Bibeau perfect against Sea Dogs
© Mitch MacDonald
P.E.I. Rocket defenceman Alex Micallef, left, and Saint John Sea Dogs forward Stephen MacAulay race for the puck during the second period of Wednesday night's QMJHL game at the Charlottetown Civic Centre.
Antoine Bibeau recorded his first career shutout in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League and Louick Marcotte scored the game-winner as the P.E.I. Rocket blanked the Saint John Sea Dogs 4-0 Wednesday.
Marcotte chipped the puck passed defenceman Steven Duda in the neutral zone with two minutes to go in the second period. He collected the puck and buried it five-hole past goalie Sébastien Auger to break the stalemate.
“I saw the defenceman pinch on me, so I just chipped it a bit farther than him,” he said. “It was a big goal for the team and I think everybody bought in and we had a good third period.”
The Rocket scored two goals in the first 5:38 of the third and never looked back.
Captain Josh Currie scored his ninth of the season to make it 3-0 redirecting a nice pass from Ben Duffy on the doorstep.
“Duff is a great player,” Currie said. “He just took it wide and beat the defenceman and I was wide open and he made a terrific pass.”
The goal came 90 seconds after Victor Provencher had given the home side an insurance marker.
“It took the wind out of their sails a bit, which was huge,” Currie said.
Bibeau, 18, improved to 4-0 on the season with a 1.03 goals-against average.
The Rocket is now 6-2 on the season while the Sea Dogs, a powerhouse squad the past few seasons, fall to 4-4. P.E.I. has won three straight, while Saint John has lost three in a row.
Sea Dogs’ coach Mike Kelly was disappointed with the loss.
“I didn’t like our energy level to start the game,” he said. “With the team that we have now, we’re not like we were, we can’t score at will or turn it on in the last 10 minutes.”
Auger kept the Sea Dogs in it with several key saves.
“Our goaltender has been real good. It’s not on him,” Kelly said.
He said the team started the season with five strong games and must get back to playing that way.
“We have to get effort. We have to get compete. We don’t have it right now, (but) we’re going to get it.”
Currie has been playing on the first line with Duffy and Matej Beran since last week’s road trip in Quebec. They showed some good chemistry while also being sound defensively.
The trio had the task of going head-to-head against the Dogs’ top unit of Jonathan Huberdeau, Stephen MacAulay and Ryan Tesink. Currie said the key was keeping the puck out of Huberdeau’s hands. The Florida Panthers’ draft pick was widely expected to be in the NHL this year, but finds himself back in junior with the lockout.
“Whenever he gets the puck he can make things happen no matter where he is on the ice,” Currie said.
While the Rocket won the game, the result could have been different. The Rocket turned the puck over a few times in their own zone, giving the Sea Dogs some quality scoring chances. Each time Bibeau was up to the test.
“Turnovers are huge, especially against a team like that,” Currie said. “The wingers and forwards have to help out our D and give them an option, so we’re going to have to work on that this week in practice.”
P.E.I. Rocket – 4
Saint John Sea Dogs – 0
P.E.I. Rocket – Louic Marcotte, Victor Provencher, Josh Currie and Ben Duffy.
P.E.I. Rocket – Alexis Pépin, Victor Provencher, Ben Duffy and Matej Beran.
P.E.I. Rocket –Antoine Bibeau, 22 saves
Saint John Sea Dogs – Sébastien Auger, 29 saves on 33 shots
Attendance – 1,909
1. Antoine Bibeau
2. Alexis Pépin
3. Sébastien Auger
Up next: The Rocket hosts Acadie-Bathurst Friday and Rouyn-Noranda Saturday. Both games are 7 p.m. starts.