RIMOUSKI, Que. - The Saint John Sea Dogs are one win away from clinching a second straight Memorial Cup berth.
Danick Gauthier scored two goals to lead the Sea Dogs to a 6-4 win over the Rimouski Oceanic on Wednesday in Game 3 of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League President's Cup final.
Saint John has a 3-0 lead in the best-of-seven championship series, which continues Thursday night in Rimouski.
Stephen MacAulay, Stanislav Galiev and Tomas Jurco each had a goal and an assist for the Sea Dogs. Charles-Olivier Roussel also scored for Saint John, while Mathieu Corbeil stopped 23 of 27 shots.
Jerome Gauthier-Leduc, Alexandre Mallet, Petr Straka and Francis Beauvillier scored for the Oceanic. Alex Belzile and Jakub Culek had two assists apiece for Rimouski, while Jacob Gervais-Chouinard and Carl Hozjan faced 24 shots.
Rimouski's main shortcoming was a power play that went 1-for-7.
"Our penalty killing was the difference tonight," Sea Dogs head coach Gerard Gallant said. "It was a big test and we did a great job. We found a way to win without playing our best game, but we knew it was going to be tough tonight."
Roussel gave the Sea Dogs a 1-0 lead at 8:53 of the first period, finishing a three-on-one. Rimouski responded with Gauthier-Leduc???s power-play goal just over two minutes later and the contest remained 1-1 through 20 minutes.
Saint John took a 2-1 lead on MacAulay's goal at 17:30 of the second period and Gauthier made it 3-1 just 33 seconds later. Rimouski pulled within one when Mallet scored 18 seconds into the third period.
Galiev answered just 17 seconds later to give the Sea Dogs a 4-2 lead. Gauthier scored his second less than a minute later, grabbing a turnover at the Rimouski blue-line and beating Gervais-Chouinard through his pads.
"That was really big," Gallant said. "They were really jumping offensively tonight and they gave us some odd-man rushes, and if their goalie doesn't make a big save on those chances, we're going to score some goals."
Straka's goal at 11:03 pulled Rimouski within two. The Oceanic failed to score during a two-man advantage that lasted nearly two minutes, but made it close a couple of minutes later when Beauvillier scored at 16:05 to make it 5-4.
Galiev set up Jurco with 1:59 left to complete the scoring.
"The thing we've learned about these guys is that they're very resilient," MacAulay said. "Whenever we score, they come right back and they never give up. We just have to play harder after we score goals. We have to make sure we keep the momentum. If you give a team like that life, they???ll get you at some point."