Using our playoff mad libs aggregator, the big take-home from Saint John's 6-4 win on Tuesday is that the Sea Dogs' best players were their best players.
Mike Hoffman, Nicholas Petersen and Michael Kirkpatrick combined for nine points to help the Sea Dogs cut the Moncton Wildcats' lead in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League final to 2-1. Hoffman and Petersen were shut out in the first two games.
Kirkpatrick sandwiched his two goals around a Hoffman tally in the second period, when the Sea Dogs surged out to a four-goal lead and, irony of ironies, ensured Wildcats 'tender Nicola Riopel would not finish a third consecutive game. (Saint John coach Gerald Gallant, you would recall, was irked after Riopel was taken out in the final minutes of Moncton's blowout wins in the first two games to avoid injury, although it might have been simply a way to fire up the troops.)
One can only wonder if it might work to Moncton's benefit that Riopel was a spectator for the final 28 or so minutes of the game. Moncton Coliseum is expected to have sauna-like conditions for Game 4 on Friday, despite staff's best efforts to keep the building cool. A short night could help the goalie with his rest and recovery for Friday.
Either way, it is now a series.
Neate Sager is a writer for Yahoo! Sports Canada. You may contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.