VAL-D’OR, QC – Mathieu Joseph netted a hat trick and Julien Gauthier scored his second consecutive game-winning goal, as the Saint John Sea Dogs defeated the Val-d’Or Foreurs, 7-3, in Game 3 of their President Cup quarterfinal, Tuesday at Centre Air Creebec.
Cole Reginato, Joe Veleno and Kyle Ward also scored for Saint John while Bailey Webster and Bokondji Imama added two assists each.
David Henley, Ivan Kozlov and David Noel responded for Val-d’Or.
The Sea Dogs lead the best-of-seven second-round series, 3-0.
Val-d’Or struck three minutes in the game with the first power play goal allowed by Saint John during the 2017 postseason.
Henley took a pass at the right point and fired a shot that was deflected twice and slipped between the legs of Callum Booth in the Sea Dogs’ goal.
Kozlov made it 2-0 two-and-a-half minutes later, burying the third chance from the slot after two shots were blocked.
Saint John coach Danny Flynn called his timeout after the second goal, and Reginato got the Sea Dogs on the board on the very next shift.
Chase Stewart fired a slap-pass from the right point to Dove-McFalls on the left side of the crease, and the big centre deflected the feed wide of the net. But he recovered to send a backhand pass in front of the goal to a wide-open Reginato, who snapped it home.
Veleno tied the game with a power play goal with 49.5 seconds left in the period.
Simon Bourque moved to the top of the left circle and whipped a pass to the top of the crease where Veleno redirected it past the left leg of goalie Etienne Montpetit.
The Sea Dogs took their first lead of the game seven minutes into the second period when Imama intercepted a pass near his own blueline and sent Joseph on a breakaway. The winger from Chambly, Quebec, faked a shot and deked to his backhand, tucking the puck inside the left post.
The Foreurs evened the score again more than two minutes after that when a shot from the left point by David Noel got through a screen and through Booth’s legs.
It was all Sea Dogs on the scoreboard in the third period.
Gauthier kicked off a four-goal frame for Saint John with a strike four minutes in.
The ex-Foreurs star, back in Val-d’Or for his first game as a visiting player, watched as a Webster shot from the right point was blocked. He grabbed the rebound in the slot and whipped it past Montpetit’s blocker.
Joseph’s second goal of the night came more than four minutes later.
Matthew Highmore carried the puck on the right wing on a 3-on-2 and fed Joseph in the slot. The Tampa Bay Lightning prospect fanned on his initial shot, grabbed the puck again and rifled a heavy writer inside the right post.
Joseph completed his hat trick into an empty net with 75 seconds left.
Ward tacked on one more with 23.2 seconds to play, taking a nifty back-pass in the low slot from Cedric Pare and snapping a shot past the blocker of Montpetit to wrap up the scoring.
Booth made 16 saves to earn the win. Montpetit was tagged with the loss despite 52 stops.
Gauthier’s game-winner made him first star while Joseph’s hat trick warranted a second-star selection. Val-d’Or winger Maxim Mizyurin was named third star in front of 1,745 fans in attendance.
Game 4 is Wednesday, April 12th, at 8:30pm AT at Centre Air Creebec.
Written by Tim Roszell