Tuesday, May 31, 2011

BIG TURNOUT FOR CHAMPIONS PARADE


SAINT JOHN – You couldn’t have asked for a more perfect day to end a perfect season.

Thousands showed up in Uptown Saint John this afternoon as the 2011 MasterCard Memorial Cup Champion Saint John Sea Dogs paraded down King Street. It was an absolutely beautiful day as fans packed streets and sidewalks.

The parade started at King Square and then turned down King Street. Players were on fire trucks, convertibles, and trucks and waved to an exuberant crowd of supporters ranging from all ages. Also involved were mascot Fleaburn, a Harbour Station Zamboni, and the team bus.

Sea Dogs captain Mike Thomas and forward Steven Anthony held the Memorial Cup in a car near the end of the parade.

The players exited their vehicles at the bottom of the hill and took part in a rally on the Market Square Boardwalk. Hosted by Sea Dogs play-by-play man Tim Roszell, the rally featured talks from Mayor Ivan Court, owner Scott McCain, president Wayne Long, Thomas, head coach Gerard Gallant, and a dance performed by Danick Gauthier.

News 88.9 and the CBC both have stories from today’s events.

SN’s photographer Marc Henwood has some great photos HERE.

After the jump, YouTube videos galore.

PARADE TODAY AT NOON

SAINT JOHN – After winning their second straight Maritimes Division and regular season title and their first ever President’s Cup and Memorial Cup, the time has come to celebrate the accomplishments of the 2010-11 Saint John Sea Dogs.

The City of Saint John has planned a parade that will begin at noon today from King Square and travel down King Street to a rally at the Market Square boardwalk (rain location, Market Square Atrium) at approximately 12:20pm.

Fans attending the events are asked to wear Sea Dogs colours and other apparel.

Here’s hoping this doesn’t happen:



Fans unable to attend can follow us on Twitter for updates and (hopefully) pictures.

Monday, May 30, 2011

SEA DOGS NOTEBOOK


THE PARADE
The Saint John Sea Dogs’ championship parade is tomorrow at noon. The parade will travel down King Street before the rally gets going at the Market Square Boardwalk at 12:20 pm.

The weather is supposed to be nice but, if it begins to rain, the event will be moved to the Market Square Atrium.

Motorists can expect brief traffic disruptions along the route during the noon hour.

WELCOME HOME
There was a big crowd today at the Saint John Airport as the Sea Dogs arrived home with the Memorial Cup. CHSJ News has a couple of videos:





"It's crazy," said Zach Phillips to News 88.9. "There's so many people that came out to support us. It's great to see - I didn't expect that many people! It's a great feeling to see that the community appreciates what we did."

"There was a nice little reception for us at the airport, and some of the kids were out in school parking lots (on the way from the airport),” said head coach Gerard Gallant to the Journal Pioneer. “The fans and people here are real excited."

On CTV News, Sea Dogs majority owner Scott McCain was near speechless about the amount of people that showed up to greet the team at the airport.

MVP
If you didn’t hear, Jonathan Huberdeau was named the Memorial Cup’s Most Valuable Player after Sunday’s victory. From the Memorial Cup website:

Jonathan Huberdeau of the Saint John Sea Dogs finished tied for second in tournament scoring with six points in four games including three goals and three assists. The 18-year-old from St-Jerome, Quebec, scored a goal and an assist in the 3-1 Championship Final victory over the Mississauga St. Michael’s Majors. Eligible for the 2011 NHL Entry Draft, Huberdeau is the third ranked skater by NHL Central Scouting and is the first Quebec-born player to win the Stafford Smythe Memorial Trophy since Danny Groulx of the Victoriaville Tigres in 2002.
Huberdeau came close to winning the MVP Triple Crown. He was named QMJHL Playoff MVP, Memorial Cup MVP, but fell short in winning the QMJHL’s regular season MVP award.

ALL-STAR TEAM
Jonathan Huberdeau and Nathan Beaulieu both made the tournament’s all-star team.

Huberdeau finished the tournament tied for second in scoring with six points – three goals and three assists. One of his goals was an overtime winner and another an insurance goal in the championship game.

Beaulieu finished the tournament tied for second in scoring amongst defensemen with a goal and two assists. He scored the game-winner in the Saint John's first game.

The full all-star team:

Goaltender – Jordan Binnington, Owen Sound Attack
Defence – Stuart Percy, Mississauga St. Michael’s Majors
Defence – Nathan Beaulieu, Saint John Sea Dogs
Forward – Andrew Shaw, Owen Sound Attack
Forward – Devante Smith-Pelly, Mississauga St. Michael’s Majors
Forward – Jonathan Huberdeau, Saint John Sea Dogs

THOMAS MAKES DEADSPIN

Saint John Sea Dogs captain Mike Thomas made Deadspin this morning after video of him spitting into/at (EDIT: Make your own call on if he did or didn't. The point of this post is that he made Deadspin) the Memorial Cup hit the interweb.



The title of the post was: “Being Captain Of The Saint John Sea Dogs Does Not Entitle You To Spit In Memorial Cup, But Watch This Guy Do It Anyway.”

Some people are probably going to make a big deal about this. But we’re going to guess that there have been worse things placed in the Memorial Cup over the past 90 years.

At least the Spokane Chiefs didn’t get their hands on it this year.

POSTSCRIPT: Majors 1, Sea Dogs 3


RECAPS
A collection of recaps on last night’s Memorial Cup win:

Scott Briggs’ recap. The Canadian Hockey League championship didn’t get away from Jacob DeSerres this year.

Marty Klinkenberg’s recap. “It is almost hard for me to describe right now” – Jonathan Huberdeau

The Mississauga News’ recap. “You never get used to the losing” – Dave Cameron

The Canadian Press’ recap. “Once again, Dave Cameron's team came up short when it mattered most.”

Rogers Sportsnet’s recap. “The Saint John Sea Dogs captured the franchise’s first MasterCard Memorial Cup in just their sixth season of existence.”

NHL.com’s recap. “I was almost so excited and so happy you don't show it. It's just all inside" – Jacob DeSerres

The National Post’s recap. “I have the simplest job title in the world — just stop the puck. But I think goalies probably have the most complicated minds” – Jacob DeSerres

The Toronto Sun’s recap. “Before he passed away, I told my father I thought we had a chance to win a trophy” – Scott McCain

Yahoo! Sports’ recap. “To be on the other side is probably the worst feeling I’ve ever felt” – Justin Shugg

SAINT JOHN SCTRATCHES
All hands were on deck last night with the exception of Jason Cameron who is still recovery from a bruised kidney. He was at the game though and celebrated with the team afterwards.

Healthy scratches were forwards Aidan Kelly and Devon Oliver-Dares, defensemen Jason Seed and Spencer MacDonald, and goaltender Jacob Edwards.

VIDEO: Fans Watch Cup Win

Another classic video from CHSJ News featuring the crowd at Harbour Station watching last night's game.



The Telegraph-Journal has a story on it today.

SEA DOGS WIN MEMORIAL CUP

SN RECAP
FINAL: Majors 1, Sea Dogs 3


MISSISSAUGA, Ont. – For much of the season, the Saint John Sea Dogs were ranked No. 1 in the Canadian Hockey League. On Sunday night in Mississauga, they proved to be worthy of that ranking.

The Sea Dogs defeated the Mississauga St. Michael’s Majors 3-1 in their own building to capture junior hockey’s Holy Grail – the MasterCard Memorial Cup. They become the first ever Atlantic Canadian team to win the trophy and just the eighth in the history of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League.

Simon Despres scored a shorthanded marker, Zack Phillips netted the eventual game winner, and Jonathan Huberdeau put it away with a nifty deke late in the third period.

Goaltender Jacob DeSerres was unbelievable in net, making several game-saving stops. He made 34 stops in total, erasing all of the bad memories that happened in last year’s final with the Brandon Wheat Kings.

