Saturday, May 27, 2017

RECAP: Sea Dogs lose 6-3

FINAL: Saint John 3, Erie 6
WINDSOR, Ont. - That's all she wrote for the Saint John Sea Dogs' 2016-17 season.

The Sea Dogs' season came to an end on Friday night in Windsor, falling 6-3 to the OHL champion Erie Otters in the Memorial Cup semifinal.

It was a hard fought game - unlike the first time these two met - in what was arguably the best game of the tournament so far. Saint John's penalty kill was excellent and kept them in the game as the Otters were awarded seven power play opportunities.

Erie's power plays allowed them dominant much of the second period, outshooting Saint John 17-4. Despite the lopsided shot total, the game was tied 2-2 after two periods. But the Otters scored two quick goals in the third period en route to a 6-3 victory.

Taylor Raddysh scored twice for Erie while singles came from Darren Raddysh, Dylan Strome, German Poddubnyi and Warren Foegele. Troy Timpano made 20 saves in the victory.

Joe Veleno, Julien Gauthier and Thomas Chabot all scored for Saint John. Callum Booth made 31 saves in the loss.

To the notes...
  • Saint John nearly opened the scoring while shorthanded early in the first period when Mathieu Joseph fed Simon Bourque in front. But DeBrincat pulled the puck off the goal line to keep it scoreless.
  • Erie opened the scoring at 9:56 when Darren Raddysh made a great play in front, spinning around in front of the net and roofing the puck over a down Booth.
  • Saint John tied things at 1-1 at 14:10 when Veleno batted in a rebound of a Spencer Smallman shot.
  • The Otters were dominant at puck possession at times early in the second, forcing Booth to make some nice saves.
  • Imama went to the box at 10:39 for a check from behind. On the power play at 10:57, an Anthony Cirelli shot was stopped but a rebound was produced. Taylor Raddysh was in the slot to put it in after a scramble, making it 2-1 Otters.
  • Then Chabot headed off for a penalty. Then Highmore. Then Chabot again. Erie had plenty of pressure on all three power plays but could not add to their lead.
  • Then at 18:51, it looked as though the Otters were getting a power play, so Booth skated to the bench. Taylor Raddysh grabbed the puck but no whistle was blown. Raddysh entered the zone and fired the puck past an unprepared Booth, appearing to make it 3-1. But the goal was called off, as there was indeed an Erie penalty.
  • On the ensuing power play, Matthew Highmore was at the dot and fed Joseph down low. Joseph then tapped the puck to Gauthier who beat Timpano, tying the gam at 2-2 at 19:18.
  • Just 2:38 into the third, Strome went around Chase Stewart and beat Booth with a low wrist shot, giving the Otters the lead back.
  • Then at 3:45, Saint John turned the puck over in the corner. Ivan Lodnia grabbed the puck and fed Poddubnyi in front who beat Booth blocker side. 
  • On another power play at 12:31, Taylor Raddysh was near the goal line and slid the puck between a down Booth and the post, making it 5-2 Erie.
  • The Sea Dogs didn't go away, though. At 16:28, Gauthier was along the boards and found Chabot streaking in. Chabot fired the puck past Timpano just before running over the Erie goaltender, making it a 5-3 game.
  • The Dogs had Booth pulled for a while but could not net the equalizer. At 19:26, Foegele hit the empty net to make it a 6-3 final.
  • The first period was a bit different than Monday's match between the two where the Otters were up 5-2 and outshot Saint John 17-4.
  • Erie's power play heavy second period gave them a 17-4 shot advantage over Saint John in the frame.
  • Chabot took three minor penalties in the game.

Friday, May 26, 2017

NOTEBOOK: Otters confident in Timpano heading into tonight's semifinal

WINDSOR, Ont. - Troy Timpano's stats don't look that great at this year's Memorial Cup.

The Erie Otters netminder is sporting a 3.73 goals against average and a .823 save percentage heading into tonight's semifinal contest against the Saint John Sea Dogs.

Otters head coach Kris Knoblauch told reporters Friday morning at WFCU Centre that the numbers aren't representative of Timpano's play so far.

"We've done a good job at keeping the shots down, so that's why his save percentage doesn't look really good," said Knoblauch. "Numbers can be misleading a lot of time."

Knoblauch added that he feels Timpano didn't have much of a chance on the goals he has allowed so far in the tournament.

Timpano has been known to let in the occasional bad goal. He's also very active with the puck, which can create some interesting moments.

The netminder posted a 13-4-1 record to go along with a .895 SV% and 2.73 GAA during the OHL playoffs.

"We changed goalies a little bit throughout the playoffs where (Joseph) Murdaca came in, and he came up big. The players believe that Troy is our goalie. He's the guy that got us here throughout the regular season and playoffs."

The Otters are looking to advance to their first Memorial Cup final tonight.

This is the second ever Memorial Cup appearance for the Otters and their first since 2002. In '02, Erie lost 5-4 in overtime to the Victoriaville Tigres in the tournament semifinal. The Otters blew 3-0 and 4-2 leads in that game, with Victoriaville's Danny Groulx tying the game with five seconds remaining in the third period.

