May 5, 2012
SAINT JOHN, N.B. – Charlie Coyle set a new team record for playoff scoring as the Saint John Sea Dogs seized a 2-0 lead in the President’s Cup final with a 3-2 win in Game 2 Saturday.
Coyle scored a short-handed penalty shot goal, and set up a power-play marker by Tomas Jurco to increase his Quebec Major Junior Hockey League-best points total to 32. That’s one more than the mark set by Michael Kirkpatrick in 2010. Danick Gauthier also scored for the Sea Dogs and Mathieu Corbeil made 14 saves for the win.
Petr Straka had both Rimouski goals and Jacob Chouinard stopped 29 in a losing cause.
Corbeil got some help from the goaltender’s best friend in the first period. A minute into the game, Straka ripped a wrist shot off the post to Corbeil’s left.
The fans were once again on their feet and into the game from the opening faceoff. Charles Roussel delivered two big hits in quick succession in the sixth minute to pump them up even more. First the overage defenceman drilled Straka into the Dogs bench, then later in the shift he levelled Peter Trainor at the blueline.
With less than five minutes to go in the opening frame the Oceanic hit the post again. This time is was a trailing Casey Babineau ringing a shot off the pipe to Corbeil’s right.
The Sea Dogs outshot Rimouski 14-4 in the first period and their best chance may have been a Nathan Beaulieu breakaway as he jumped out of the penalty box to rejoin play with a minute left. But Chouinard stopped his slap shot to preserve the scoreless tie.
With 4.4 seconds remaining in the frame, Gauthier was called for checking from behind, setting off a heated scrum. Several players exchanged words and shoves as the bad blood in this series continued to build.
The Sea Dogs got things going offensively during a 4-on-4 situation at 6:12 of the second period. With the extra open ice, Gauthier was able to get a clear shot from the left-wing faceoff dot and he snapped it over Chouinard’s glove and into the top corner for his 10th. Jason Seed and Kevin Gagne assisted on the goal, which was so well-placed it actually stayed lodged in the top corner until a Rimouski player knocked it out.
Just 50 seconds later, as Roussel jumped out of the box to create a short power play, Jurco stickhandled a rebound to his backhand and lifted it high over Chouinard’s glove from the slot. Coyle and Spencer MacDonald assisted on the goal, Jurco’s 10th.
Coyle set his record in style, making it 3-0 with a short-handed penalty shot goal at 11:36. With the Dogs down 4-on-3, Coyle broke away, but was held by Alex Belzile, and a penalty shot called. With the Harbour Station faithful cheering him on, Coyle almost lost the handle on the puck, but recovered to deke to his forehand and beat Chouinard for his 15th.
The Oceanic broke the shutout on just their eighth shot of the game, with Straka converting a rebound at 15:50 of the second to make it 3-1.
The Sea Dogs frustrated the Oceanic with tenacious forechecking for most of the third period, not letting Rimouski set up much in the way of a comfortable breakout.
With the Rimouski net empty and under two minutes to go, the Dogs missed a couple of chances to ice the victory with an empty-netter. Then with 1:04 to go, the Oceanic took advantage of the extra attacker to draw back within one.
Straka struck again, this time firing a shot from the left wing across Corbeil’s body to make it 3-2. But the Dogs held the fort, keeping Rimouski from setting up another dangerous opportunity in the final seconds.
Games 3, 4 and 5 (if necessary) are set for Rimouski on Wednesday, Thursday and Saturday. Tim Roszell will have the call on News 88.9 FM and fans can also catch all the action online via the official TELUS QMJHL webcast (click HERE to order; charges apply).