The win ended an incredible season, a campaign that is difficult to put into words.

The victory solidifies the Sea Dogs as one of the greatest QMJHL teams of all time. Maybe even one of the greatest in CHL history.

Enjoy it. Saint John doesn’t win a national championship everyday.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

LIVE BLOG: Memorial Cup Final - Majors vs Sea Dogs

PRE-GAME: Majors vs Sea Dogs

GAME DAY
2011 MasterCard Memorial Cup – Championship Game
Mississauga St. Michael’s Majors vs Saint John Sea Dogs
Tonight, May 29, 2011 at 8:00 pm
Hershey Centre


PREVIEW
MISSISSAUGA, Ont. – Well, here we are.

It’s Championship Sunday at the 2011 MasterCard Memorial Cup and the Saint John Sea Dogs are just a single win away from a national title. Their opponent will be the host team, the Mississauga St. Michael’s Majors, who have been preparing for this day for a full year.

The Sea Dogs and Majors met in the tournament opener and they will meet again to tonight to close it out. Saint John won the first meeting last Friday by score of 4-3. Nathan Beaulieu scored the winner on a missed offside call.

The Majors advanced to the final after going through the round-robin with a 2-1 record and then defeated the Kootenay Ice in the semifinal game to advance to the final. Saint John went 2-1 in the round-robin with their only loss coming in a meaningless contest against the Ice.

The question tonight will be who has the advantage: the well rested Sea Dogs are the momentum-gaining Majors?

Saint John has dealt with rest a lot this post-season. They swept Cape Breton, had a layoff, but took the first game against Victoriaville. They beat the Tigres in five games, had a week off, and then took the opener against Lewiston. They swept the Maineiacs, had a layoff, then beat Gatineau in the opener of the league final.

Another positive is that the Sea Dogs are coming off a loss. They have only lost two straight games once all year.

Saint John will be trying to become just the eighth Quebec Major Junior Hockey League team to win the Memorial Cup. The last QMJHL team to win the trophy was the Quebec Remparts back in 2006. A Sea Dogs win tonight and it will all but guarantee them the title of one of the greatest teams in Q-league history.

No matter what happens, it has been an incredible season in Saint John – a season that comes to a close on the final day of the Canadian Hockey League campaign.

May the best team win.

PLACES TO WATCH TONIGHT'S GAME

No matter what happens tonight, this will be the last time we all have to suffer through the pain of listening to the Rogers Sportsnet intermission panel. So, why not suffer through it with others!

Harbour Station will be broadcasting tonight’s game on the centre ice video screens. The doors open at 7:30 pm with the game beginning at 8:00 pm. Admission is free, parking is free, and the popcorn in free. However, a non-perishable food item would be appreciated.

According to the Harbour Station website, the concessions will be open – including Tim Horton’s and the beer stands. Tables will also be setup at ice level.

The Quispamsis QPLEX will be opening its doors as well for the game. Fans can catch the contest in the Moosehead Conference Centre. Admission is free and the doors open at 7:30 pm.

Like Harbour Station, there will be food and drinks available to purchase.

Of course, Boston Pizza has been a popular place to be on Sea Dogs game nights over the past week. According to the Sea Dogs’ newsletter, “there will be drink specials and food specials and prize giveaways as well, including a prize for the best supporting fan!”

The Telegraph-Journal had a few other suggestions in Saturday’s paper. Scores Grill will be throwing a party beginning at 5:00 pm and then there is Rocky’s Sports Bar which will be airing the game like they have been all tournament long.

It’s probably safe to say any restaurant will a television and cable access will be showing the match.

Win or lose, there will be a parade on Tuesday.

ANTHONY WILL PLAY TONIGHT

News out of Mississauga this afternoon is that Saint John Sea Dogs forward Steven Anthony will play tonight in the 2011 MasterCard Memorial Cup Championship Game against the Mississauga St. Michael's Majors at 8:00 pm (Rogers Sportsnet/RDS; News 88.9 FM).

Anthony has not played since Game One of the President’s Cup final (May 5) against the Gatineau Olympiques because of a knee injury he suffered in that contest. He missed the last five games of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League final and all three round-robin games at the Memorial Cup.

Before getting injured, Anthony has been playing quite well on the team’s second line with Michael Kirkpatrick and Tomas Jurco.

In 61 regular season games he recorded 23 goals and 37 assists. In 14 post-season games he added five goals and seven assists.

Anthony recently signed a contract with the Vancouver Canucks, meaning tonight could be his last game in a Sea Dogs uniform. In 244 career regular season games he has 66 goals and 97 assists. In 33 playoff games he has seven markers and 10 helpers.

Photo Credit: Marc Henwood/Station Nation

SEA DOGS NOTEBOOK

CAMERON IN MISSISSAUGA
Forward Jason Cameron is in Mississauga to give the Sea Dogs a morale boost heading into the championship game. Cameron has not played since Game Four of the President’s Cup final because of a bruised kidney.

"Even not playing, I'm happy to be here," said Cameron to the Mississauga News. "I couldn't ask for more than to be here and for us to win a championship hopefully."

“I just felt like I had to be here and it’s great to see the guys again,” he said to the Toronto Sun. “When I got in, I gave them all a hug. I spent five days in the Gatineau hospital and the day the team flew out to the Memorial Cup, I flew home.”

The Sea Dogs took the President’s Cup to the Gatineau hospital he was staying at after their victory.

HUBERDEAU RANKED THIRD
Kevin Allen of USA Today released his Top 10 list for the upcoming NHL Entry Draft yesterday. He has Jonathan Huberdeau going third overall to the Florida Panthers.

Huberdeau (Saint John, QMJHL). To build the Panthers, general manager Dale Tallon needs scorers and Huberdeau is one. His stock kept spiking later in the season. The Panthers have two good defensemen in their system in Dmitry Kulikov and Erik Gudbranson, so they could pass on Larsson.
In the latest Red Line Report, posted last Friday in USA Today, Huberdeau is projected to go fifth overall. Also, thumbs up to Red Line for pointing out Gatineau's Jean-Gabriel Pageau and Victoriaville’s David Honzik as players to watch out for.

THE RISE OF THE MARITIMES
The awesome James Mirtle had an awesome article in yesterday’s Globe and Mail on the rise of maritime hockey in the QMJHL.

Gerard Gallant on the rise of hockey on the east coast:

“It definitely translates into more kids playing in the NHL,” he said. “There’s more kids playing in the Quebec league than ever before and a lot of them are good hockey players and getting an opportunity.
THE STORY OF ROSZELL
Today’s must read comes from Chatham Daily News as they tell the story of how Tim Roszell became the voice of the Saint John Sea Dogs.

"For me, this will be my Stanley Cup," said Roszell about today’s game.

IVAN COURT IN DA HOUSE
Saint John Mayor Ivan Court will be taking in tomorrow’s game at the Hershey Centre, reports News 88.9.

From News 88.9’s website:

Ivan Court has received an invitation to attend the game from Mississauga's long serving mayor Hazel McCallion.

Court tells us he's not going to miss the event. " I will be sitting right in Mississauga, right in the arena and probably get a chance to say hello to the people back at Harbour Station", says Court. " I think it's that important this is another historic moment for Saint John".
TSN FEATURE
TSN had a great feature on Jonathan Huberdeau that aired last week. You can check it out by clicking HERE.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

GALLANT NAMED CHL'S BEST

MISSISSAUGA, Ont. – For the second straight year, Saint John Sea Dogs head coach Gerard Gallant has been named the Canadian Hockey League’s top coach.

Gallant was awarded the Brian Kilrea CHL Coach of the Year Award today in Mississauga at the annual awards banquet. Jacob DeSerres was up for Goaltender of the Year and Simon Despres for Defenseman of the Year but both came away empty handed.

