Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Sea Dogs' offence comes back to life

After going quiet for a few games, the Saint John Sea Dogs' big offensive guns returned to firing this past weekend.

Saint John's leading goal scorer, Bokondji Imama, had been held pointless for five straight games between Feb. 4 and Feb. 14. Imama returned to doing what he has done best this season, scoring twice and adding an assist in Saint John's trio of road games this past weekend.

Julien Gauthier scored twice in Friday's game. Before that contest, Gauthier hadn't scored in four straight games and had just one goal in his past 10. Unfortunatly for the Sea Dogs, Gauthier didn't play on Saturday or Sunday due to an injury. Fortunately for the Sea Dogs, it's not believed to be serious.

Nathan Noel, who was held pointless in five straight games between Feb. 3 and Feb. 11, has now registered two goals and two assists in his past three games.

Mathieu Joseph ended a rare four-game goalless drought on Friday. He has a goal and two assists in the four games since his point streak came to an end.

Some other notable offensive numbers from this weekend's road trip:

  • Spencer Smallman had five assists - including a three-assist game on Friday.
  • Joe Veleno continued his very underrated season, recording two goals and two assists.
  • Thomas Chabot, named the QMJHL's second star of the week, had a goal and five assists.
  • With a goal and two assists this weekend, Simon Bourque now has six goals and 19 points in 20 games with Saint John.

Monday, February 20, 2017

RECAP: Sea Dogs win 4-1

FINAL: Saint John 4, Baie-Comeau 1
Kevin Chambers | SN Staff

BAIE-COMEAU, Que. – The Saint John Sea Dogs completed the sweep of their Quebec road trip on Sunday, picking up a 4-1 win over the Baie-Comeau Drakkar

The win gives the Sea Dogs three wins in as many days and extends their winning streak to four games.

Goal scorers for the Sea Dogs on Sunday were Thomas Chabot, Nathan Noel, Joe Veleno and Simon Bourque. Alex D’Orio was very good for the Dogs, stopping 23 of 24 shots.

Replying for the Drakkar was Gabriel Fortier while Antoine Samuel was solid in net, making 32 saves.

To the notes…

  • The Sea Dogs picked up the lone goal of the first period at 19:41. After making a beautiful toe drag around a Drakkar defender, Chabot fired a wrist shot past Samuel to give the Dogs a 1-0 lead after one period.
  • The second period didn’t wait as long for a goal as the Sea Dogs would strike just 1:15 in. Noel was able to find an opening from a bad angle to make it 2-0 Dogs.
  • Veleno extended Saint John's lead to 3-0 at 5:29 of the middle frame, hammering home a one time shot past Samuel after some furious pressure by the Dogs.
  • The Drakkar got one goal on a major power play chance when Fortier beat out the hybrid icing call and tapped the bounce off the boards by a somewhat surprised D’Orio.
  • Bourque would lock it down at 17:26 of the third when he took a slap shot from his own goal line, catching Samuel on his way to the bench.
  • In the second period, Spencer Smallman went crashing into a goal post and did not return.
  • There was a scary moment late in the second period when Kyle Ward delivered a hit to Christopher Benoit. The Drakkar forward had to be taken out on a stretcher. Ward was given a five-minute major for interference and the play will no doubt be reviewed by the league for a possible suspension.
  • Every player that recorded points for the Sea Dogs earned two points - except Chabot who had three.
  • Chabot now has 142 career points, 10 shy of the Sea Dogs franchise defencemen scoring record held by Nathan Beaulieu.
  • According to his son on Twitter, Sea Dofs head coach Danny Flynn picked up his 300th career QMJHL win in this game.
  • The Drakkar held a short ceremony prior to the game, recognizing Bokondji Imama for his time as a member of the Drakkar.

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Game Day 56: at Baie-Comeau

The Saint John Sea Dogs (38-13-3-1, 1st Maritimes, 1st QMJHL) complete their three-game road trip today with a 5 p.m. contest against the Drakkar (19-27-5-4, 6th East, 16th QMJHL) in Baie-Comeau.

