Thursday, April 30, 2015

Rimouski To Play Quebec In QMJHL Final

It’s been a fantastic post-season in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League. But the semifinals… they weren’t so great.

The Quebec Remparts and Rimouski Oceanic both advanced to the President Cup finals with sweeps over the Moncton Wildcats and Val-d’Or Foreurs, respectively. Quebec outscored Moncton 20-5 and Rimouski outscored Val-d’Or 17-5.

Of course, with Quebec hosting this year’s Memorial Cup, Rimouski has automatically earned a berth in the tournament.

Although it’s hard to believe given the regular season success of the Remparts over the past decade, this will be Quebec’s first appearance in the league final since 2006 when they lost to the Wildcats. Rimouski returns to the final for the first time since 2012 where they lost to Saint John.

Rimouski won the regular season series between the two, going 5-2-1-0.

With both teams getting their semifinal series done so quickly, the schedule for the final will be a bit funky.

Game 1 - Tue May 5 | 7:00 PM | Québec @ Rimouski
Game 2 - Fri May 8 | 7:00 PM | Québec @ Rimouski
Game 3 - Sun May 10 | 3:00 PM | Rimouski @ Québec
Game 4 - Wed May 13 | 7:00 PM | Rimouski @ Québec
Game 5 - Fri May 15 | 7:00 PM | * Québec @ Rimouski
Game 6 - Sun May 17 | 3:00 PM | * Rimouski @ Québec
Game 7 - Mon May 18 | 7:00 PM | * Québec @ Rimouski

The Memorial Cup begins on Friday, May 22.

Some other news and notes…
  • Marcus Cuomo is the only former Sea Dog taking part in the President Cup final.
  • Tomas Jurco and the Detroit Red Wings had their season come to an end last night with a 2-0 loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning in game seven of their first round series. Jurco only saw 7:19 of ice time last night, recording one shot.
  • The Lightning will now face Nathan Beaulieu and the Montreal Canadiens in the second round. That series begins tomorrow night. Beaulieu has been ruled out for at least the first four games with an upper body injury.
  • Simon Despres and the Anaheim Ducks begin their second round series against the Calgary Flames tonight.

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Wildcats Eliminated

There won't be a Maritimes based team in the President Cup final this year.

The Moncton Wildcats, the last non-Quebec team remaining, had their season come to an end last night with a 7-0 loss to the Quebec Remparts. The Remparts swept the semifinal series in four games, outscoring the 'Cats 20-5.

Quebec, this year’s Memorial Cup host team, has been steadily improving ever since their seven-game first round series against the Cape Breton Screaming Eagles. The Remparts have now won nine straight games and swept their past two series.

Moncton’s season ending means an end to former Sea Dogs forward Noah Zilbert’s season. He had eight goals and eight assists in 33 regular season games with the Wildcats and added another two assists in 12 playoff games.

The Remparts feature former Sea Dogs forward Marcus Cuomo but he has not played since the first round.

Meanwhile, in the other semifinal, the Rimouski Oceanic lead the Val-d’Or Foreurs 3-0 heading into game four tonight. With Quebec advancing to the league final, the winner of the Rimouski-Val-d’Or series will automatically earn a trip to the Memorial Cup.

Some other news and notes…
  • Tomas Jurco and the Detroit Red Wings are in Tampa Bay tonight to face the Lightning in game seven of their first round series. The winner will go on to play Nathan Beaulieu and the Montreal Canadiens in the second round.
  • Charlie Coyle and the Minnesota Wild will face the Chicago Blackhawks in the second round while Simon Despres and the Anaheim Ducks will take on the Calgary Flames. The Anaheim series begins tomorrow and the Minnesota series on Friday.
  • Mike Hoffman finished the playoffs with one goal and two assists in six games with the Ottawa Senators.

Photo: Marc Henwood/Station Nation

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Canada Wins U-18 Bronze

After suffering a 7-2 loss in the semifinals, Team Canada rebounded with a 5-2 victory over host Switzerland on Sunday to win bronze at the 2015 IIHF World Under-18 Championship.

Sea Dogs forward Nathan Noel and defenseman Thomas Chabot were both held pointless in the game but were each a +1. Noel also had two shots.
Noel finished the tournament with two assists in seven games. Chabot had one goal and five assists in seven games, placing him third in tournament defensemen scoring.

Sea Dogs defenseman Jakub Zboril had his tournament end in the quarterfinals when the United States defeated the Czech Republic 7-2. He registered a goal and an assist in the three games he was eligible to play in.

