminder for another backhand goal at 13:07. It was his fifth of the year and second of the game. The Dogs attack continued with Cooper notching Saint John’s sixth of the game at 17:17 from Sock and Aidan Kelly. Sock had assists on all three third-period goals.
Saint John hits the road for a three-game Quebec swing, beginning against the Blainville-Boisbriand Armada on Wednesday. The Dogs visit the Drummondville Voltigeurs Friday and the Victoriaville Tigres Saturday. Tim Roszell will have the call on News 88.9 FM. Fans can also catch all the action online via the official TELUS QMJHL webcast (click HERE to order; charges apply).
Saint John’s next home game is Oct. 8 against the Rimouski Oceanic. Both season and single-game tickets are on sale. Single-game tickets are available at the Harbour Station box office, by calling 506-657-1234 or online at www.tickets.harbourstation.ca, while season tickets and flex packs can be obtained at the Sea Dogs office. For further information, phone 506-657-DOGS (3647).