Sunday, September 25, 2016

Smallman, Noel returned to Saint John

The Saint John Sea Dogs are getting some much-needed reinforcements.

The Carolina Hurricanes announced today that they have assigned Spencer Smallman back to Saint John. Meanwhile, according to his Instagram, Nathan Noel is on his way back from Chicago Blackhawks camp.

A photo posted by Nathan Noel (@nathan_noel10) on

Smallman, the Sea Dogs’ captain, was a fifth-round pick of the Hurricanes in 2015. The 20-year-old had 19 goals and 28 assists in 59 regular season games last year. He added three goals and 16 assists in 17 playoff contests.

Noel, a fourth-round pick of Chicago in this year’s NHL Draft, had 21 goals and 36 assists in 61 games with the Dogs last season. He had another three goals and 10 assists in 16 playoff matches.

The two will be welcomed additions to a Sea Dogs team that was forced to start the regular season without several regulars due to NHL camps. At the moment, Saint John is still without Samuel Dove-McFalls (Philadelphia Flyers), Luke Green (Winnipeg Jets), Mathieu Joseph (Tampa Bay Lightning), Bokondji Imama (Tampa Bay Lightning), Thomas Chabot (Ottawa Senators) and Jakub Zboril (Boston Bruins).

Bailey Webster (Boston Bruins) and Oliver Felixson (Arizona Coyotes) had already returned from camp and played this past weekend. Matthew Highmore was invited to Florida Panthers rookie camp but could not attend due to injury.

Saint John’s next game is on Friday at 7 p.m. at Harbour Station against the Cape Breton Screaming Eagles.

Photo: Marc Henwood/Station Nation

Saturday, September 24, 2016

RECAP: Sea Dogs lose 4-3

FINAL: Saint John 3, Halifax 4
By Kevin Chambers | SN Staff

HALIFAX – The Saint John Sea Dogs did not make any changes to their lineup for Saturday’s contest in Halifax. Despite a hard fought effort, the Sea Dogs came up just short, dropping a 4-3 decision to the Mooseheads.

Benoit-Olivier Groulx picked up two goals while singles came from Cooper Jones and Arnaud Durandeau. Kevin Resop stopped 33 of the 36 shots he faced.

Sea Dogs goals came from Scorin’ John Warren, Gabriel Bettez and temporary captain Matthew Highmore. Alex Bishop kicked aside 23 of the 27 shots he faced.

The notes…
  • The Mooseheads held a moment of silence in memory of former Moosehead Dean Stock.
  • Jones scored the first goal of the game just 53 seconds in - despite a couple big saves by Bishop in the sequence.
  • A couple of first career QMJHL goals followed with John Warren picking up his first at 12:51 and, just 19 seconds later, Gabriel Bettez picked up his first as well.
  • Groulx, the first overall pick in the 2016 QMJHL Entry Draft, picked up his first career QMJHL goal to even the game at 2-2 before the end of the period.
  • Penalties played a huge role in the opening period, which included a combined total of 16 minors and four misconducts.
  • Durandeau picked up the lone goal of the second period - despite the Sea Dogs outshooting the Moose 19-6 - at 11:33 on a wraparound that rode up and over Bishop. 
  • Groulx would add his second goal of the game at 13:53 of the third period, which would end up being the game-winning goal.
  • Highmore did add a third goal for the Sea Dogs.
  • Highmore also wore the “C” again tonight while Bailey Webster was the alternate.
  • Then final shots in the game were 36-27 in favour of the Dogs. They are certainly getting shots to the net.
  • The Sea Dogs introduced a new promotion with Papa John’s. Because they scored three goals, everyone gets 40% off pizzas online at using promo code SEADOGS40.

Game Day 2: at Halifax

After dropping their season opener last night, the Saint John Sea Dogs (0-1-0-0) will look to pick up their first win of the season tonight in Halifax against the Mooseheads (0-1-0-0). Game time is 7 p.m.

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

Last games: The Sea Dogs are coming off a 6-2 loss in Charlottetown last night. Matthew Highmore and Samuel Leblanc scored for Saint John. Alex Bishop made 19 saves in the loss. The Mooseheads are coming off a 4-3 loss in Moncton last night. Maxime Fortier scored twice for the Moose while Arnaud Durandeau added a solo marker. Kevin Resop made 29 stops in the loss.

2015-16 head-to-head: The Sea Dogs were 6-2-0-0 against the Mooseheads last season while Halifax went 2-5-1-0 against Saint John.

Last meeting: Aug. 19 in Moncton where the Mooseheads edged the Sea Dogs 4-1 in pre-season rookie tournament play. Jared McIsaac, Ilya Putintsev, Ben Higgins and Raphael Lavoie all scored for Halifax while Cedric Pare netted Saint John’s only goal. Alex Gravel made 13 saves and Kirklin Allen two in the win. Alex D’Orio made 42 stops in the loss.