It’s the second straight year that the former Detroit Red Wings tough guy has won the honour. He claimed the trophy last season – his first year as head coach – after helping the Sea Dogs go 53-13-1-2 record in the regular season and guided the team to the league final.

This season, Saint John had one of the greatest seasons in Quebec Major Junior Hockey League history. They went 58-7-1-2 in the regular season, lost just three games en route to their first President’s Cup win, and will play in the Memorial Cup championship game tomorrow.

The honour is certainly well deserved.

Now the question becomes – will he return to the Sea Dogs bench next season or will a National Hockey League team come knocking?

As Willy Palov noted in his Chronicle Herald column on Friday, his 111-19-2-4 regular season record and that fact that he has put the Sea Dogs into back-to-back President’s Cup finals have to have gotten him noticed by NHL brass.

Gallant spoke about possibly moving back to the NHL to the CBC, saying:

"I'm not going to jump at something that doesn't feel comfortable to me," he said at the Memorial Cup tournament in Mississauga, Ont. "I'm not going to lose any sleep if I stay in Saint John next year or the next five years."

"I'm just like the players — if I get an opportunity and it's the right thing, I'm going to go."
‘Turk’ already has NHL coaching experience with the Columbus Blue Jackets and the New York Islanders.

Last summer, there were some rumblings that Gallant would land in Tampa Bay because of his relationship with Lightning general manager Steve Yzerman. Guy Boucher was eventually hired in Tampa and helped the Lightning reach the Eastern Conference final.

There are plenty of NHL coaching vacancies - Minnesota, New Jersey, Dallas, Ottawa and Florida – and you have to think that he is at least in the conversation for one of those jobs.

HUBERDEAU GOES 5th IN KHL DRAFT

If Jonathan Huberdeau suddenly decides to jump to KHL ranks, he’ll be playing for the HC Vityaz Chekhov.

In today’s Kontinental Hockey League Junior Draft, Huberdeau was selected fifth overall by the Russian team. From the KHL’s official Twitter feed:


Huberdeau’s Russian teammate Stanislav Galiev tweeted this morning, “Congrats to my teammate Huberdeau to drafted by KHL today! 5th overall. Are you kidding me KHL?”

The full results of the draft can be found here. Other QMJHL players drafted were Chicoutimi goaltender Christopher Gibson and Drummondville's Sean Couturier - who went 133rd overall.

From the Wikipedia page of the 2011 KHL Draft:

The 2011 KHL Junior Draft will be the third entry draft held by the Kontinental Hockey League, taking place on May 28, 2011 in Mytishchi Arena. Ice hockey players from around the world aged between 17 and 21 years of age will be selected. Players eligible to take part in the draft must not have an active contract with a KHL, MHL or VHL team. A total of 371 players will participate in the draft, 171 of these playing in Russia, 100 in Europe and 100 in North America.
Every year some top National Hockey League prospects are selected in the draft. Some of the players drafted in the past include Zach Kassian, Eric Gudbranson, Taylor Hall, and Olivier Roy.

CHL AWARDS CEREMONY TODAY

MISSISSAUGA, Ont. – Three members of the Saint John Sea Dogs are up for Canadian Hockey League awards. The annual CHL Awards Ceremony takes place this afternoon at 3:30 pm at the Living Arts Centre in Mississauga.

Sea Dogs head coach Gerard Gallant is nominated for CHL Old Dutch Coach of the Year award for the second straight season. Gallant won the award last year after guiding Saint John to the league final. This year, ‘Turk’ led the Sea Dogs to their first Quebec Major Junior Hockey League championship and finished the regular season with an unreal 58-7-1-2 record, good to be ranked No. 1 in Canada for most of the campaign.

Since taking over the coaching duties in 2009-10, the Sea Dogs have an insane regular season record of 111-19-2-4.

Other nominees are Mark Reeds of the Owen Sound Attack and Don Nauchbaur of the Spokane Chiefs.

Jacob DeSerres is nominated for the PERT Plus Goaltender of the Year award. DeSerres had a QMJHL best goals against average of 2.22 in the regular season. He also had a 0.916 save percentage and a 27-3-0-0 record. In the post-season he had a league best 2.00 GAA to along with a 12-3-0-0 record and a 0.916 save percentage.

Also up for the award is Team Canada netminder Marc Visentin of the Niagara Ice Dogs and Darcy Kuemper of the Red Deer Rebels.

Lastly, Simon Despres is nominated for CGC Defenseman of the Year award. The Team Canada member had 13 goals and 28 assists in just 47 regular season games. In the playoffs, he added four markers and eight helpers in 19 contests.

Also nominated are Ryan Ellis of the Windsor Spitfires and Stefan Elliot of the Saskatoon Blades.

The full list of nominees and awards can be seen below:

Friday, May 27, 2011

DOGS - MAJORS FOR ALL THE MARBLES

FINAL: Ice 1, Majors 3

MISSISSAUGA, Ont. – The Mississauga St. Michael’s Majors will play the Saint John Sea Dogs in the championship game at the 2011 MasterCard Memorial Cup.

The Majors advanced to Sunday’s winner-take-all contest after eliminating the Western Hockey League champion Kootenay Ice 3-1 in the tournament’s semifinal game.

Devante Smith-Pelly scored a pair for the Majors while Chris DeSousa iced the game with an empty netter in the final minute of regulation. JP Anderson was stellar in goal, making 28 stops to send the hosts into the game they have preparing for all year.

Joe Antilla netted the only Kootenay goal. Goaltender Nathan Lieuwen made 23 stops in the loss.

Mississauga had a 1-0 lead after one and 2-1 advantage after 40 minutes at the Hershey Centre.

Despite being eliminated, Kootenay made an impressive run just to reach the semifinal. After an 0-2 start, they saved their season with a 5-4 overtime win against Saint John. They then blasted the Ontario Hockey League champion Owen Sound Attack 7-3 in the tiebreaker game last night.

The Majors, who finished third in the Canadian Hockey League final rankings, only have one loss at the Memorial Cup and that came in the opener – against the Sea Dogs.

Saint John will be the more rested team having not played since Tuesday night. In the time span, Mississauga has played twice.

Game time for Sunday’s final is 8:00 pm on Rogers Sportsnet and RDS. Harbour Station will be opening its doors for fans to watch the game.

WHO WILL THE SEA DOGS PLAY?

GAME DAY
2011 MasterCard Memorial Cup – Semifinal
Kootenay Ice vs Mississauga St. Michael’s Majors
Tonight, May 27, 2011 at 8:00 pm
Hershey Centre


MISSISSAUGA, Ont. – The Saint John Sea Dogs will find out who their opponent is for Sunday’s MasterCard Memorial Cup final tonight.

The Western Hockey League champion Kootenay Ice face the host Mississauga St. Michael’s Majors tonight at 8:00 pm at the Hershey Centre in the tournament’s semifinal game. The winner will advance to Sunday’s final while the loser will have their season come to an end.

The two teams faced each other last Sunday with the Majors coming out in top by score of 2-1.

The Ice, who started the tournament off with a 0-2 record, have staved off elimination in both of their last two games. They beat Saint John 5-4 in overtime on Tuesday and then eliminated the Owen Sound Attack 7-3 in the tiebreaker last night.

Mississauga has lost just one game in the Memorial Cup and that came in the tournament opener one week ago against the Sea Dogs.

Saint John has not played since Tuesday and will be much more rested than either team they face.

Tonight’s game can be seen on Rogers Sportsnet and RDS.

SEA DOGS 'HOMECOMING' ON TUESDAY

Win or lose on Sunday, there will be a Saint John Sea Dogs celebration/homecoming/parade.

The City of Saint John announced today via press release that there will be a parade at noon on Tuesday beginning at King Square and travelling down King Street. There will then be a rally at the Market Square boardwalk (rain location, Market Square Atrium) at approximately 12:20pm.

