SAINT JOHN – The Moncton Wildcats scored three times in the second period on their way to a 6-4 victory over the Saint John Sea Dogs in front of a sellout crowd on Fan Appreciation Night, Saturday Harbour Station.
Jeremy McKenna scored two goals for Moncton (25-31-5-3) while Alexander Khovanov, James Phelan, Anderson MacDonald and Brady Pataki added one each.
Cole Reginato responded with two goals for Saint John (14-40-9-2) while Cedric Pare contributed a goal and two assists. Anthony Boucher also scored.
With the loss, the Sea Dogs have been eliminated from contention for the 2018 QMJHL President Cup playoffs.
A scoring summary is available HERE.
Reginato opened the scoring 41 seconds into the first period on the game’s first shot.
The overager carried the puck into the Moncton zone on the left wing, used a toe-drag to cut into the middle and rifled a heavy wrist shot past the glove of goalie Mark Grametbauer. The Sea Dogs’ other 20-year-olds, Bailey Webster and Brendan O’Reilly, assisted on the goal mere minutes after all three graduating players were recognized in ceremonies prior to puck drop.
The Wildcats tied the game 35 seconds later on their first shot when Khovanov was found open in the right circle for a snap shot that got past the blocker of netminder Alex D’Orio.
Saint John regained the lead with more than four minutes left in the period.
Boucher took a short pass in the right circle and sent a wrist shot past a screened Grametbauer to make it 2-1.
Moncton tied the game against 46 seconds into the second period when defenceman Nicholas Welsh whipped a pass from the right boards, across the slot, to Phelan driving the net. The overage centreman chipped it past D’Orio.
Reginato struck again four minutes later.
He took a pass behind the net and jammed it inside the left post, off Grametbauer and in.
But the Wildcats evened the score for the third time with two minutes left in the period.
While on a power play, MacDonald, the ex-Saint John Vito’s star, drove to the front of the net, received a pass from Adam Capannelli and snapped it past D’Orio.
McKenna gave the visitors their first lead with 16.6 second remaining in the period, jamming another power play goal inside the right post, just past D’Orio’s right leg.
Moncton’s leading scorer found the net again four minutes into the third period with the eventual game-winning goal.
McKenna stood off the right side of the crease and redirected a Khovanov pass from the slot beyond the blocker of D’Orio to make it a 5-3 game.
Pare countered less than a minute later.
The Boston Bruins’ prospect charged toward the goal from the left circle, fought through a hook from behind and slid a backhand shot through the legs of Grametbauer.
The Sea Dogs pulled D’Orio for an extra skater with under two minutes to go, but could not tie the game. They were penalized in the final minute, leading to the Wildcats’ third power play goal of the night.
Pataki corralled the puck in the right corner and fired a pass across the crease which deflected off the leg of a Saint John defenceman and past D’Orio’s left arm to make it 6-4.
Grametbauer earned the win with 34 stops. D’Orio made 28 saves in a losing cause.
The Sea Dogs honoured Webster, Reginato and O’Reilly once more, making them the three stars in the team’s last home game of the season. Webster finished the night with an assist, a +2 rating, and three hits. Reginato had two goals, a +3 rating and two hits. O’Reilly earned an assist, a +2 rating and one hit in front of an announced sellout crowd of 6,165.
The Sea Dogs’ next game is Wednesday, March 14th, at 7 p.m. against the Halifax Mooseheads at Scotiabank Centre. Listen LIVE on 96.1 NewSong FM or newsongfm.ca. Watch LIVE on Neulion.