SYDNEY, NS – The Saint John Sea Dogs and Cape Breton Screaming Eagles will be seeing a lot of each other over the next couple weeks.
The Sea Dogs’ 4-0 win in Cape Breton Friday night means the two will meet in the first round of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League playoffs which begin next Friday at Harbour Station. It is the third time in four years the two will face each other in the opening round.
Before the playoffs begin though, Saint John and Cape Breton will meet again tomorrow night at Centre 200 in the regular season finale for both teams.
The win also adds Saint John to a few more sections of the QMJHL’s record book. The Sea Dogs became the first team in league history to record three straight 100-point seasons. They also tied the QMJHL record for shutouts in one season with eight.
The Dogs became the first team in QMJHL history to win three consecutive regular season titles on Wednesday in Halifax. A win tomorrow night will give the regaining national champs another accomplishment, becoming the only team to record back-to-back-to-back 50-win campaigns.
On Friday, Charlie Coyle scored twice for Saint John while singles came from Kevin Gagne and Stanislav Galiev. Sebastien Auger recorded the shutout victory, making 29 saves.
Cape Breton goaltender William Racicot allowed four goals on 28 shots in the loss.
Cape Breton had the early pressure, forcing Sea Dogs goaltender Sebastien Auger to make a few stops in the first few minutes of the game.
The Eagles went to the power play at 5:42. On the man advantage, William Carrier cut in front but couldn’t get a shot off. Cape Breton managed to produce a decent PP.
Saint John then started to turn it on. Jonathan Huberdeau fed a streaking Danick Gauthier but he couldn’t get much of a shot off. Then Eagles ‘tender William Racicot made a fine pad stop off Stanislav Galiev. A little later, Racicot couldn’t quite handle a Pierre Durepos shot with the glove, allowing Charlie Coyle to get a few whacks at it in the crease but was unable to bang it in.
The Dogs made it 1-0 at 14:16. Coyle passed to Kevin Gagne who pinched in from the point, beating Racicot with a low shot to open the scoring.
Soon after that, Raphael Corriveau made a nice move to get around a Saint John defenseman but couldn’t get a shot on goal.
The Dogs went to the man advantage at 16:45. At 17:43, Coyle deposited the puck after Gagne found him to give Saint John a 2-0 lead after one.
First period was about as eventful as an episode of the Jersey Shore. Shots were 8-5 Saint John in the first.
Cole Murphy had a good chance early on but was stopped by Auger’s pad.
Saint John went to the power play at 4:06 but weren’t very productive.
At 6:40, Denis Kindl made some big time moves to enter the Saint John crease area all alone but was robbed by Auger. On the same play, Dany Potvin and Spencer MacDonald dropped the gloves for a spirited tilt.
Saint John went back to the power play at 7:28. The Dogs power play was running like a machine with Phillips and Coyle both getting great chances. Finally, at 9:11, Huberdeau was behind the goal line and fed an open Coyle. Racicot was down snoozing as Coyle beat him upstairs to make it a 3-0 game.
At 12:42, Stanislav Galiev beat Racicot with a hard shot to give the Dogs a 4-0 lead. Saint John capitalized on a Stephen Woodworth turnover on the goal.
A little later on, Cory MacIntosh’s point shot was stopped nicely by the Sea Dogs netminder. Then, Huberdeau made a cross crease pass to Gauthier but was robbed by Racicot.
The Sea Dogs went to a four-minute man advantage at 19:04 as Corriveau headed off for high sticking. But then at 19:19, Auger robbed Kyle Farrell on a shorthanded breakaway. Stephen MacAulay picked up a slashing penalty on the play to give us some four-on-four hockey.
Shots in the middle frame were 11 apiece.
On the power play that carried over into the third, the Sea Dogs didn’t get much going.
Cape Breton went to the power play at 5:49. Carrier had a good chance as he turned on the jets but could not break the Auger wall.
The Eagles would have another man advantage at 9:01. Michael Clarke had a great chance in frontg but sent his backhand shot high. Then Farrell had a solid opportunity in front but was denied by Auger.
At 10:32, Coyle headed to the box. While shorthanded, Ryan Tesink fed MacAulay on a two-on-one but Racicot made the glove stop. After Coyle’s penalty expired, Oliver Cooper made a great pass to Gauthier through the crease but could not beat the Eagles backstopper.
Carrier had another chance late in the frame but sailed the puck high.
Shots in the third were 13-9 Cape Breton.
Saint John went 2-for-5 on the power play while Cape Breton went 0-for-4.
MISSING IN ACTION: Maxime Villemaire missed the game with a sprained knee, an injury he suffered on Wednesday in Halifax. According to News 88.9, he has been walking around on crutches and will be revaluated next week. Tomas Jurco had some travel issues and could not make back in time to play. Nathan Beaulieu got the night off, Ian Saab served the second game of an eight-game suspension, and Devon Oliver-Dares was still out with a broken collarbone.
CALLED UP: The Sea Dogs called up affiliate players Dylan McGuigan and Jordan Moore for the game. Moore, who was acquired by Saint John during the holiday trading period, made his Sea Dogs debut.
NEXT GAME: The Sea Dogs and Eagles end the regular season tomorrow night at 7pm at Centre 200.
Photo Credit: Marc Henwood/Station Nation
Photo Credit: Marc Henwood/Station Nation