VITO’S ERASE EARLY DEFICIT, BEAT DARTMOUTH IN ALL-ATLANTIC MATCH-UP
QUISPAMSIS, N.B. – Liam Frigault and Alex Lafreniere scored two of Saint John’s five straight goals, and both added an assist, helping the host Vito’s to a 5-2 win over the Dartmouth Major Midgets to finish off the opening day Monday at the 2016 TELUS Cup.
The game marked the third time the teams had met in less than two weeks; they split their meetings at the Atlantic Regional, with Dartmouth earning a shootout win in the preliminary round, before Saint John got its revenge with an overtime victory in the championship game.
Sam McGaw, Matt Palmer and Will Drummond had the other goals for the Vito’s, who became the seventh host team in the last 10 years to open Canada’s National Midget Championship with a win.
Jake Stewart made 27 saves to record the victory in the Saint John goal, while Aidan Hosein suffered a 21-save loss.
Playing in front of a sold-out, raucous, pro-Vito’s crowd at the qplex, Dartmouth took the first lead at 9:08 when Dylan Burton gathered in a down-low pass from Kyle Sexton and beat Stewart just inside the post.
But it would be all Saint John on the scoreboard after that, starting with Sam McGaw’s game-tying goal just 4:17 into second period – his wrist shot from the point beat a screened Hosein – and a slap shot from Matt Palmer at 16:04 that sent the Vito’s to the second intermission with the lead.
With just 1:08 off the third period clock Saint John struck on the power play; Anderson MacDonald made a perfect cross-ice pass to Frigault, who beat Hosein for the 3-1 goal.
Drummond banked a shot off a Dartmouth defenceman at 9:34, and Lafreniere put the finishing touches on Saint John’s offensive performance just 70 seconds after that for a 5-1 lead.
Jordan McKenna cut into the Vito’s lead with 1:01 left, but it was too little, too late for the Atlantic reps.
Stewart stood tall for Saint John; Dartmouth outshot the Vito’s 29-26, including 23-17 over the final 40 minutes.
Saint John will carry its momentum into a Tuesday night game against the Lloydminster Bobcats (7:30 p.m. AT), while Dartmouth will try to bounce back when it meets the Central Region champion North York Rangers (4 p.m. AT).