The United States, which also defeated Canada 7-2 in Saturday’s semifinal, defeated Finland 2-1 in overtime this afternoon to take home the gold.

Photo: IIHF website

Thursday, April 23, 2015

SN's Third Round Predictions

MONCTON – Four teams remain in the hunt for the QMJHL’s President Cup.

The quarterfinals just ended on Tuesday night but the semifinals start swinging right away with the Quebec Remparts taking on the Moncton Wildcats tonight at the Coliseum. In the other series, the top seeded Rimouski Oceanic take on the red hot Val-d’Or Foreurs beginning tomorrow night.

This year’s playoffs have been exceptional and hopefully this round will be as well. Here are the Station Nation staff’s picks.

Val-d’Or Foreurs (6) vs Rimouski Oceanic (1)
Kevin Chambers – SN Draft Guru: Rimouski in 5
The Rimouski Oceanic are coming off another short series against an underrated Gatineau squad and have still only lost a single game through the first two rounds of the playoffs. The Val-d’Or Foreurs are coming off an improbable victory in seven games after being down three games to none against the Baie Comeau Drakkar. Both teams will be riding a wave of momentum so something has to give and I’m sticking with the favorites in this one – the Oceanic. Their offense will expose the Foreurs’ defense and goaltending. The Oceanic are better in all areas and the stakes are high given the winner could potentially get a bye into the Memorial Cup (with a Quebec victory over Moncton).

Lorne Webster – SN Writer: Rimouski in 5
After a huge comeback from 0-3 to defeat Baie-Comeau of OT in game seven, the Foreurs behaved poorly. I have a feeling that karma is going to come back to haunt them. A powerful - and well-rested - crew from Rimouski are simply too strong for Val-d'Or this time around. The Oceanic entered the season as big time favorites and appear to be on their way to an appearance in the Memorial Cup.

Jamie Tozer – SN Editor: Rimouski in 5
I see this series being like the Winnipeg – Anaheim series that just ended. The games will be close but the series will end quickly. The Foreurs, although they are no doubt feeling some fatigue from their quarterfinal series, will be riding plenty of momentum and should give the Oceanic a decent run – but not a long run. Rimouski is just too good and they’ve shown that so far in this year’s playoffs.

Hoffman's Goal Keeps Sens Alive

MONCTON – Mike Hoffman has kept the Ottawa Senators alive.

Hoffman scored at 9:05 of the third period last night, a goal that ended up being the only one scored in the game. The Senators, facing elimination, are now down 3-1 in their first round series against the Montreal Canadiens.

The goal was Hoffman’s first of the playoffs. He had a few good scoring chances in the game, finishing the night with four shots in 12:54 of ice time.


According to Hockey Night in Canada, the shot clocked in at 124.9 km/h.

As expected, Nathan Beaulieu did not play for the Habs last night. He will miss the remainder of the series with an upper body injury.

Some other news and notes…

  • Simon Despres helped set up the game and series winning goal as the Anaheim Ducks defeated the Winnipeg Jets 5-2 last night to complete a series sweep. Despres registered an assist on Ryan Kesler’s third period goal at 6:41, making it 3-1 Ducks at the time. Despres also had two shots and four hits in an impressive 20:49 of ice time. Only one Duck had more ice time than Despres.
  • It was a rough night for Charlie Coyle and the Minnesota Wild as they fell 6-1 to the St. Louis Blues on home ice last night. Coyle was held pointless with one shot and a -1 rating in 14:43 of ice time. The series is now tied 2-2.
  • Tomas Jurco and the Detroit Red Wings return to action tonight. They lead the Tampa Bay Lightning 2-1 in the series after a 3-0 win on Tuesday. Jurco played just 6:49 in game three. The former Sea Dog has been credited with a goal in this year’s playoffs thanks to a scoring change in game one, a goal that came eight seconds into the second period. From the Red Wings website: “by changing the goal, it also means that Jurco now owns the Wings’ club playoff record for the fastest goal at the start of a period. The previous mark was 0:09 set by Gordie Howe in the first period of Game 5 of the 1954 Stanley Cup semifinals against Toronto goalie Harry Lumley.”
  • At the Under-18 World Hockey Championship today, the Czech Republic takes on the United States and Team Canada faces Sweden.
  • The QMJHL semifinals begin tonight with Noah Zilbert and the Moncton Wildcats hosting Marcus Cuomo’s Quebec Remparts. Cuomo has not played since the first round. 

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Wildcats, Foreurs Advance To Semifinals

MONCTON - The Moncton Wildcats are moving on.

