February 17, 2012
SAINT JOHN – The Saint John Sea Dogs jumped out to an early lead and cruised to a 4-1 win over the Quebec Remparts Friday.
Tomas Jurco and Danick Gauthier had a goal and an assist each and Jonathan Huberdeau racked up three assists before a sold-out crowd of 6,327 and a national television audience on Rogers Sportsnet. Maxime Villemaire and Stanislav Galiev chipped in singles and Mathieu Corbeil made 25 saves for the win. The Sea Dogs improved to 41-14-0-2 and remain first overall in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League.
Gauthier’s goal gave him 40 on the season, as he became the fourth Sea Dog to reach the milestone mark, joining Scott Howes (42 in 2007-08), Jonathan Huberdeau (43 in 2010-11) and franchise record holder Mike Hoffman (46 in 2009-10).
Anthony Duclair had the Quebec goal as the Remparts fell to 34-15-5-2. Francois Brassard allowed three goals on 13 shots before giving way to Louis Domingue, who stopped 24 of 25 the rest of the way.
Jurco opened the scoring at 6:18 with a bank shot off Brassard. Huberdeau and Gauthier picked up the assists on the goal, Jurco’s 28th of the season.
Villemaire doubled the lead thanks to an unselfish play by Charles Roussel. The 20-year-old defenceman had the puck in a great shooting position in the high slot, waited Brassard out then dished a no-look backhand pass to Villemaire. Villemaire fired into a wide open net for his 13th of the year, with the other assist going to Nathan Beaulieu.
Gauthier hit the 40-goal plateau just 22 seconds later, collecting a Pierre Durepos shot off the back boards and knocking it in to make it 3-0. Huberdeau picked up the other assist on the goal, which brought Brassard’s night to an end.
The Sea Dogs outshot the Remparts 18-6 in the first period, but Corbeil had to make a tough save on a late power play. The overage netminder slid to his left to make a pad stop on Adam Erne in close and keep the 3-0 score line intact.
Galiev ran the lead to 4-0 with his seventh of the season at 8:04 of the second period. After Huberdeau cycled to Jurco, the slick Slovakian fanned on a good shooting opportunity, but Galiev pounced on the loose puck in the slot and snapped it high to Domingue’s blocker side.
Duclair broke the shutout at 17:32 of the middle frame, slipping a bouncing puck between Corbeil’s right leg and the post. It was the 23rd goal of the season for the impressive 16-year-old, with assists going to Frederick Roy and top 2012 NHL Entry Draft prospect Mikhail Grigorenko.
After being outshot 14-10 in the second, Quebec held a 10-6 shots edge in the final frame, but the Remparts were unable to get another puck past Corbeil and the 4-1 score stood.
Fans looking for the absolute best value of the season can take advantage of the Toonie Tuesday promotion at Saint John’s next game. Youth upper-bowl tickets to the 7 p.m. game against the Halifax Mooseheads are available for just $2 (plus $1 service charge) with the purchase of an adult ticket. Tickets are available at the Harbour Station box office, by calling 506-657-1234 or online at www.tickets.harbourstation.ca. Fans are reminded to cash in their flex packs early as just five home games remain.