January 12, 2012
SAINT JOHN – The Memorial Cup host Shawinigan Cataractes came out on top with a 4-1 win over the Memorial Cup champion Saint John Sea Dogs as the teams battled for the second time in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League regular season Thursday.
A crowd of 4,065 watched free agent acquisition Charlie Coyle make an immediate impact by scoring his first QMJHL goal, but that was all the offence the Sea Dogs could muster as they fell to to 31-13-0-2. The return of Jonathan Huberdeau continued to pay dividends as the world junior star finished with an assist to extend his points streak to 10 games. Mathieu Corbeil made 22 saves in the loss.
Peter Sakaris had two goals, and Michael Chaput and Michael Bournival also tallied for the Cataractes. Gabriel Girard stopped 29 shots for the win as Shawinigan climbed to 30-10-2-2 and evened the season series at a game apiece.
Click HERE to view a complete scoresheet from Wednesday’s game. For interviews and highlights, visit Sea Dogs TV, the team’s official YouTube channel.
The game started out even, with lots of chances at both ends of the ice. Rapid back and forth play kept the first whistle to just over six minutes in, but it was the vastly remade Cataractes that drew first blood. At 7:40, Chaput opened the scoring on a deke to the backhand.
The Sea Dogs were denied a beautiful chance on the power play when Coyle spotted an open Beaulieu, who found Huberdeau sneaking out front on the right side of the net, but Girard stood tall. At 10:33, Coyle potted his first as a Sea Dog. Huberdeau fed the puck out front and Coyle made no mistake slipping it underneath Girard to tie it up. Zack Phillips picked up the other assist on his fellow Minnesota Wild prospect’s goal.
The second frame brought chances and some physical hockey, with both teams getting into it. At 6:54, already with two men in each box, Shawinigan sent a man to the box, giving Saint John another power play opportunity. The Dogs did an excellent job of keeping the puck in the zone, but failed to convert.
Despite Girard’s excellent play, Corbeil may have had the save of the game at 12:18 of the second period with a wicked glove on a shot from Jonathan Racine. Shawinigan managed to break the deadlock in the final minutes of the second period. Sakaris slid it past Corbeil at 18:50 to make it 2-1 Cataractes.
The Cataractes extended their lead to 3-1 just 26 seconds into the final frame on a marker by Sakaris. Moments later, Corbeil faced another chance, this time at the hands of Kirill Kabanov, but stoned the Russian forward with a quick glove. Spencer MacDonald also took a turn as goaltender and foiled an open net chance for Shawinigan just past the five-minute mark.
The Sea Dogs gained yet another power play advantage at 13:33, after Tomas Jurco was upended in the Shawinigan zone. Jurco had an excellent chance at the side of the net on a beautiful feed from Gagne at the point but Girard kept the door shut. The Cataractes sealed the win at 16:48 with a goal from one of the Shawinigan world junior participants, Bournival.
After a questionable hit on MacDonald in the corner in the final minutes of play, affiliate player Dylan McGuigan stepped up to drop the gloves with Jonathan Narbonne, with McGuigan the clear winner by way of a thunderous right hand.
Saint John’s next game is at home against the Drummondville Voltigeurs Saturday at the usual start time of 7 p.m. Tickets are available at the Harbour Station box office, by calling 506-657-1234 or online at www.tickets.harbourstation.ca.