The Wildcats defeated the Halifax Mooseheads 6-3 last night in game seven of a wild and whacky quarterfinal playoff series at the Moncton Coliseum. The victory advanced the Wildcats to the league semifinals where they’ll play the Memorial Cup host Quebec Remparts.

Game one of the Wildcats-Remparts semifinal series is tomorrow night at 7 p.m. at the Coliseum.

It certainly wasn’t the prettiest series for the Wildcats but it was entertaining. Alex Dubeau was good when he had to be and Connor Garland and Ivan Barbashev stepped up at key times. Garland had five assists last night, nearly matching the six he registered in game five.

Making it to game seven of the second round has to be considered an accomplishment for the Mooseheads, who were seeded 12th entering the playoffs. Nikolaj Ehlers was unreal this post-season and likely played his last game with the Mooseheads last night.
In the other game seven last night, the Val-d’Or Foreurs beat the Baie-Comeau Drakkar 4-3 in overtime to win the series. The Drakkar blew a 3-0 series lead and 3-1 lead last night.
Via @DenisL_1981, here’s the overtime winner and the shenanigans that followed.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Big Day For Sea Dogs In Switzerland

It was a big day for Saint John Sea Dogs defensemen at the IIHF World Under-18 Hockey Championship in Switzerland.

In Canada’s 3-2 victory over Finland, Thomas Chabot recorded a goal and an assist to go along with two shots. Chabot finished the preliminary round of the tournament with one goal and four assists in four games.
Sea Dogs forward Nathan Noel had one shot in the game. Noel has two assists in four games.

Meanwhile, in the Czech Republic’s 5-0 win over Switzerland, Jakub Zboril returned to action and registered a goal and an assist. He also had three shots, was a +4 and was named the Czech’s player of the game.

Canada won Group A with a 4-0 record while the Czech Republic finished with a 2-2 record. Canada will play Sweden in the quarterfinals on Thursday while the Czechs will play the United States.

Photo via IIHF website

Monday, April 20, 2015

VIDEO: Beaulieu Rocked By Karlsson Hit

It was a hit heard ‘round the hockey world last night, and unfortunately for Nathan Beaulieu, he was the victim.

Midway through the second period of last night’s playoff game between the Ottawa Senators and Montreal Canadiens, Beaulieu got rocked by Erik Karlsson in open ice.


It was a rough game for Beaulieu who took a few big hits. His team had the last laugh though, winning 2-1 in overtime and taking a 3-0 series lead. Game four is Wednesday night in Ottawa. Beaulieu’s status for the game is unclear.
Former Sea Dogs forward Mike Hoffman was a -1 with three hits in 10:26 of ice time for the Senators last night.

Sunday, April 19, 2015

U-18 Team Improves To 3-0

Team Canada improved to 3-0 at the World Under-18 Hockey Championship today with a 3-2 victory over the Czech Republic.

Shawinigan’s Anthony Beauvillier had two goals for Canada while Parker Wotherspoon added the other. Saint John’s Thomas Chabot had one assist in the game while Nathan Noel was held pointless.

Chabot now has three assists in three games at the tournament to go along with four shots on goal. Noel has two assists and four shots in three games.

Sea Dogs defenseman Jakub Zboril was not in the Czechs lineup today. He also didn’t play in the team’s 4-1 win over Latvia on Friday. Turns out Zboril must serve a two-game suspension that the QMJHL handed him, a suspension the IIHF wasn’t made aware of until after the Czech’s first game of the tournament. The Czech’s lost the game Zboril appeared in, so not much will change. From the IIHF release:

Following the tournament Directorate meeting held on Saturday night, it was decided that the use of Zboril as an ineligible player will not affect the result of the Finland-Czech Republic game, which will be maintained as 6-1 win for Finland. The result will not be a forfeit and players that registered points in the game will not be affected, with the exception of Zboril whose statistics registered in the game will be discounted.

The Czech Republic plays their final game of the preliminary round on Tuesday against Switzerland. Canada will play Finland on Tuesday.

Photo: Marc Henwood/Station Nation

Saturday, April 18, 2015

RFP: Harbour Station Naming Rights

Things are getting real when it comes to selling the naming rights of Harbour Station. This ad was posted in the sports section of today's Telegraph-Journal (click to enlarge).

If you're interested in buying the naming rights to this blog, please contact us at stationnation@yahoo.ca.

Electric Crowd Lifts Wildcats To Win

FREDERICTON – A packed house with an electric atmosphere propelled the Moncton Wildcats to a 7-3 victory over the Halifax Mooseheads last night at the Aitken Centre in Fredericton.