“Win, lose or draw at Sunday night’s game, these players are our champions. They are talented young athletes and leaders in our community both on and off the ice,” said Mayor Ivan Court in a release. “I congratulate the players, coaching and management staff for another exceptional season and a professionally run organization that has become a treasure in our community.”

Fans are asked to wear blue, white, and other Sea Dogs fan-wear at the parade and rally.

Saint John will find out who their opponent will be in the Memorial Cup final tonight. Fans can watch Sunday’s game for free at Harbour Station.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

TIEBREAKER GAME TONIGHT

GAME DAY
2011 MasterCard Memorial Cup – Tiebreaker
Kootenay Ice vs Owen Sound Attack
Tonight, May 26, 2011 at 8:00 pm
Hershey Centre


MISSISSAUGA, Ont. – It’s do or die for two teams tonight at the MasterCard Memorial Cup as the Kootenay Ice take on the Owen Sound Attack in the tournament’s tiebreaker game.

The Ice forced a tiebreaker after defeating the Saint John Sea Dogs in overtime on Tuesday night. Kootenay had lost their previous games and would have been knocked out of the Memorial Cup if they had lost.

They will continue their quest to replicate what the Windsor Spitfires did in 2009 when they lost their first two games but battled back to win it all.

Owen Sound’s loss to the Mississauga St. Michael’s Majors last night in the final round-robin game pushed them into the tiebreaker. The 1-2 Attack beat the Ice 5-0 last Saturday in the second game of the tournament.

The Attack will be without two of their best players with Joey Hishon and Garrett Wilson both missing tonight’s contest with concussion like symptoms. Hishon was elbowed in the head by Kootenay’s Brayden McNabb on Saturday and Wilson was hurt last night on a check by Mississauga’s Chris DaSousa.

Could the Attack be looking for some payback on the McNabb elbow? We’ll find out tonight at 8:00 pm on Rogers Sportsnet/RDS.

The winner of this game will play in tomorrow’s semifinal against the Majors. The winner of the semifinal will than advance to Sunday’s championship game against Saint John.

WATCH SUNDAY'S GAME AT THE STATION


You will be able to watch Sunday's Memorial Cup final at Harbour Station after all. Harbour Station has sent out this news release:

Harbour Station will be a prime place to watch this coming Sunday night’s MasterCard Memorial Cup championship game between the Saint John Sea Dogs and their yet-to-be-determined opponent.

Rogers Sportsnet’s live coverage of the game will be shown on the facility’s state-of-the-art scoreclock, which was installed last summer. Harbour Station doors will open at 7:30 p.m. for an expected 8:15 p.m. puck-drop.

While there will be no admission to watch the game, a non-perishable food item would be appreciated. There’ll also be free on-site parking and free popcorn will be available.

“The Sea Dogs’ clinching a berth in the final game of this prestigious tournament is huge”, said Michael Caddell, general manager of Harbour Station. “We are pleased to be able to provide the Sea Dogs faithful with an opportunity to watch this memorable event together, from the club’s home arena.”

Caddell noted the co-operation of Paderno, which will conclude a week-long blowout sale at Harbour Station on Sunday afternoon. “Without their support, this event would not be possible,” he said.
The free popcorn is a nice touch.

It was revealed yesterday that Sunday’s game would be shown at the new Quispamsis QPLEX.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

ATTACK FORCED TO PLAY TIE-BREAKER

FINAL: Attack 1, Majors 3


MISSISSAUGA, Ont. – The Owen Sound Attack will have to take the long way to reach the 2011 MasterCard Memorial Cup final.

The Attack are forced to play in tomorrow’s tie-breaker game after dropping a 3-1 decision to the Mississauga St. Michael’s Majors on Wednesday night in the final game of round-robin action. The elimination round begins tomorrow when Owen Sound takes on Western Hockey League champion Kootenay Ice in a tie-breaker.

The winner of tomorrow’s game will face Mississauga in the semifinals on Friday. The winner of that contest will take on the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League champion Saint John Sea Dogs in the championship game on Sunday.

It was a feisty affair at the Hershey Centre on Wednesday as two Ontario Hockey League rivals teed off. Jordan Mayer, Justin Shugg, and Rob Flick all scored for the winners while Andrew Shaw scored the lone Owen Sound goal.

JP Anderson made 21 stops in net for the win while Jordan Binnington allowed two goals on 27 shots. The third Majors marker came on an empty net.

The Majors held a 1-0 lead after one and the game was tied at 1-1 entering the final frame. Flick scored the game-winner at 18:24 on a power play. Shugg sealed the deal with an empty netter with 35 seconds remaining.

The win was a confidence booster for Mississauga as the Attack defeated the Majors in seven games to win the OHL title.

The Attack may have lost more than just the game as their captain, Garrett Wilson, was hit hard into the boards and left the game and never returned. It would be a huge for Owen Sound who are already without Joey Hishon.

Owen Sound will have to overcome those injuries if they wish to stay in the tournament. It’s do or die tomorrow against the Ice.

OHL TEAMS BATTLE TONIGHT

GAME DAY
2011 MasterCard Memorial Cup – Preliminary Round
Owen Sound Attack vs Mississauga St. Michael’s Majors
Tonight, May 25, 2011 at 8:00 pm
Hershey Centre


MISSISSAUGA, Ont. – Two Ontario Hockey League teams battle this evening at the 2011 MasterCard Memorial Cup to close out the tournament’s round-robin action.

The host Mississauga St. Michael’s Majors and Owen Sound Attack meet in a rematch of the OHL championship series. The Attack won the series in seven games with the decisive victory coming in overtime at the Hershey Centre.

Tonight will be the first time the two have met since Game Seven of that series. There will be a lot on the line tonight as well with the winner advancing directly to the semifinal and the loser having to play in tomorrow's tie-breaker game against the Western Hockey League’s Kootenay Ice.

The winner of the tie-breaker game will then play in the semifinal game. The winner of the semifinal match will take on the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League’s Saint John Sea Dogs in Sunday’s championship affair.

The Attack won their first game 5-0 over the Ice on Saturday. They then fell 3-2 in overtime against Saint John on Monday, a loss that put the Sea Dogs directly into the final.

Owen Sound will once again be without forward Joey Hishon. Hishon was injured in the Attack’s first game against Kootenay after taking a Brayden McNabb elbow to the head. He has not played since.

The Majors are also 1-1 after dropping their first match 4-3 to Saint John on Friday and then downed the Ice 2-1 on Sunday.

At the Hershey Centre, the Majors were 25-8-0-1 in the regular season and 9-2-0-0 in the playoffs.

Game time is 8:00 pm and can be seen on Rogers Sportsnet and RDS.

POSTSCRIPT: Ice 5, Sea Dogs 4 (OT)

RECAPS
A collection of recaps from around the interweb on last night’s 5-4 Kootenay Ice overtime victory over the Saint John Sea Dogs:

Scott Briggs’ recap. After losing their first two tilts at the Canadian Hockey League championship tournament, another setback would have sent Kootenay back to British Columbia.

The Cranbrook Daily Townsman’s recap. They scored three powerplay goals and needed overtime to clinch it, but they skated away a 5-4 win over the Saint John Sea Dogs on Tuesday.

The Globe and Mail’s recap. “It was frustrating watching them get a late goal” – Matt Fraser

Buzzing The Net’s recap. What is the big takeaway for Kootenay, knowing it is still alive thanks in small part to Gallant's lineup choices?

The Canadian Press’ recap. The reeling Kootenay Ice felt they deserved a break.

Rogers Sportsnet recap. The hockey Gods have an interesting way of balancing the MasterCard Memorial Cup.

The Sea Dogs website’s recap. The Saint John Sea Dogs suffered their first loss at the MasterCard Memorial Cup.