The Kootenay Ice defeated the Tigres 6-3 in the 2002 Memorial Cup final.

The Canadian Press caught up with Jonathan Huberdeau this week to talk about the Sea Dogs' 2011 Memorial Cup win.

"I'm watching them a lot," Huberdeau told CP about this year's Sea Dogs. "It's fun to always follow your team and it's great they have a chance to win this year."

Read the full story here.

Memorial Cup Game Day: at Erie

The Saint John Sea Dogs and Erie Otters meet in the Memorial Cup semifinal tonight at 8 p.m. at Windsor's WFCU Centre. Game time is 8 p.m.

TV/Radio/Webcast: Sportsnet and TVA Sports/96.1 NewSong FM/SN Now and CHL Live

Tournament status: The Sea Dogs are 1-2 following loses to Windsor and Erie and a win over Seattle. Erie is 2-1 following wins over Saint John and Seattle and a loss to Windsor.

Last games: The Sea Dogs are coming off a 7-0 win over the Seattle Thunderbirds on Tuesday at WFCU Centre. Joe Veleno scored twice for Saint John while Chase Stewart, Mathieu Joseph, Spencer Smallman, Cole Reginato and Bokondji Imama added singles. Callum Booth made 31 saves in the shutout victory. The Otters are coming off a 4-2 loss to the Windsor Spitfires on Wednesday. Kyle Maksimovich and Taylor Raddysh scored for Erie. Troy Timpano made 15 saves in the loss.

Head-to-head: The Sea Dogs are 0-1 all-time against the Otters while Erie is 1-0 against Saint John.

Last meeting: You all remember what happened.

Ex-Sea Dogs on the Otters: None.

Random stat: Neither of these teams have ever won a Memorial Cup semifinal game. The Otters lost to Victoriaville in 2002 and Saint John lost to Shawinigan in 2012. The Sea Dogs did not play in the semifinal game in 2011.

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Otters expecting a different Sea Dogs team in Friday's semifinal

WINDSOR, Ont. - The Erie Otters are expecting to see a much different Saint John Sea Dogs team on Friday.

The Sea Dogs suffered their worst loss of the 2016-17 season in Monday's round robin game against the Otters, falling 12-5. Erie head coach Kris Knoblauch isn't expecting to see a similar game in Friday's Memorial Cup semifinal.

"It's going to be a completely different team," Knoblauch said on Thursday of the Sea Dogs. "We're not going to be scoring 12 goals. I wouldn't be surprised that, if we're going to win this game, it's going to be a 2-1 game. I expect a completely different team."

Knoblauch spoke to the media a day after the Otters fell 4-2 to the Windsor Spitfires in the final game of the round robin. The loss placed Erie into Friday's semifinal while Windsor earned an automatic berth into Sunday's championship game.

While Erie dominated puck possession at times on Wednesday against Windsor, they were unable to dig themselves out of the hole they got into. The game was much different than Erie's first two of the tournament, which the Otters had a fairly easy time with.

"We're confident. We feel good," said Knoblauch. "We're disappointed in our effort from that last game but we knew when we came here we had to win four games to win the Memorial Cup and we're still in that position."

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Sea Dogs to play Otters in semifinal

WINDSOR, Ont. - The Saint John Sea Dogs will have a rematch with the Erie Otters on Friday.

The OHL champion Otters defeated the Windsor Spitfires 4-2 in the final round robin game of the Memorial Cup on Wednesday at WFCU Centre. The result means the host Spitfires earn a berth in Sunday's championship game while the Otters will play the Sea Dogs in Friday' semifinal.

The Spitfires scored twice in the first period and added another early in the second. While the Otters applied steady offensive pressure several times throughout the game, the result never really felt in doubt for Windsor.

Jeremiah Addison scored a hat trick while Mikhail Sergachev added the other. Kyle Maksimovich and Taylor Raddysh scored Erie's goals. Windsor goaltender Michael DiPietro was excellent in net, making 33 saves in the victory. Erie's Troy Timpano made 15 stops in the loss.

The Windsor victory gives the Spitfires an impressive 11 straight Memorial Cup wins dating back to the team's championship run in 2009.
Most will not forget the previous meeting between the Sea Dogs and Otters, which took place on Monday. Erie had little trouble with Saint John, dominating much of the game in a 12-5 victory.

The winner of Friday's game will, obviously, play the Spits on Sunday.

Game time for Friday's do-or-die semifinal is 8 p.m. The game can be seen coast-to-coast on Sportsnet.

Misspelled Saint John merchandise replaced at Memorial Cup

WINDSOR, Ont. - Saint John Sea Dogs - not St. John Sea Dogs - merchandise could be found around the WFCU Centre on Wednesday.

Earlier in the week, a shirt and puck with the Sea Dogs logo and the misspelling of "Saint John" to "St. John" could be found on the shelves at Memorial Cup merchandise stands.

Here's the puck, which was included in a stack of four featuring each participating team:
Here's the shirt:
Each participating team has this style of shirt available. The St. John ones had, presumably, been pulled from shelves, leaving the team with very little merchandise compared to the other teams.