Ivan Barbashev had four goals and two assists while Conor Garland had six assists. Garland was originally credited with seven helpers – assisting on every Wildcats goal – but later had one removed.

It was a fairly dominant performance from the Wildcats from start to finish. They scored less than two minutes in and led 3-0 after the first period. Moncton outshot Halifax 43-25 overall.

Halifax’s big guns – imports Nikolaj Ehlers and Timo Meier – were held to just one goal and two assists. Ehlers was a -4 on the night.

Former Sea Dogs forward Kelly Bent had a goal and was his typical, aggitating self for the Mooseheads. Noah Zilbert - a Fredericton - was held pointless in the win.

Along with the performance on Barbashev and Garland, the big story was the atmosphere at the Aitken Centre. The 3,278 fans that filled the building were very pro-Wildcats and loudly cheered on their team from start to finish. It was electric and significantly louder than a Moncton Coliseum game. Even the boos for Ehlers – who was booed after being “injured” on a Stephen Johnson hit in game two – carried over into the game.

The Wildcats now lead the second round series 3-2 heading into game six on Sunday afternoon in Halifax. A game seven, if needed, would be played on Tuesday night in Moncton.

Some other news and notes…
  • Elsewhere in the QMJHL last night, the Rimouski Oceanic eliminated the Gatineau Olympiques with a 4-1 win in game five of their second round series. Former Sea Dogs forward Joey Richard was held pointless with a -2 rating in the game, finishing the playoffs with three goals and five assists in 11 games.
  • In the other series that is still going on, Val-d’Or defeated Baie-Comeau 5-2 in game five. The Drakkar now lead that series 3-2.
  • In the NHL playoffs last night, Nathan Beaulieu had three hits in 12:47 of ice time in the Montreal Canadiens’ 3-2 overtime win over the Ottawa Senators. Mike Hoffman had three hits and two penalty minutes in 12:40 of ice time in the loss.
  • Tomas Jurco, Charlie Coyle and Simon Despres are back in action today/tonight.
  • At the World Under-18 Hockey Championship, the Czech Republic defeated Latvia 4-1 yesterday. Jakub Zboril did not appear on the team’s lineup posted on the IIHF website. They Czechs play Canada tomorrow at 1:30 p.m. on TSN2.
  • Today at the Under-18s, Nathan Noel, Thomas Chabot and Team Canada take on Switzerland at 1:30 p.m. That game can be seen on TSN.
  • There were two Newfoundland teams in the Allan Cup semifinals but neither will play in the final. Jason Churchill’s Clarenville Caribous, the hosts of this year’s tournament, lost 4-1 to the South East Prairie Thunder while Danny Wicks and the Grand Falls-Windsor Cataracts fell 5-4 to the Bentley Generals.
  • The NHL Draft Lottery takes place tonight.

Friday, April 17, 2015

Remparts Moving On

FREDERICTON – After needing seven games to knock off the pesky Cape Breton Screaming Eagles in the first round, the Quebec Remparts are advancing to the QMJHL semifinals thanks to a series sweep of the Charlottetown Islanders.

The Remparts completed the 4-0 series win last night in Charlottetown, defeating the Islanders 5-2. Quebec outscored Charlottetown 21-9 in the series.

The series win should calm some nerves in Quebec City, the city that will host this year’s Memorial Cup. Zach Fucale started and won all four games of the series which is certainly good news for the Remparts.

For the Islanders, just making it to the second round was a big step forward for the franchise. They’ll look to build off this year’s success next season.

Former Sea Dogs forward Oliver Cooper finished the playoffs with two goals and four assists in 10 games. He was held pointless in the Quebec series. Will Thompson, a former Dogs defenseman, finished the post-season with one assist in seven games.

The other playoff series resume tonight. Baie-Comeau leads Val-d’Or 3-1 and Rimouski also leads Gatineau 3-1. Moncton and Halifax are tied 2-2.

Some other news and notes…
  • Despite being outshot 46-14, Tomas Jurco and the Detroit Red Wings defeated the Tampa Bay Lightning 3-2 in game one of their first round playoff series. Jurco had one hit and was a -1 in 9:51 of ice time. He played 1:21 on the power play.
  • Charlie Coyle had three shots and four hits in 14:08 of ice time, helping the Minnesota Wild defeat the St. Louis Blues 4-2 in game one. Fredericton’s Jake Allen made 25 saves in the loss.
  • Simon Despres had two shots and three hits in 16:48 of ice time and helped the Anaheim Ducks down the Winnipeg Jets 4-2 in game one. Despres also played 1:26 on the Ducks’ penalty kill.
  • At the Allan Cup, Jason Churchill’s Clarenville Caribous defeated the Dundas Real McCoys 2-1 last night to advance to the semifinals. The Caribous will face the South East Prairie Thunder in the semis. The other Newfoundland team, the Grand Falls-Windsor Cataracts, will take on the Bentley Generals in the other semifinal. The Cataracts feature former Sea Dog Danny Wicks.