SAINT JOHN SCRATCHES
Saint John’s lineup changes were the big news entering yesterday’s game. The Dogs chose to rest several of their key players with a spot in Sunday’s championship game already guaranteed. From Buzzing The Net:

"The last two games Despr├ęs has played he's had bronchitis pretty bad," Gallant said. "Tonight was an opportunity to give him a chance not to play. Kirkpatrick, he's got an injury from the Lewiston [semifinal] series. Guys like that, back-to-back games are tough. If we had played the game tomorrow night, you probably would have seen a full lineup, but we took care of business [Monday] night.

"We can say all we want to the kids, but they know they're going to the final and we want to get them ready," Gallant said.
Resting for the Sea Dogs was defenseman Simon Despres, forwards Michael Kirkpatrick and Danick Gauthier, and goaltender Jacob DeSerres didn’t dress at all.

Along with them, Steven Antony missed is eighth straight game with a lower-body injury and Jason Cameron remains out and is recovering from a bruised kidney.

WATCH SUNDAY'S GAME AT THE QPLEX

Looks like you'll be able to watch Sunday's Memorial Cup final at the Quispamsis QPLEX. The official Twitter account of the facility tweeted this this morning:


*UPDATE*


The game can't be shown at Harbour Station, apparently, because of the freaking Paderno Blowout Sale.

ICE BREAK SEA DOGS

RECAP
FINAL (OT): Ice 5, Sea Dogs 4


MISSISSAUGA, Ont. – The Kootenay will live to see another day at the 2011 MasterCard Memorial Cup.

The Ice defeated the Saint John Sea Dogs 5-4 in overtime on Wednesday night at the Hershey Centre, forcing a tie-breaker game against the loser of tomorrow’s Owen Sound – Mississauga contest.

The victory improves the Ice to 1-2 at the Memorial Cup while the Sea Dogs dropped to 2-1. Saint John has already earned a bye to Sunday’s final because, no matter who wins tomorrow’s game, they will win the first tie-breaker.

Matt Fraser scored twice while Kevin King, Jesse Ismond, and Drew Czerwonka added singles. Goaltender Nathan Lieuwen made 19 saves on the night to pick up his first win of the Memorial Cup.

Kootenay was finally able to get their offense going after getting shutout in their first game against Mississauga and only scoring once against Owen Sound. They went 3-for-6 on the power play and fired 45 shots at Saint John netminder Mathieu Corbeil.

Tomas Jurco scored twice for Saint John. Ryan Tesink and Kevin Gagne also scored. Corbeil was solid in net, making 40 saves in the loss.

The game meant nothing to Saint John and they played like it at times. They rested some of their regulars with a trip to the final already booked.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

SEA DOGS LINEUP TWEAKS


The big news today out of Mississauga is the amount of lineup tweaking the Saint John Sea Dogs have made for tonight’s game against the Kootenay Ice.

The biggest change will be in goal where Mathieu Corbeil will replace Jacob DeSerres. The move isn’t that surprising given that this game is meaningless for the Sea Dogs.

Corbeil has been good in all but one game in the post-season. He has a 4-0-0-0 record with a 1.54 goals against average and a 0.936 save percentage. His last start came in Game Four of the semifinals against Lewiston where he allowed two goals on two shots in just under three minutes of action.

DeSerres will not even be on the bench as recent call up Jacob Edwards will serve as backup.

Also out for Saint John will be their best defenseman – Simon Despres. The ‘Big Horse’ has been battling sickness and will get the evening off.

Up front, both Danick Gauthier and Michael Kirkpatrick will not play. Kirkpatrick has been nursing a few injuries throughout the playoffs while Gauthier ran into the Owen Sound Attack’s bench door last night and was in some pain. Steven Anthony and Jason Cameron will remain out as well.

Inserted into the lineup will be defensemen Jason Seed and Spencer MacDonald along with forward Devon-Oliver Dares.

Oliver-Dares and Seed both dressed during the playoffs while MacDonald hasn’t played with the Dogs since January.

Photo: Another embarrassing fail by Rogers Sportsnet courtesy of @moose_country

LIVE BLOG: Memorial Cup - Ice vs Sea Dogs

VIDEO: Draft profiles

NHL.com has been posting some draft profiles over the past few weeks of some top prospects. Several Sea Dogs are featured and someone has been kind enough to put them on YouTube.

Tomas Jurco:




PRE-GAME: Ice vs Sea Dogs

GAME DAY
2011 MasterCard Memorial Cup – Preliminary Round
Kootenay Ice vs Saint John Sea Dogs
Tonight, May 24, 2011 at 8:00 pm
Hershey Centre


PREVIEW
MISSISSAUGA, Ont. – The Kootenay Ice are the upset kings of the Canadian Hockey League.

En route to a Western Hockey League title, the Ice, who weren’t ranked in the final CHL Top 10, defeated the No. 2 team in the country, the Saskatoon Blades, in a four game sweep in the second round. After dispatching the Medicine Hat Tigers in the semifinals, they beat the No. 7 ranked Portland Winterhawks in five games to win the WHL championship.

Tonight, they are faced with the task of going up against the No. 1 ranked team in Canada – the Saint John Sea Dogs. Game time is 8:00 pm at the Hershey Centre (Rogers Sportsnet/RDS; News 88.9 FM).

Kootenay has gotten off to a bad start at the 2011 MasterCard Memorial Cup. They dropped their first game 5-0 against the Ontario Hockey League champion Owen Sound Attack on Saturday. On Sunday, they fell 2-1 to the host the Mississauga St. Michael’s Majors.

With the Ice being 0-2 at the tournament, a loss tonight means their season is over. A win and they will play in a tie-breaker on Thursday against the loser of Wednesday’s Attack-Majors game.

The Ice will surely be playing desperate hockey this evening against an up-tempo Saint John team that is coming off a thrilling 3-2 come-from-behind overtime win against Owen Sound yesterday.

The Sea Dogs played fairly well last night in an extremely entertaining contest. A late goal by Tomas Jurco sent to the match into extra time where Jonathan Huberdeau snipped the disc past Attack netminder Jordan Binnington to give the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League champs a 3-2 win and a 2-0 record.

With last night’s victory, the Sea Dogs have guaranteed themselves a spot in Sunday’s championship game. Now the question becomes how will Saint John play in a game that means virtually nothing to them?

Only one team has ever comeback from a 0-2 hole to win the Memorial Cup. That came back in 2009 when the Windsor Spitfires won their first of two straight national championships. In that tournament, the Kelowna Rockets failed to eliminate the Spitfires in the round-robin. Windsor then won the tie-breaker, the semifinal, and eventually dumped the Rockets 4-1 in the final.

Although the chances of that happening again are slim, the Sea Dogs may not want to take that risk.

POSTSCRIPT: Attack 2, Sea Dogs 3 (OT)

RECAPS
Scott Briggs’ recap from last night’s game. The Saint John Sea Dogs will play for the 2011 Memorial Cup championship on Sunday. It’s just a matter of waiting for an opponent.

Marty Klinkenberg’s recap. “At the end, I think we all needed CPR” – Stanislav Galiev

The Owen Sound Sun Times’ recap. "I thought I missed it but I hit the post and it went in" – Jonathan Huberdeau

The Toronto Sun’s recap. One thing is clear: The Owen Sound Attack and Saint John Sea Dogs deserve an encore performance.

Buzzing The Net’s recap. One night after a game everyone couldn't wait to see end, came one no one wanted to see end.

The National Post’s recap. “DeSerres kept his team in the game” – Jordan Binnigton

Rogers Sportsnet’s recap. The Sea Dogs battled back from an early 2-0 deficit to win in an exciting game 3-2 at 17:35 of overtime.

Mississauga.com’s recap. “That five-on-three was critical for us to score and we didn’t” - Owen Sound coach Mark Reeds.