TV/Radio/Webcast: None/96.1 NewSong FM/QMJHL Live

Last games: The Sea Dogs are coming off a 4-2 win in Chicoutimi last night. Matthew Highmore scored twice while singles came from Bokondji Imama and Joe Veleno. Callum Booth made 17 saves. The Drakkar are coming off a 2-1 shootout loss on home ice to the Sagueneens on Friday. Antoine Girard scored Baie-Comeau's lone regulation time goal. Justin Blanchette made 24 stops in the loss.

2016-17 head-to-head: The Sea Dogs are 1-0-0-0 against the Drakkar this season while Baie-Comeau is 0-1-0-0 against Saint John.

Last meeting: Jan. 21 at Harbour Station where the Sea Dogs edged the Drakkar 5-3. Bokondji Imama scored twice for Saint John while singles came from David Comeau, Simon Bourque and Mathieu Joseph. The Drakkar had goals from Simon Chevrier, Jordan Martel and Xavier Bouchard. Alex D'Orio made 18 saves in the win. Antoine Samuel made 30 saves in the loss.

Ex-Sea Dogs on the Drakkar: None.

Random stat: Saint John enters tonight's contest on a nine-game road winning streak - the longest such streak in the QMJHL this season.

Saturday, February 18, 2017

RECAP: Sea Dogs win 4-2

FINAL: Saint John 4, Chicoutimi 2
Kevin Chambers | SN Staff

CHICOUTIMI, Que. – The Saint John Sea Dogs improved to 2-0 on their Quebec road trip with a 4-2 victory over the Chicoutimi Sagueneens on Saturday.

Picking up goals for the Sea Dogs were Matthew Highmore (two), Bokondji Imama and Joe Veleno. Callum Booth picked up the win, stopping 17 shots.

Answering for the Sags were Vincent Tremblay-Lapalme and Nicolas Roy. Julio Billia settled in after a tough first period, managing to make 17 saves.

To the notes…

  • The Sea Dogs opened the scoring just 1:25 into the game when Imama fired a wrist shot past Billia to make it 1-0.
  • The Sagueneens would reply a short time after at 2:55 when Tremblay-Lapalme threw a shot on net that found it’s way past Booth, evening things at a goal a piece.
  • Veleno would regain the lead for the Sea Dogs at 13:33 when he tipped a Bailey Webster point shot past Billia to make it 2-1 Dogs.
  • Saint John extended their lead to 3-1 when Highmore banged a loose puck past Billia at 19:36, sending the Dogs to the first intermission with a two-goal cushion.
  • There were no goals in the second period - although Booth did make a huge save off a penalty shot attempt by Tremblay-Lapalme, flashing some leather on the stop.
  • Roy got the Sags back within a goal at 17:23 after he picked the pocket of Veleno and fired a shot past Booth, making it 3-2.
  • Highmore would seal the deal for the Sea Dogs at 19:38. After taking a feed from Samuel Dove-McFalls he tapped the puck into the yawning empty cage to secure the 4-2 victory.
  • Highmore is now in sole possession of fifth overall in Sea Dogs franchise goal scoring with 86. 
  • The Sags pulled Billia during a power play chance with about seven minutes to play, only to return him to the team’s net on the next line change - on the fly.
  • The final shots on goal in the game were just 20-19 in favour of Saint John. Both teams had more shots in the third period then their first two periods combined.
  • Both teams scored on their first shots of the game.
  • Irate over a non call on Thomas Chabot, Sagueneens head coach Yanick Jean stood on the dasher board to yell at the officials.
  • A couple key players missing for the Sags in this game as German Rubtsov (injured) and Joey Ratelle (suspension) missed this contest.
  • Nathan Noel returned after serving a one-game suspension but Cole Reginato missed this one as the result of an automatic suspension for a staged fight in last night’s contest.

Game Day 55: at Chicoutimi

The Saint John Sea Dogs (37-13-3-1, 1st Maritimes, 1st QMJHL) continue their Quebec road trip tonight in Chicoutimi. Game time against the Sagueneens (32-20-2-2, 2nd East, 6th QMJHL) is 5 p.m.

