SAINT JOHN – Samuel Dove-McFalls scored the winning goal 9:58 into overtime as the Saint John Sea Dogs came from behind to defeat the Val-d’Or Foreurs, 2-1, in Game 1 of their President Cup quarterfinal series at Harbour Station.
The victory spoiled a 66-save performance by Foreurs’ goaltender Etienne Montpetit. The Sea Dogs set a new franchise record for shots in a playoff overtime game with 68.
Spencer Smallman also scored for Saint John (5-0).
Alexis Pepin had the lone marker for Val-d’Or (4-3).
The Sea Dogs lead the best-of seven series, 1-0.
There was no scoring in the opening period, despite the Sea Dogs outshooting the Foreurs 19-6.
Saint John’s best chance to score came late in the period, on a power play, when Bokondji Imama grabbed the rebound of a sharp-angled shot and fired a blast of his own that was turned aside by the stick of Montpetit.
Pepin opened the scoring three-and-a-half minutes into the second.
The overage forward helped create a turnover in the Sea Dog’s zone. He ended up having the puck come to him in the slot. The 2014 draft choice of the Colorado Avalanche turned a rifled a wrist shot that beat Callum Booth on his glove side.
The Sea Dogs peppered Montpetit with twenty more shots in the period, but could not score.
Mathieu Joseph had a shorthanded breakaway late in the frame, and attempted to deke to his forehand. The third-year netminder stoned Saint John’s second-leading goal scorer in the regular season with a right pad save.
A short time later, Imama ripped a heavy wrist shot from the right side that went off the right post.
Smallman tied the game nearly seven minutes into the third period with a power play goal.
The Sea Dogs worked the puck down to the right side of the crease for Matthew Highmore, who fed a cross-crease pass to the captain. Smallman snapped a quick one-timer past Montpetit to even the score.
Saint John outshot Val-d’Or 19-1 in the third period, but the game would require overtime.
The Sea Dogs carried play in the extra session as well before Dove-McFalls ended the game nearly halfway through the first overtime period.
Cole Reginato took a long pass near the right side of the Foreurs’ blueline and got the puck into the corner. Nathan Noel picked it up in front of the goal line and spun a backhand pass to the front of the goal to a streaking Dove-McFalls, who tapped it past Montpetit’s blocker to end the game.
Saint John outshot Val-d’Or 68-14 on the night.
Booth made 13 saves to earn the win. Montpetit took the loss, but was an easy choice for first star. His selection received a standing ovation from what remained of 4,353 fans in attendance.
Dove-McFalls snared second star with the winning goal. Reginato got third star with an assist and seven shots on goal.
Game 2 is Saturday, April 8th, at 7 p.m. at Harbour Station. Tickets are available at the Harbour Station Box Office. CAA members can save 10% on their purchases at the box office. Fans can also save money by buying online.
Written by Tim Roszell