May 19, 2012
SHAWINIGAN, Que. – The Saint John Sea Dogs opened their defence of the MasterCard Memorial Cup on a losing note, falling 5-3 to the London Knights Saturday in the first round-robin game for both teams.
Vladislav Namestikov had a pair of goals for the Ontario Hockey League champion Knights, with Seth Griffith and Austin Waston chipping in a goal and two assists each. Max Domi added a single and Michael Houser made 22 saves for the win.
Charles Roussel had a goal and an assist to lead the Sea Dogs, who qualified for the national major junior championship as winners of the Quebec Major Junior League President’s Cup. Jonathan Huberdeau and Ryan Tesink also scored and Mathieu Corbeil made 19 saves in the loss. It was the first game in nine days for the Sea Dogs, who swept the Rimouski Oceanic in four games in the President’s Cup final.
Saint John spent plenty of time in the penalty box but were able to get away with it, killing eight of nine London man advantages and scoring two short-handed goals of their own.
Roussel opened the scoring with the Dogs a man down 1:37 into the game, but the Knights charged back.
London equalized on Domi’s goal at 14:11 of the first period, and Namestikov added a goal of his own 1:24 later to give the Knights a one-goal lead heading into the first intermission.
Griffith extended the lead at 12:41of the second, as London appeared to be seizing all the momentum.
Then Saint John got a bit of a lucky break when Huberdeau’s long shot bounced through Houser with the Dogs down a man again. Charlie Coyle collected the assist on the goal, which came at 17:57 of the second.
The Dogs couldn’t equalize in the third period, however, as Watson restored the two-goal lead at 10:49 of the final frame.
Tesink’s tip-in brought Saint John back within one on the power play at 12:01, with Roussel and Nathan Beaulieu picking up the assists.
Ultimately the penalty parade caught up to the Dogs, when captain Huberdeau received a roughing penalty late in the game, compounded by a bench minor against head coach Gerard Gallant.
Namestikov sealed the deal on the ensuing 5-on-3, scoring at 19:07 for the final margin of victory.
The Sea Dogs have Sunday off as the Knights take on the host Shawinigan Cataractes. Saint John is back in action Monday at 8 p.m. Atlantic Time against the Western League champion Edmonton Oil Kings. All games will be televised on Sportsnet and Tim Roszell will have the call on News 88.9.