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SHOOTOUT VICTORY SETS NEW TEAM WINS RECORD

Thursday, March 10, 2011

RIMOUSKI, Que. – The Saint John Sea Dogs overcame a first-period deficit and a last-minute equalizer to pull out a 3-2 shootout win over the Rimouski Oceanic Thursday.

Jonathan Huberdeau had a goal and an assist in regulation and added the shootout winner for the Dogs. Zack Phillips had the other goal in regulation, while Tomas Jurco scored in the shootout. Mathieu Corbeil made 28 saves and two more in the breakaway contest for the victory.

Jakub Culek and Patrick Delisle-Houde scored for Rimouski, Jerome Gauthier-Leduc had two assists and Morgan Clark made 29 saves in a losing cause.

The Sea Dogs improved to 54-6-1-2, setting a new team record for wins and points (111), and keeping alive their hopes of establishing a new Quebec Major Junior Hockey League mark for wins. With five wins in their final five games, the Dogs could best the record of 58 victories established by the Sorel Eperviers in 1973-74 and matched by the Trois-Rivieres Draveurs in 1978-79.

Click HERE for a complete scoresheet from Thursday’s game.

Rimouski drew first blood when Culek scored at 6:09 of the first period, but Phillips equalized at 18:18, banging in a rebound for his 37th of the year. Huberdeau and Eric Gelinas had the assists.

After a scoreless second period, the Oceanic thought they had taken the lead midway through the third period. Michael Beaudry knocked in a loose puck, but the goal was waved off as the referees ruled Beaudry kicked the puck in, and video review upheld the call.

Saint John scored what looked to be the winning goal with just 1:50 remaining in regulation. Michael Kirkpatrick directed the puck on net with a diving swat off a faceoff to Clark’s left, and Huberdeau got a piece of it to deflect it home for his 39th goal of the year and team-record 98th point.

But with just 21 seconds left and Clark on the bench for an extra attacker, Delisle-Houde tied it up by firing a loose puck through a crowd.

Gelinas had the best chance in a back-and-forth overtime, on a breakaway in the dying seconds, but was stopped by Clark, sending it to a shootout.

Rimouski captain Felix Lefrancois took the first shot but was stopped by the right pad of Corbeil. Shootout wizard Jurco scored on a move to the backhand, then Corbeil stayed with Leduc on his attempt, forcing the shot wide. That set up Huberdeau’s chance to win it, and the 17-year-old sniper came in with speed before tucking it between Clark’s right pad and the post on his forehand.

The road trip continues Friday, when the Sea Dogs visit the Acadie-Bathurst Titan at 7:30 p.m. Saint John also visits Cape Breton Sunday at 2 p.m. and the Prince Edward Island Rocket at 7 p.m. Wednesday before wrapping up the season with two home games. 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 at 7:30 p.m. March 18 as the Eagles make the return visit on this St. Patrick’s Day themed night. The final regular-season game is set for 4 p.m. March 20 against the Prince Edward Island Rocket and will be Fan Appreciation Day.

Tickets can be obtained by calling the Harbour Station box office at (506) 657-1234, or by visiting www.tickets.harbourstation.ca. The Sea Dogs would like to remind fans holding flex tickets to cash them in soon to avoid being disappointed by waiting until the last minute. These tickets do not carry over to playoffs and are redeemed on a first come, first served basis.

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