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The fifth home opener in Saint John Sea Dogs was staged at Harbour Station on Saturday night, with nearly five thousand fans being treated to an electrifying exhibition of first-rate hockey as the Port City's major junior squad captured a thrilling overtime victory at the expense of the visiting Cape Breton Screaming Eagles.

After sixty minutes of intense, back-and-forth action produced a 4-4 deadlock, extra time was required to determine a victor on the evening. With only three seconds remaining in the overtime period, overage forward Alex Leduc fired home the game-winner from beside the Screaming Eagles' net, sending the raucous crowd into an unabashed frenzy as the Sea Dogs instantly improved to 3-0 on the season with the thrilling victory.

Olivier Ouellet, Danick Gauthier, Stanislav Galiev, and Michael Kirkpatrick all scored for Saint John during regulation play, while Nick MacNeil, Michael Stinziani, Viktor Hertzberg, and Luke Adam each tallied markers for Cape Breton.

Between the pipes, Karel St-Laurent (43 saves) outdueled Olivier Roy (28 saves) on the night to pick up his second win of the year for Saint John, earning Third Star of the Game honours in the process. Stanislav Galiev, making his home debut for the Sea Dogs, was named the game's First Star, while Screaming Eagles forward Luke Adam took home silver in a losing effort.

Following an entertaining pre-game ceremony in which Fleaburn, formerly of the Saint John Flames, was introduced as the Sea Dogs' new mascot and several ex-players appeared at centre ice as part of the team's fifth anniversary celebration, the two QMJHL Atlantic squads got down to the business hand and engaged in a gritty, combative opening twenty minutes of play.

Neither team was able to draw first blood in period number one, with the hosts killing off a pair of penalties while coming up empty on their lone power play chance of the frame. The biggest stop of the first came courtesy of Karel St-Laurent, who was convicted of highway robbery after making a sensation glove save on overage centre Nick MacNeil from point-blank range.

MacNeil redeemed himself in the opening minute of the second period, beating St-Laurent on a crisp snap shot during a Cape Breton power play to put the visitors up 1-0. Danick Gauthier replied for the Sea Dogs a moment later, banging home a rebound to record the first goal of his season and tie the match up at one apiece.

A streaking Michael Kirkpatrick then gave Saint John their first lead of the evening, ripping a well-placed shot over Roy's shoulder put the hosts up 2-1 in the twenty-fifth minute of play.

Saint John went up by two at the 11:10 mark of the middle frame when import winger Stanislav Galiev set up a crease-hovering Olivier Ouellet with a picture-perfect cross-ice pass during a Sea Dogs power play. The 19-year old offensive specialist made no mistake on the prime scoring chance, burying his third goal of the season past a sprawling Roy.

The Screaming Eagles then produced a pair of late-period markers on offensive strikes off the sticks of Michael Stinziani and Viktor Hertzberg to send Saturday's showdown into the second intermission with the score tied 3-3.

After Luke Adam scored midway through regulation's final frame to put the visitors on top 4-3, a rocket of a one-timer off the stick of Stanislav Galiev (who was set up nicely by Danick Gauthier from behind Cape Breton's net) tied the game back up. Neither team managed to break the deadlock during the final nine minutes of the third, necessitating overtime on the already-memorable evening.

The opening four minutes of the extra frame saw both teams register solid scoring chances, with Roy and St-Laurent both coming up huge on numerous occasions. In the dying seconds of overtime, Alex Leduc beat Roy high from down low, making his second goal of 2009-10 of the game-winning variety.

Up next for the Sea Dogs is a Sunday afternoon tilt with the Halifax Mooseheads. The puck drops at 4pm as Saint John looks to improve to 4-0 with another home victory. Tickets to this match are available by calling the Harbour Station Box Office at (506) 657-1234.
 
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