TV/Radio/Webcast: None/96.1 NewSong FM/QMJHL Live

Last games: The Sea Dogs are coming off a 7-3 win in Victoriaville last night. Julien Gauthier scored two goals while singles came from Chase Stewart, Matthew Highmore, Mathieu Joseph, Bokondji Imama and Oliver Felixson. Callum Booth made 21 saves in the win. The Sagueneens are coming off a 2-1 shootout win in Baie-Comeau last night. Antoine Marcoux scored Chicoutimi's lone regulation time goal. Xavier Potvin made 24 saves in the win.

2016-17 head-to-head: The Sea Dogs are 1-0-0-0 against the Sagueneens this season while Chicoutimi is 0-1-0-0 against Saint John.

Last meeting: Jan. 20 at Harbour Station where the Sea Dogs defeated the Sagueneens 1-0. Mathieu Joseph scored the lone goal in the game. Callum Booth made 22 saves in the shutout win. Xavier Potvin made 33 stops in the loss.

Ex-Sea Dogs on the Sagueneens: None.

Random stat: There will be four Carolina Hurricanes prospects playing in this game: Spencer Smallman, Callum Booth, Julien Gauthier and Nicolas Roy.

RECAP: Sea Dogs win 7-3

FINAL: Saint John 7, Victoriaville 3
Kevin Chambers | SN Staff

VICTORIAVILLE, Que. – Playing their first game of a three-in-three road trip, the Saint John Sea Dogs did not disappoint, defeating the Victoriaville Tigres 7-3 on Friday at Colisee Desjardins.

The goal scorers for the Sea Dogs were Julien Gauthier (two), Chase Stewart, Matthew Highmore, Mathieu Joseph, Bokondji Imama and Oliver Felixson. Callum Booth picked up the win for the Dogs, stopping 21 shots, including a couple breakaway opportunities in the early going.

Replying for the Tigres were Bradley Lalonde, Alexandre Goulet and Lucas Thierus. Taking the loss was James Povall, making 16 saves on 20 shots before being replaced by Tristan Cote-Cazenave, who stopped 14 of 17 shots in relief.

To the notes…
  • Stewart would open the scoring at 5:45 of the first period, taking a feed from Jakub Zboril and hammering a one time shot past Povall to make it 1-0 Sea Dogs.
  • The Dogs would add to their lead at 10:05. Highmore’s initial shot was blocked but he threw another hard wrist shot on goal that got by Povall, making it 2-0 Saint John.
  • The Tigres would get on the board in the second period with a power play marker from Lalonde at 3:39.
  • Saint John would get the goal back though at 6:35 with a five-on-three goal as Joseph jumped on a loose rebound and put it past Povall.
  • The ensuing five-on-four power play would lead to another Sea Dogs goal. Imama eneded Povall's night by firing a shot past the Tigres netminder at 7:50.
  • Goulet would capitalize on a man advantage chance for the Tigres at 14:12 with another one time goal, beating Booth and closing the gap to 4-2 Sea Dogs.
  • Saint John extended their lead when Gauthier was able to knife a Chabot pass up and over Cote-Cazenave at 7:42 of the third, making it 5-2.
  • Thierus would close the gap once again as the Tigres finished off a two-on-one play down low, making it 5-3 Sea Dogs at 13:00. 
  • The Sea Dogs would put the game away though at 15:40 when Gauthier finished off a nice feed from Samuel Dove-McFalls, making it 6-3.
  • Rounding out the scoring was Felixson who picked the corner for his second goal of the season at 17:50. That made it a 7-3 Sea Dogs final.
  • Spencer Smallman record his 200th career QMJHL point.
  • Gauthier recorded his 100th career QMJHL goal.
  • Highmore’s goal moved him into a fifth-place tie with Zack Phillips for franchise goal scoring. They each have 84 goals as members of the Sea Dogs.
  • Joseph moved into a third-place tie with Tomas Jurco for franchise goal scoring. They each have 87.
  • Thomas Chabot moved into sole possession of second in franchise defencemen scoring, now sitting at 137 career points. Nathan Beaulieu holds the record with 152 points.
  • Prior to the game, the Tigres retired the No. 91 jersey that belonged to former No. 1 overall NHL pick Alexandre Daigle.
  • Nathan Noel was suspended for one-game due to a butt end that was detected in the game against the Charlottetown Islanders.