D’Orio stops 55 shots, as the Isles fall to Saint John in overtime
The Islanders rolled into Saint John coming off a 6-1 win over the Cape Breton Screaming Eagles at the EastLink Centre on Friday, and they looked to keep the good times coming on Saturday.
The Isles went with Dakota Lund-Cornish between the pipes, giving starter Matt Welsh a night off after he had started the previous 8 games. At the other end of the ice, Alex D’Orio got the start for Saint John.
The teams began the first period a little sluggish, but that changed as the period neared its end.
With just under two minutes to go in the opening period, Islanders forward Cayse Ton got his stick on a loose puck, knocking it past an outstretched D’Orio to open the game’s scoring.
The Isles were poised to enter the first intermission with the lead, but after a Gregor MacLeod tripping penalty, the Saint John power play took the ice.
It didn’t take long for the power play unit to capitalize, as just 44 seconds into the man-advantage defensemen Brendan O’Reilly picked up the loose puck in the high slot before firing a shot just under the crossbar, beating Lund-Cornish.
The Sea Dogs offence was not done there, as minutes later, at the 12:16 mark of the second period, forward Cole Reginato was on the receiving end of a cross-crease pass from Daniel Hardie, and one-timed a shot into the open net behind Lund-Cornish.
After 40 minutes of action the Sea Dogs held a 2-1, but were being outshot 31 to 19 by the Islanders.
Even with the shot disadvantage, Saint John would go on to add to their goal totals early in the third period on a redirect from defencemen Nathan Larose.
With just over four minutes remaining in the third period, Islanders Head Coach Jim Hulton pulled Lund-Cornish in favour of an extra attacker, and with the extra skater on the ice the Isles turned up the pressure on the Sea Dogs. Seconds after Lund-Cornish emptied the Islanders net the puck found its way onto the stick of Nikita Alexandrov who fired a shot through traffic, beating D’Orio over the shoulder to cut into the lead.
The Isles kept up the pressure in the closing minutes and with 14 seconds remaining in the game, captain P.O. Joseph fired his team’s 55th shot of the game at D’Orio, beating him over the glove to tie the game.
With the score tied in the closing moments the game rolled into overtime.
The teams exchanged chances in overtime with both goaltenders stepping up to make several game saving stops for their teams.
At 3:48 mark of overtime, Sea Dogs forward Daniel Hardie received a pass from P.E.I. native Bailey Webster before bursting down the ice for a scoring chance on Lund-Cornish. Hardie snapped a shot that beat the Islanders goalie just over the glove to win the game for the Sea Dogs.
For the Sea Dogs, it was their 10th win of the season and gives them momentum to build off of following the Holiday break. For the Islanders it was only their sixth loss in the team’s last 24 games, and also provides a foundation to build off of as the team enters the Holiday break and QMJHL Trading Period.