Imama hat trick powers Sea Dogs past Armada

Saint John, Sea Dogs

SAINT JOHN – Bokondji Imama netted a hat trick to help the Saint John Sea Dogs take sole possession of first place in the QMJHL with a 4-1 victory over the Blainville-Boisbriand Armada, Sunday at Harbour Station.

Matthew Highmore added a goal and an assist for Saint John (21-7-3-1) while Spencer Smallman picked up three assists in the team’s annual Teddy Bear Toss game.

Remy Anglehart had the only goal for Blainville-Boisbriand (20-8-3-1), which lost its second straight game.

The Sea Dogs have moved two points ahead of the Armada for first overall in the QMJHL standings.

Saint John got the only goal of the opening period, a power play marker halfway through the frame.

Imama took a pass inside the left circle and rifled a heavy wrist shot over the glove of goalie Samuel Montembeault. The goal saw teddy bears and stuffed animals rain down on the Harbour Station ice.

The Armada were held without a shot on goal in the first period. It was the first time since 2011 the Sea Dogs were able to keep an opponent off the shot clock for an entire period.

Imama’s second goal of the game came on another power play early in the second period.

Highmore sent a slap-pass from the right circle into the low slot where Imama was lurking. The Tampa Bay Lightning prospect redirected the feed past Montembeault’s blocker.

Blainville-Boisbriand’s only offensive highlight came nearly nine minutes into the second when Anglehart drove the net on the left wing side, took a pass near the crease and deked to the backhand on goalie Alex D’Orio, cutting Saint John’s lead to 2-1.

But Imama completed his second hat trick of the season with eight minutes to go in the period, as the teams skated 4-on-4.

Samuel Dove-McFalls took a shot from the right corner that Montembeault juggled. Imama batted the knee-high rebound out of the air and into the goal to restore the Sea Dogs’ two-goal lead.

Highmore rounded out the scoring with shorthanded goal six minutes into the third.

The fifth-year centre brought the puck into the Armada zone, used the lone defenceman as a screen and ripped a wrist shot past Montembeault’s glove to make it 4-1.

Highmore’s two points give 204 in his career, moving him into a tie for fifth place on Saint John’s all-time scoring list with Chris DiDomenico.

The Sea Dogs allowed only 13 shots, which established a new team record for fewest shots allowed in a regular season game.

D’Orio earned the win with 12 stops. Montembeault took the loss with 36 saves.

Imama’s hat trick made him first star while Smallman’s three assists prompted a second-star selection. Jakub Zboril snared third star with one assist in front of 3,383 fans in attendance.

The Sea Dogs’ next game is Friday, December 16th, at 7 p.m. against the Halifax Mooseheads at Harbour Station. Tickets are available at the Harbour Station Box Office, or fans can save money and buy online.

Listen LIVE on 96.1 New Song FM or Watch LIVE on Neulion.

Holiday Flex Packs are also on sale now at the Harbour Station Box Office.

REID RECALLED: Prior to the game, the Sea Dogs recalled forward Ben Reid from the St. Stephen County Aces of the Maritime Hockey League (MHL).

The 17-year-old Quispamsis-native has eight goals and 12 points in 21 games in his first season with the Aces.

Reid was selected by Saint John in the seventh round (119th overall) of the 2015 QMJHL Entry Draft. He played four games with the Sea Dogs last season and made his season debut with Saint John today.

Written by Tim Roszell

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