SAINT JOHN SCRATCHES
Steven Anthony missed his seventh straight game with a lower-body injury. The Vancouver Canucks prospect has not played since Game One of the President’s Cup final.

Jason Cameron is out of the tournament with a bruised kidney.

Healthy scratches were defensemen Jason Seed and Spencer MacDonald, forward Devon Oliver-Dares, and goaltender Jacob Edwards.

VIDEO: Tomas Jurco puts on a show

The Saint John Sea Dogs’ dramatic overtime win in last night’s MasterCard Memorial Cup game against the Owen Sound Attack won’t be forgotten any time soon.

The match featured an unreal performance by import forward Tomas Jurco. The slick Slovak made a beautiful pass to setup Stanislav Galiev in the second period. He then tied the contest in the dying minutes of the third frame with a sick goal from a sharp angle.



“Jurco was outstanding tonight,’’ Sea Dogs head coach Gerard Gallant said to the Telegraph-Journal. “I thought it was his best game in a long time. He’s been outstanding and putting his stock up. He made some outstanding moves tonight and looked really fresh.’’

Steve Dangle asked Jurco about video games after the game. The description says: “Watching Tomas Jurco on the ice is pretty much like watching a video game. Sick hands, despicable dekes, dirty dangles. Tommy Toe-Drag, I call him. I ask him about videos games, because he essentially is one."

DOGS BOOK THEIR TRIP TO CUP FINAL

SN RECAP
FINAL (OT): Attack 2, Sea Dogs 3


MISSISSAUGA, Ont. – For the first time since 2006, a Quebec Major Junior Hockey League team will play in the MasterCard Memorial Cup final.

The Saint John Sea Dogs punched their ticket to Sunday’s final with a dramatic, come-from-behind 3-2 overtime victory over the Owen Sound Attack on Monday NIGHT at the Hershey Centre. It was an instant classic and by far the best game of the 2011 Canadian Hockey League national championship tournament thus far.

The Attack held a 2-0 lead after one and a 2-1 edge after two. But a YouTube worthy goal by Tomas Jurco in the final five minutes of the third sent the match into overtime. In the extra frame, who else other than Jonathan “Hoobadoo” Huberdeau would net the winner at 17:35 to send the Dogs to the Cup final.

Stanislav Galiev, Jurco, and Huberdeau all scored for Saint John to improve to 2-0 at the Memorial Cup. Jacob DeSerres was sensational in net, making 47 saves for the win. It was a rare night as the Attack managed to outshoot the Sea Dogs 49-44.

Owen Sound, 1-1, had their markers from Matt Petgrave and Andrew Shaw. Goaltender Jordan Binnington was an absolute beast in net, stopping 41 shots in the loss.

It was an epic back-and-forth, high paced affair that had a national television audience watching on. Huberdeau, who has become the tournament’s must see attraction, didn’t even have his best night overall.

The Sea Dogs still have one game left in the round-robin, but, no matter what happens in that contest, they will play for a national championship on Sunday. The last Memorial Cup final that featured a QMJHL team came in 2006 when the Quebec Remparts defeated the Moncton Wildcats.

Monday, May 23, 2011

LIVE BLOG: Memorial Cup - Attack vs Sea Dogs

PRE-GAME: Attack vs Sea Dogs

GAME DAY
2011 MasterCard Memorial Cup – Preliminary Round
Owen Sound Attack Saint John Sea Dogs
Tonight, May 23, 2011 at 8:00 pm
Hershey Centre


PREVIEW
MISSISSAUGA, Ont. – The Saint John Sea Dogs can earn a berth in the Sunday’s MasterCard Memorial Cup final with a victory tonight over the Owen Sound Attack (8pm AST; Rogers Sportsnet/RDS, News 88.9).

If the Attack pull off a win tonight, things will get a bit more complicated in terms of who gets a bye to the final. From Rogers Sportsnet:

The tournament bracket currently favours the Sea Dogs, who could earn a bye straight through to Sunday's final with a win on Monday. A win by the Attack, on the other hand, puts them in the driver's seat to get the bye, but doesn't come with the same guarantee as it would for Saint John.

Without overstating all the mathematical implications of an Owen Sound win, both teams will be looking to make their road to the final much easier in a battle between the tournament's only two unbeaten teams.
“You know, when we got here we obviously told the kids about the scenarios and our goal was to win three games,” said Sea Dogs head coach Gerard Gallant to Mississauga.com.

“If it takes less than that, that would be great but we just worry about one game at a time.”

No matter who wins this evening, we should be in for a dandy. Both teams sit at 1-0 after opening the tournament with victories. Saint John last played on Friday and defeated the host Mississauga St. Michael’s Majors by score of 4-3. Owen Sound had an easier time in their opening match as they blew out the Kootenay Ice 5-0.

Mississauga and Kootenay met last night with the Majors wining 2-1. It was a snooze fest at times, but tonight’s matchup should provide some more entertainment.

The Attack won the Ontario Hockey League title in seven games over the Majors. Owen Sound won two of their four games in that series at the Hershey Centre – including the decisive Game Seven victory.

The winner of tonight’s game will carry a lot of momentum going forward with a 2-0 record. The Attack return to action on Wednesday against Mississauga while the Sea Dogs play tomorrow against Kootenay.

HISHON WILL NOT PLAY VS SAINT JOHN

The Owen Sound Attack will have a big hole in their lineup tonight when they face the Saint John Sea Dogs in the fourth game of the 2011 MasterCard Memorial Cup.

Joey Hishon, who was hurt in the third period of Saturday’s game against the Kootenay Ice, will not play tonight. He missed Owen Sound's skate this morning and head coach Mark Reeds has announced he will not play this evening.

Nothing has been officially announced, but Hishon likely has a concussion after being elbowed in the head by Ice captain Brayden McNabb. The Kootenay defenseman was suspended for yesterday’s game against the Mississauga St Michael’s Majors, a game that the Ice lost 2-1.

"He's not playing tonight," Reeds said in a tweet by Rogers Sportsnet's Tony Ambrogio. "He did a baseline test and we'll have to wait on the results."

A Colorado Avalanche top prospect, Hishon recorded 37 goals and 87 points in 50 games in the regular season. He added five goals and 19 assists in 22 playoff games to help the Attack capture the Ontario Hockey League title.

His 24 playoff points tied him with teammate Robby Mignardi atop the OHL’s post-season scoring list.

The Attack, 1-0, have one more round-robin game following tonight’s game which goes down on Wednesday against the Majors.

SEA DOGS NOTEBOOK

BOSTON PIZZA PARTY


Boston Pizza Saint John’s Facebook page has some photos up from Friday’s Memorial Cup viewing party. All of Saint John’s Memorial Cup games will be aired at the restaurant.

THE KIDS ARE ALRIGHT
The Globe and Mail had a solid article on the Sea Dogs’ road to the Memorial Cup, discussing everything from draft rankings to the unique structure of the coaching staff. On Mike Kelly and Gerard Gallant working together behind the bench:

They are junior hockey’s answer to Hollywood’s Coen brothers – each is involved in directing the picture and they resort to titles of convenience.

“I’m not sure it would work for everybody, but it works real well for us,” smiled Kelly, a former assistant coach with the Vancouver Canucks who has previously piloted benches at the University of New Brunswick and in the WHL and OHL.
There is also a small part on the Sea Dogs’ alleged “cheating” at the 2009 QMJHL Entry Draft.

SCOUTS ARE WATCHING
The Toronto Sun had a piece on Saint John and its domination of draft rankings.

“We’ve had a lot of hype and a lot of added pressure, but we’ve fed off each other,” defenseman Nathan Beaulieu said. “I want to win a Memorial Cup first and worry about the draft after that.”

The Sun also brings up the fact that Saint John is an early contender for next year’s Memorial Cup. Gerard Gallant talked about the failed Memorial Cup bid.

