Bronson Beaton's third period goal was the winner as the Acadie-Bathurst Titan edged the Moncton Wildcats 4-3 in exhibition QMJHL action in Amherst on Saturday.
AMHERST – Bronson Beaton made the most of his homecoming on Saturday scoring the winning goal with his new team as the Acadie Bathurst Titan defeated the Moncton Wildcats 4-3 in exhibition QMJHL action on Saturday at the Amherst Stadium.
Beaton’s backhander beat Wildcat’s goalie Jason Rioux under the crossbar 1:27 into the third period and Titan goalie Jacob Brennan withstood a furious late rally by Moncton preserve the win.
“It was a sloppy game early and I thought their goalie played outstanding,” Wildcats’ head coach Darren Rumble said following the game. “Early on we had two chances that would’ve made it 2-0, but they got one and we sort of lost our way a bit. We stuck with it pretty good and kept plugging. I thought we took over the game and their goalie played outstanding.”
Beaton’s goal gave Acadie-Bathurst a 4-2 lead, but Connor Garland beat Brennan on a penalty shot 3:51 into the period to pull Moncton back to within a goal. Brennan made several big saves in the game’s closing moments, including one from pointblank range with less than a minute to go.
After the Wildcats came close to opening the scoring early in the first period, Nicholas Dumulong gave Acadie-Bathurst a lead it would never relinquish 15:40 into the first, scoring on the power play.
Nathan Medeiros widened the gap to 2-0 at 4:12 of the second period before Stephen Johnson scored a shorthanded marker at 5:06 to pull the Wildcats to within one.
Andrew Ryan on the power play for Acadie-Bathurst and Christophe Lalonde, also on the power play, traded goals before the end of the second period.
Rumble said it was the many of the veterans’ first game together in the exhibition season. He said both teams worked hard, but his players just could solve Brennan.
With roughly two weeks to go before opening night, Rumble said things are going good.
“We’ve had a good game with lots of players with great hockey sense. Our chemistry is our greatest asset. We have a lot of character players and that’s going to have a lot to do with our success,” he said.
The Wildcats’ coach is expecting bigger things from his hockey club this season after a better than expected 2013-14 campaign. Most of this club is back, but he said the division is also going to be a lot tighter with much improved teams in Acadie-Bathurst, Charlottetown and Cape Breton, while he expects Halifax will again be pretty strong.
“We had a good year last year and surprised a lot of people. Do I expect more this year? Yes, we had 31 or 32 wins last season so I would expect 40 wins or more this year. That being said our whole division is better.”
Attendance was 750 for the game.
The Wildcats are in action Sunday in Charlottetown against the Islanders. Their last pre-season exhibition game is in Bouctouche, N.B. against the Titan.
The home opener is Sept. 12 against the Cape Breton Screaming Eagles.