By Scott Briggs
The Telegraph Journal
The Saint John Sea Dogs took some ill-timed penalties that led to a 6-3 loss to the P.E.I. Rocket before 3,111 fans Thursday night at Harbour Station.
Winners of four straight, the Rocket remain third in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League’s Maritimes Division. Saint John, losers of seven straight, are fifth in the six-team division.
Ben Duffy tallied a goal and four assists for the Rocket (29-20-2-0), who led 2-0 after the first period and 5-1 through 40 minutes. Jimmy Oligny and Tomas Pavelka each had a goal and a helper for P.E.I., while Erik Robichaud, Victor Provencher and Josh Currie also scored goals. Currie also notched two assists for P.E.I. and Maxime Lagace made 31 saves.
Pierre Durepos, Noah Zilbert and Mackenzie Brown scored for the Sea Dogs (19-31-1-0), while Maxime Villemaire tallied two assists. Sebastien Auger stopped 37 shots.
“We were able to execute on the power play and I thought our penalty-killing was sharp as well,’’ Rocket head coach Gordie Dwyer said. “There are expectations placed on certain guys and that’s their role (to produce).
“We have some depth this year and we’ve played well lately. This time of year you’re trying to fine tune things. There are still a lot of lessons to be learned.’’
Sea Dogs defenceman Ian Saab was called for holding at 6:50 of the first period and Durepos took two for slashing at 8:14. The Rocket didn’t waste the ensuing two-man advantage as Oligny unleashed a wicked one-timer that beat Auger at 8:38.
Saint John’s next penalty, this time to Zilbert for slashing, paved the way to Pavelka’s power-play tally at 11:54. The 19-year-old Czech had the puck on the right side and blasted a slapshot that beat Auger on the far side for a 2-0 lead.
“We fell behind the eight-ball early with penalties,’’ Sea Dogs assistant coach Ross Yates said. “That took a lot of our momentum away.’’
Shortly after a P.E.I. penalty had expired, Duffy set up Robichaud 90 seconds into the second period for a three-goal lead. The Rocket went up 4-0 when Provencher scored on a breakaway, beating Auger with a top-shelf backhander.
Saint John capitalized on a two-man advantage with Durepos’ goal, a point shot that beat Lagace at 5:50 of the middle session. Just when the Sea Dogs appeared to be back in the game, Zilbert was called for holding shortly after the 10-minute marker.
About two seconds after Zilbert had stepped out of the box, Duffy scored an even-strength goal that was essentially another power-play marker, giving the Rocket a 5-1 lead.
Villemaire set up Zilbert to pull Saint John within three at 8:17 of the third. Brown tipped in Saab’s point shot with 7:48 left for his first goal.
But Saab was called for hooking 21 seconds later and teammate Steven Duda was whistled for the same infraction at 15:22, essentially ending hopes of a comeback.
“The guys worked hard until the end,’’ Yates said. “We put a little scare into them.’’
We were able to execute on the power play and I thought our penalty-killing was sharp as well - Gordie Dwyer, P.E.I. Rocket head coach
Ben Dufffy had a goal and four assists as the P.E.I. Rocket downed the Saint John Sea Dogs 6-3 Thursday in Quebec Major Junior Hockey League action.
The five-point night catapulted him into the league’s scoring lead by one point over linemate Josh Currie, who had a goal and two helpers.
Defencemen Jimmy Oligny and Tomas Pavelka each chipped in with a goal and an assist for the Rocket. Victor Provencher, Erik Robichaud also scored while Matej Beran and Ryan Graves had helpers.
Maxime Lagace stopped 31 shots in the victory while Sebastien Auger made 37 saves for Saint John.
Noah Zilbert, Mackenzie Brown and Pierre Durepos scored for the host Sea Dogs.
Morell’s Stephen Anderson had an assist.
The Rocket led 2-0 after the first period and 5-1 after two.
P.E.I. improves to 29-20-2 while Saint John falls to 19-31-1.
The Rocket hosts the Rimouski Oceanic (35-11-1-5) tonight at 7 p.m. The Oceanic are second in the league’s standings and sixth in the country.
The Rocket skills competition is set for Saturday from 2 to 4 p.m. and the Moncton Wildcats (33-17-1) come to town Sunday for a 4 p.m. gmame.