“Our team could be as good next year as it was this year,” said Gallant, whose players set a franchise record with 58 wins in the regular season. “We were disappointed, shocked. We’re going to have to do it the hard way.”

BASEBALL
The Sea Dogs went to the Houston Astros – Toronto Blue Jays game on Saturday afternoon at Rogers Centre. As Sunaya Supurji of Yahoo! Sports Canada writes, import Tomas Jurco isn’t very familiar with America’s pastime.

"There is no baseball," said Jurco (photo) of his homeland. "So I didn't even know the rules before I got to the game. My teammates were trying to explain it to me."

VIDEO: Owen Sound - Saint John Preview

A snazzy preview of tonight’s Owen Sound – Saint John game from ‘A’ News London.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

MAJORS DOWN ICE FOR FIRST WIN

FINAL: Mississauga 2, Kootenay 1

MISSISSAUGA, Ont. – The 2011 MasterCard Memorial Cup hosts have their first win.

Rob Flick scored the winner at 11:51 of the third period to give the Mississauga St. Michael’s Majors a 2-1 victory over the Kootenay Ice in the third match of the Canadian Hockey League championship tournament on Sunday night.

Kootenay’s Cody Eakin opened the scoring at 7:55 of the first period on a power play to give the Ice their first lead of the Memorial Cup. But the Majors quickly tied it up as Russian forward Maxim Kitsyn netted his first of the tournament to make it a 1-1 game.

It would remain scoreless until Flick’s third period marker.

JP Anderson made 32 stops in the Majors net to end his club’s three game losing streak. Nathan Lieuwen allowed two goals on 34 shots.

Mississauga outshot Kootenay 34-33 even though the Ice outshot them in both the first and second frames.

It was a tight, physical affair that had its nasty moments. The Ice were already without their captain, Brayden McNabb, who was serving a one-game suspension for his elbow to the head of Owen Sound Attack forward Joe Hishon.

Kootenay is now in a major hole with a 0-2 record. As mentioned throughout the broadcast, only one team has ever come back from dropping the first two games to win the Memorial Cup.

The Ice play their final game of the preliminary round on Tuesday against the Saint John Sea Dogs. The Sea Dogs must face Owen Sound first, though, a game that will be played tomorrow at 8:00 pm.

Mississauga closes the round-robin on Wednesday against the Attack.

Photo Credit: The Globe and Mail

REEDS, GALLANT MEET AGAIN TOMORROW

The Saint John Sea Dogs and Owen Sound Attack have never played each other. But, as brought up in the media today, their head coaches have met before on the ice.

“That’s pretty cool,” said Sea Dogs captain Mike Thomas to the Toronto Sun when he heard of a fight between Gerard Gallant and Mark Reeds back in their National Hockey League days.



“I think the guys had it on the bus and (veteran forward Andrew) Shaw was giving me heck for it,” said Reeds who was with St. Louis Blues at the time of the scrap. “I didn’t do too well in that one. I think I got a few shots in there but I didn’t get the win.”

Gallant was an intermission guest on Rogers Sportsnet’s broadcast of the Mississauga St. Michael’s Majors – Kootenay Ice game Sunday. Along with Nick Kypreos calling him “Gerald,” a brief clip of the video above was shown.

Both Reeds and Gallant enjoyed lengthy NHL careers and now they are hoping for a lengthy stay at the 2011 MasterCard Memorial Cup. The two teams, both 1-0 to start the tournament, play each other tomorrow at 8:00 pm at the Hershey Centre.

Could we see another Gallant-climbing-the-glass-to-get-at-Danny-Flynn moment? We’ll see.

LOOKING FOR A WIN

GAME DAY
2011 MasterCard Memorial Cup – Preliminary Round
Mississauga St. Michael’s Majors vs Kootenay Ice
Tonight, May 22, 2011 at 8:00 pm
Hershey Centre


MISSISSAUGA, Ont. – It’s a battle of two 0-1 teams at the 2011 MasterCard Memorial Cup this evening as the host Mississauga St. Michael’s Majors take on the Western Hockey League champion Kootenay Ice. Game time is 8:00 pm AST and can be seen on Rogers Sportsnet and RDS.

The Majors are coming off a 4-3 loss in the tournament opener on Friday night against the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League champion Saint John Sea Dogs. The played basically on par with the Sea Dogs for most of the night but were unable to get a late goal to tie it up.

Mississauga is currently on one of their worst stretches of the season. Going back to the Ontario Hockey League final against the Owen Sound Attack, the Majors have lost three straight contests five of their last six. The team lost only 15 games during the regular season and just one through the first three rounds of the playoffs.

They got into some penalty trouble on Friday night against Saint John, allowing the Sea Dogs to score three times while a man up. They’ll surely want to be more disciplined even if the officials are better.

Kootenay is coming off a rough loss last night. They trailed the Attack 2-0 entering the third period but fell apart, allowing the OHL champs to score three times and win easily by score of 5-0.

The Ice will in tough as they look to rebound tonight at the Hershey Centre. Their captain, Brayden McNabb, has been suspended by the Memorial Cup Disciplinary Committee for tonight’s match following his elbow-to-the-head of Attack star Joey Hishon.



Brian O’Neill, discipline chairman for the Memorial Cup, said in a release that “following review of the referee’s report, and watching all of the television footage of the incident, I determined that it was a reckless action by the player but not a deliberate attempt to injure.”

Tonight is a huge match for both teams. The team that comes out of it with an 0-2 record will be in rough shape moving forward.

HOWES NAMED MVP IN CUP WIN

For the second straight season, a former Saint John Sea Dog has won the East Coast Hockey League’s Kelly Cup. And for a second straight year, an ex-Sea Dog was named the playoffs Most Valuable Player.

Scott Howes, who played with Saint John during the 2007-08 season, helped the Alaska Aces win the Kelly Cup in five games over the Kalamazoo Wings. The Aces clinched their second cup in team history with a 5-3 win last night.

Howes, who previously held the Sea Dogs record for goals scored in a single season until Mike Hoffman and Jonathan Huberdeau came along, finished tied for third in ECHL playoff goal scoring with seven markers. From the league’s website:

Howes led the Aces in scoring during the postseason with seven goals, 19 points and a +11 rating in 11 games. He had an 11-game scoring streak come to an end on Saturday. He led the Kelly Cup Playoffs in plus-minus while he was tied for third in goals and tied for fourth in points.
He battled through some pain en route to claiming MVP honours. From the Alaska newspaper Anchorage Daily News:

He has a torn labrum in his left shoulder -- he has for months, and wears a brace beneath his No. 13 sweater -- and will undergo surgery soon.

Howes, who missed Game 3 of the Finals, which incidentally was the Aces' lone loss in 13 playoff games, has also been feeling off-kilter after absorbing some wicked hits early in the series with the Kalamazoo Wings.
Former Sea Dogs goaltender Robert Mayer won the MVP award last season along with fellow ‘tender Jeremy Smith. Mayer, who is Montreal Canadiens property, helped the Cincinnati Cyclones win last year’s Kelly Cup.

Howes had a solid season in Alaska. He recorded 22 goals and 58 points in 59 games and was a plus-two. He had spent the last two season with the ECHL’s Victoria Salmon Kings.

The Toronto native came to Saint John in a trade early on in the 2007-08 campaign. He finished the year 42 goals and 28 assists and finished third in team scoring behind Chris DiDomenico and Ryan Sparling.

Photo Credit: Kalamazoo Gazette

SEA DOGS NOTEBOOK

JAYS GAME


The Sea Dogs took in the Houston Astros - Toronto Blue Jays game at Rogers Centre yesterday. Pierre Durepos tweeted the above picture.

SAD TIMES
Rogers Sportsnet’s “junior hockey panel” of Darren Millard, Doug MacLean, and Nick Kypreos has been, well, interesting.