Ex-Sea Dogs on the Mooseheads: None

Random stat: Mooseheads goaltender Kevin Resop went 0-2 with a 4.53 GAA and .864 SV% in two games against Saint John last season.

Friday, September 23, 2016

RECAP: Sea Dogs lose 6-2

FINAL: Saint John 2, Charlottetown 6
CHARLOTTETOWN – Missing several regulars due to NHL camps, the Saint John Sea Dogs dropped their first game of the 2016-17 season, 6-2, to the Charlottetown Islanders on Friday night.

Mitchell Balmas and Jake Coughler each scored twice while singles came from Chris Chaddock and Kameron Kielly. Blade Mann-Dixon made 42 saves.

Saint John goals came from Matthew Highmore and Samuel Leblanc. Alex Bishop made 19 stops in the loss

The notes…
  • Balmas opened the scoring 12:23 into the first, putting a rebound past the pad of Bishop. Charlottetown had a couple of good chances on a power play later in the period but could not beat the Dogs ‘tender.
  • Saint John had 14 shots in the opening period, none better than John Warren’s, who was denied on a breakaway.
  • Coughler and Balmas put Charlottetown up 3-0 in the second. The Sea Dogs finally got on the board at 15:53 when Daniel Del Paggio fed Highmore on a two-on-one.
  • Chaddock scored just 19 seconds into the third to basically put the game out of reach. Coughler scored at 13:38 and Kielly added an empty netter with 1:24 to play.
  • Saint John’s third period goal came from after Olivier Mathieu was stopped on a wrap around. Leblanc picked up the puck and beat Mann-Dixon. It was the first QMJHL points for Mathieu, Leblanc and Alexandre Lafreniere.
  • The Sea Dogs had 44 shots, which was good to see.
  • Only two penalties were called the entire game.
  • Matthew Highmore wore the ‘C’ with Spencer Smallman away at NHL camp.
  • Charlottetown’s Pierre-Olivier Joseph, the brother of Mathieu Joseph, wore an ‘A’ for the Islanders.
  • Highmore had a goal and an assist in Saint John’s season opener last year.
  • Mann-Dixon, a former Sea Dog, against Saint John last season: 4 GPI, 1-2, 10 GA, 100 shots
  • Massive CIBC – now the official bank of the CHL – ad on the boards in Charlottetown.
  • Shout out to Greco pizza for the ads on the goal posts.

Internet predicts Sea Dogs to be good

With another QMJHL season set to start, here's what the Internet is saying about the Sea Dogs. Spoiler: it's all good.

Photo: Marc Henwood/Station Nation

Predictions for the 2016-17 QMJHL season

A new QMJHL season has arrived.

Many league followers expect a three horse race between last year's semifinalists from Rouyn-Noranda, Shawinigan and Saint John. All three teams are poised to take a serious run at the 2017 President Cup. However, one of three dark horses from Bathurst, Chicoutimi or Gatineau may very well push the “Big Three” to the finish line.

By Lorne Webster
Maritimes Division
Three of the teams with the most significant roster turnovers are from the Maritimes - Cape Breton (11), Charlottetown (nine) and Moncton (eight). All of those teams will continue to be tough - but many eyes will be on the young guns in Halifax in the battle for the Maritimes.

1.  Saint John - Sea Dogs fans are excited to see the continued growth of Joe Veleno. However, with a league leading 11 players invited to NHL camps (including Chabot, Zboril, Joseph and Noel), the first few weeks could be rough for the Sea Dogs. But once the full roster is in place - and coach Danny Flynn makes any necessary changes over Christmas - the Sea Dogs should reach the 100-point plateau.

2. Bathurst - backstopped by Reilly Pickard and led by an exciting forward group (e.g. Morand, Kuznetsov, Miromanov, Viel, etc.), the team’s fate rests largely on the development of its defence.

3. Halifax - There is plenty to be excited about after Cam Russell added the likes of Hischier, Groulx and McIsaac to a core led by Fortier, Somppi and Chainey. Expect a roller coaster ride for this team of young guns.

4. Charlottetown - Coach/GM Jim Hulton has improved his defence with the addition of Brisebois and Donaghey but goal scoring behind Chlapik and Coughler will tell the tale. Islanders fans are hoping for a quick return to action for Daniel Sprong - but reports out of Pittsburgh suggest he'll end up with Crosby and Co. in January/February.

5. Moncton - Owner Robert Irving expects to win every year and the Wildcats will continue to battle. Manuel Weiderer and the Klima twins have huge shoes to fill as scoring whiz Conor Garland moves on. And team defence is a question mark.

6. Cape Breton - If Pierre-Luc Dubois stays in the NHL as many expect, it could be a long season for the Screaming Eagles. Fiore, Carozza and LeBlanc provide excellent leadership but depth is lacking after a huge roster turnover.