Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Luke Green signs with AHL's Moose

Former Saint John Sea Dogs defenceman Luke Green has signed an amateur tryout agreement with the American Hockey League's Manitoba Moose.

Green, a third-round pick of the Winnipeg Jets in the 2016 NHL Draft, will not be appearing in the QMJHL playoffs as his Sherbrooke Phoenix failed to qualify. Many junior players who have their seasons end early join the farm teams of their respective NHL clubs this time of year.

The Sea Dogs selected Green first overall in the 2014 QMJHL Entry Draft and played in two-and-a-half seasons with Saint John. He was traded to Sherbrooke during this season's holiday trading period.

Green's twin bother, Matt, remains with the Sea Dogs.

In 181 career QMJHL games, Green has 21 goals and 87 assists. He's added two goals and four assists in 18 playoff games.

The Moose are currently the fifth worst team in the AHL, which may be a good thing for Green in terms of playing time.

Manitoba also announced today that they've signed UNB Varsity Reds forward and former QMJHLer Francis Beauvillier to an ATO.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Tuesday Notes: Will 2017 be 2011 all over again?

Could New Brunswick sports history repeat itself in 2017?

The UNB Varsity Reds won a national championship on home ice on Sunday. It was just the second time the Varsity Reds had won the University Cup at the Aitken Centre and the first since 2011.

As Saint John Sea Dogs fans will remember, 2011 was a special year down the highway as well, with the Dogs becoming the first team from Atlantic Canada to win the Memorial Cup.

Like 2011, the Sea Dogs will enter the playoffs as one of the top teams in the Canadian Hockey League and the No. 1 seed in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League. And like 2011, the Memorial Cup will be played in southern Ontario.

Will the V-Reds and Sea Dogs both win national championships in 2017? It's a possibility.

Saint John's 2016-17 playoff run begins at Harbour Station on Friday night against the Rimouski Oceanic.

Some notes..
  • This year's Memorial Cup hosts, the Windsor Spitfires, are in tough to make it out of the first round of the OHL playoffs. Playing in a ridiculously stacked Western Conference, the Spits are forced to play the London Knights in the opening round.
  • The Erie Otters became the first team in CHL history to record four straight 50-win seasons. The Sea Dogs were one of the few teams to be tied for the previous record with three.
  • Sea Dogs goaltender Callum Booth has been named the QMJHL's second star for the month of March. According to the league's release, "in five games where he was credited with the win in all of them, the Carolina Hurricanes prospect maintained a 1.20 goals against average and 0.946 save percentage, as well as obtaining one shutout."
  • In The Hockey News' Future Watch, Thomas Chabot was named one of hockey's top prospects.

Highmore named Sea Dogs' MVP

Matthew Highmore has been named the Saint John Sea Dogs' most valuable player for the 2016-17 season.

Highmore won the honour at the team's annual awards banquet, which was held on Monday night at the Delta Brunswick.

Here is the full list of award winners:

Bell Aliant Most Valuable Player - Matthew Highmore
Pepsi Top Scorer - Matthew Highmore
Sun Life Global Investments Top Defenceman - Thomas Chabot
Children’s Wish Foundation Fans Choice Award - Thomas Chabot
Tim Hortons Most Improved Player - Bokondji Imama
Irving Oil Team Player Award - Cole Reginato
Scotiabank Community Service Award - Spencer Smallman
Alpine Three Stars Award - Mathieu Joseph
Saint John Airport Academic Player of the Year - Callum Booth
Grant Thornton Rookie of the Year - Alex D'Orio

The Sea Dogs begin first round playoff action against the Rimouski Oceanic on Friday night at Harbour Station.

Sunday, March 19, 2017

UNB repeats as national champions

FREDERICTON - The UNB Varsity Reds are national champions once again.

The V-Reds repeated at U Sports men's hockey champions with a 5-3 victory over the Saskatchewan Huskies this afternoon in the University Cup final.

The Varsity Reds feature four former Saint John Sea Dogs: Mike Thomas, Stephen Anderson, Oliver Cooper and Matt Murphy.

Murphy and Anderson were both in the UNB lineup this afternoon. Thomas took the warm up but was the final scratch. Cooper was scratched as well.

Thomas red-shirted with the Varsity Reds in 2013 when they won the University Cup and was with the team last season when they won nationals in Halifax. Anderson was also with the Reds last season while Murphy and Cooper are both in their first year at UNB.
It's the seventh U Sports title for the Varsity Reds but the first time they have gone back-to-back.

In the bronze medal game, played this morning at 9:30 a.m. (seriously), the StFX X-Men fell 7-3 to their AUS rivals, the Acadia Axemen. The X-Men feature former Dogs forwards Mark Tremaine and Marcus Cuomo.

Sea Dogs alumni play for gold today

FREDERICTON - Several former Saint John Sea Dogs have a shot at U Sports gold today.

The UNB Varsity Reds, who have a roster featuring Mike Thomas, Stephen Anderson, Oliver Cooper and Matt Murphy, will take on the University of Saskatchewan Huskies at 1 p.m. in the University Cup final in Fredericton.

The game can be watched live on Sportsnet 360.

The Varsity Reds, ranked No. 1 in U Sports, defeated the Queen's Gaels 5-1 in the quarterfinals and the Acadia Axemen 3-0 in the semifinals. Anderson had a goal in Saturday's semifinal.

Anderson and Murphy will be in the UNB lineup for sure this afternoon. Cooper is unlikely while Thomas is also questionable - especially after receiving a five-minute major and game misconduct for charging yesterday. Thomas has been in-and-out of the UNB lineup this season.

Today's game should be a challenge for UNB. Saskatchewan has been one of the best teams in Canada all season and have yet to allow a goal in this tournament, defeating the York Lions 1-0 and the StFX X-Men 8-0.

The Varsity Reds will be looking for their seventh national championship in program history but have never won titles back-to-back. They can accomplish that feat this year, having won it all in 2016.

This morning's bronze medal game featured the X-Men and Axemen. StFX features former Dogs Mark Tremaine and Marcus Cuomo.

Sea Dogs to play Oceanic in first round

The Saint John Sea Dogs will face the Rimouski Oceanic in the opening round of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League playoffs.

The Oceanic were slotted into the 16th and final playoff spot yesterday, meaning they will have the pleasure of facing the top-seeded Sea Dogs in the first round.

The league released its full schedule last night. As expected, this will be a 2-2-1-1-1 scheduling format with Saint John hosting the first two games along with games five and seven, if needed.
Single game tickets go on sale tomorrow morning at the usual outlets.

Rimouski finished the regular season with a record of 26-35-6-1 for 59 points. Saint John finished with a 48-14-5-1 record for 102 points.

The Sea Dogs won both of the regular season meetings between the two. Saint John defeated Rimouski 5-1 on the road in November and then blew out the Oceanic, 9-3, in March at Harbour Station.

Some former teammates will go head-to-head in this series. The Sea Dogs feature former Oceanic captain Simon Bourque while Rimouski has former Saint John forward Nico Blachman and defenceman Vincent Martineau.