Before the Owen Sound – Kootenay game last night, Kypreos hilariously mispronounced Huberdeau’s name as “Hoo-ba-doo.”

The Sea Dogs media guide that was handed out to media covering the tournament lists “HYOO-bear-doo” as the correct saying.

ANOTHER DeSERRES STORY
Yet another story on Jacob DeSerres’ road to redemption. This one from the Windsor Star.

“Looking back at the end of last year, I never would have thought of this as a situation that would be happening, but I couldn't be more thankful,” DeSerres said. “It couldn't have turned out better. I don't think there's a team in the CHL that I'd rather be on right now.”
ANTHONY SIGNS
There has been no official announcement but there have been plenty of reports that Steven Anthony has signed a contract with the Vancouver Canucks.

"It was a pretty awesome day," said Anthony to Mississauga.com on Friday.

"If you have one of those things in a day, it's pretty special. I'm really excited to get the contract but honestly, the Memorial Cup win is the biggest thing because I've played for the Sea Dogs the whole year to win the Memorial Cup and to get the first win tonight is definitely part of it."

Anthony is still suffering from a lower body injury he suffered in Game One of the President’s Cup final and is questionable for Monday’s game against Owen Sound.

The Canucks drafted Anthony in the seventh round of the 2009 NHL Entry Draft.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

ATTACK BEAT ICE

FINAL: Attack 5, Ice 0

MISSISSAUGA, Ont. – The Owen Sound Attack laid a beating on the Kootenay Ice on Saturday night at the 2011 MasterCard Memorial Cup.

Robby Mignardi scored twice while Roman Berdnikov, Garrett Wilson, and Andrew Fritsch added single markers. Goaltender Jordan Binnington, part of the Attack’s bizarre triumvirate of netminders, made 29 stops to earn the shutout.

Owen Sound’s win sets up a battle of 1-0 teams on Monday night when they face the Saint John Sea Dogs. The Dogs won their opening game 4-3 over the Mississauga St. Michael’s Majors on Friday at the Hershey Centre.

Tomorrow’s game will feature both 0-1 teams going at it as the Majors take on the Ice at 8:00 pm. Kootenay will look to rebound from this blowout loss while the Majors look to end a losing streak.

The Attack led 1-0 after one period in Saturday’s game thanks to Magnardi’s first goal of the match. Shots in the opening stanza were 12-6 Owen Sound.

In the second, Berdnikov scored the lone goal of the frame at 3:30. Shots were 15-6 in favour of the Ice.

Owen Sound blew it open in the third period. Just when it looked Kootenay may have a chance to get back in it because of a power play, Mignardi added his second of the match while shorthanded to make it 3-0.

The play that everyone will be talking about tomorrow came at 14:25 as Brayden McNabb elbowed Joey Hishon and got a five-minute major and game misconduct for his actions. Hishon sat on the ice bleeding for a few minutes and then left the game.

The Attack would add two late power play goals to make it a 5-0 final.

Photo Credit: Getty Images

ATTACK, ICE MEET TONIGHT

GAME DAY
2011 MasterCard Memorial Cup – Preliminary Round
Owen Sound Attack vs Kootenay Ice
Tonight, May 21, 2011 at 8:00 pm
Hershey Centre


MISSISSAUGA, Ont. - Two of the Canadian Hockey League’s smallest markets go head-to-head tonight in Mississauga at the 2011 MasterCard Memorial Cup as the Ontario Hockey League champion Owen Sound Attack face the Western Hockey League champion Kootenay Ice.

Game time is 8:00 pm at the Hershey Centre. It can be seen live across the country on Rogers Sportsnet and RDS.

The Memorial Cup opened last night when the host Mississauga St. Michael’s Majors fell 4-3 to the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League champion Saint John Sea Dogs.

The Attack know how to win at the Hersey Centre after upsetting the Majors in a seven-game series to win the OHL title. They even won Game Seven – in overtime – in Mississauga. Given the proximity, there should be plenty of Attack fans in house tonight.

Owen Sound’s goaltending situation is a big storyline entering this tournament as they have three qualified netminders. Jordan Binnington will get the call in goal this evening.

Kootenay is the Cinderella team in this year’s event after becoming the upset kings in the WHL. The Ice swept the No. 2 nationally ranked Saskatoon Blades in the second round and then defeated the loaded Portland Winterhawks in five games in the final.

The Ice feature Canadian world junior forward and Washington Capitals prospect Cody Eakin.

After tonight’s game, the Majors and Ice do battle tomorrow night. The Sea Dogs are back in action Monday when they face Owen Sound.

POSTSCRIPT: Sea Dogs 4, Majors 3

RECAPS
Scott Briggs’ recap of last night’s game. “Overall it was a pretty good effort. There wasn’t much between the two teams.’’ – Sea Dogs head coach Gerard Gallant.

Marty Klinkenberg’s recap. “It was obviously huge for us to come in here, play a tough opponent and get our first win’’ – Gallant

Mississauga.com’s recap. “We lost our composure, no doubt” – Mississauga head coach Dave Cameron

Rogers Sportsnet’s recap. "I was on the ice, I thought it was off-side right away” – Majors defenseman Marc Cantin.

The National Post’s recap. “If you can’t make the right calls in this tournament,” he said, “you shouldn’t be reffing.” – Justin Shugg

The Globe and Mail’s recap. “Three guys from PEI,” Gallant said. “We enjoy it. It’s a lot of fun. We’re all very good friends. Hopefully we’ll have the chance to do it but Dave wants the same thing.”

The Toronto Sun’s recap. "Since I got to Saint John (in October), we've talked about the Mem Cup" – goaltender Jacob DeSerres

“It’s not fun to come to a tournament like this and have the outcome we did because of the officiating,” Majors forward Justin Shugg said. Toronto Sun

SaintJohnSeaDogs.com’s recap. “The Saint John Sea Dogs won in their first-ever appearance at the MasterCard Memorial Cup”

IN TODAY'S T-J


In today’s Telegraph-Journal, there is a special insert commemorating the Saint John Sea Dogs’ President’s Cup win.

The insert features pictures from Saint John’s Game Six victory last Sunday in Gatineau, player profiles that have appeared in the paper throughout the year, and a number of articles written by the T-J stuff from throughout the playoffs.

Definitely worth checking out.

SAINT JOHN WINS OPENER

SN RECAP
FINAL: Sea Dogs 4, Majors 3


MISSISSAUGA, Ont. – Jacob DeSerres began his road to redemption at the MasterCard Memorial Cup with an impressive performance.

The Saint John Sea Dogs goaltender came up huge at times as he backstopped his team to a 4-3 win over the Mississauga St. Michael’s Majors in the opening game of the Canadian Hockey League championship tournament.

The stats sheet shows that he only made 24 saves on the night, but without DeSerres’ performance, the Sea Dogs may not have left the Hershey Centre on Friday night with a victory. He made several stops to keep momentum going in Saint John’s favour and weathered the storm on several Majors power play attempts.

Saint John had goals from Michael Kirkpatrick, Jonathan Huberdeau, Tomas Jurco, and Nathan Beaulieu. Beaulieu netted the game-winner in the third period on a controversial play that appeared to be offside.

But the missed offside call wasn’t the only officiating problem as several questionable penalty calls were made throughout the contest. The officiating was almost as bad Doug MacLean’s microphone.

Mississauga had two goals from captain Casey Cizikas and a single marker from Devante Smith-Pelly. Goaltender JP Anderson allowed four goals on 31 shots.

It was far from perfect, but the Sea Dogs performance got the job done. They battled hard against a tough Majors team all night long, they survived the hostile crowd, and they got through the hoopla of playing in the tournament opener.

Now, they will have two days off to prepare for Monday’s match against the Owen Sound Attack.