Photo: Marc Henwood/Station Nation

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Canada Opens U-18 Tourney With Win

In a surprisingly entertaining game, Team Canada defeated Latvia 11-6 to kick off the World Under-18 Hockey Championship today in Switzerland.

Sea Dogs defenseman Thomas Chabot had an assist in the game, firing a point shot that was redirected by Brett Howden in the second period. Sea Dogs forward Nathan Noel had two assists, helping set up two second period goals.

Other than an unfortunate turnover by Noel in the first period that led to a Latvian goal, both Sea Dogs players seemed to play quite well and drew the praises of the TSN broadcast crew.

Team Canada obviously has some work to do after allowing six goals to the Latvians. The game was very entertaining, at least.

Canada’s next game is on Saturday at 1:30 p.m. against Switzerland. The game can be seen on TSN.

Some other news and notes...
  • Jakub Zboril and the Czech Republic lost their first game at the U-18 Championship today, falling 6-1 to Finland. Zboril had an assist in the game. The Czechs play Latvia tomorrow. Over at The Hockey House, Zboril is listed as one of the draft eligible players to look out for at this year’s tournament.
  • Nathan Beaulieu and the Montreal Canadiens bested Mike Hoffman and the Ottawa Senators in game one of their first round playoff series last night, winning a thrilling game 4-3. Beaulieu recorded an assist on Brian Flynn’s third period goal, a goal that proved to be the game winner. Beaulieu also had two shots and two hits in 15:34 of ice time. Meanwhile, Hoffman had three shots and a hit in 12:21 of ice time.
  • Tonight, Tomas Jurco and the Detroit Red Wings open up their series against the Tampa Bay Lightning. Also, Charlie Coyle and the Minnesota Wild take on the St. Louis Blues while Simon Despres and the Anaheim Ducks face the Winnipeg Jets.
  • The Moncton Wildcats evened their second round series with the Halifax Mooseheads at 2-2 with a 3-2 overtime win last night at Scotiabank Centre. Taylor Burke scored the winner late in OT – with an assist from Noah Zilbert. Kelly Bent tied the game for the Mooseheads late in the second period. Game five is tomorrow night in Fredericton.
  • Elsewhere in the Q, Joey Richard and the Gatineau Olympiques were shutout 3-0 by the Rimouski Oceanic last night. Rimouski leads that series 3-1 heading into game five on Friday. In Baie-Comeau, the Val-d’Or Foreurs staved off elimination with a 4-3 double-overtime victory over the Drakkar.
  • The 2015 Allan Cup is taking place in Clarenville, Newfoundland this week. The Q News has a list of all the former QMJHL players taking part in the senior hockey championship. Former Sea Dogs include Jason Churchill (Clarenville), Danny Wicks (Grand Falls-Windsor) and Charles Bergeron (P’tit Mousse de Lameque). The championship game takes place on Saturday at 6 p.m. and will be broadcast on TSN.

Photo: Marc Henwood/Station Nation

AUC Game Sells Out In Less Than An Hour

Good stuff, Fredericton.

According to Andy Campbell of CTV, there were a couple hundred people in line at the Aitken Centre box office this morning/afternoon when tickets went on sale.

The game will be broadcast live on Rogers TV across New Brunswick beginning at 7 p.m.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Notebook: NHL Playoffs Begin Tonight

The Stanley Cup playoffs begin tonight for a couple former Sea Dogs.

Nathan Beaulieu and the Montreal Canadiens host Mike Hoffman and the Ottawa Senators in game one of their first round series tonight at 8 p.m. on CBC. Beaulieu and Hoffman were teammates with the Sea Dogs during the 2009-10 season.

Elsewhere tonight, the Islanders take on Washington, Chicago visits Nashville and Calgary faces Vancouver.

Other former Sea Dogs taking part in this year’s playoffs are Tomas Jurco (Detroit), Charlie Coyle (Minnesota) and Simon Despres (Anaheim).

Stanislav Galiev won’t be in the Capitals lineup tonight after being sent back down to the AHL’s Hershey Bears. Galiev spoke about his experience in the NHL with Penn Live.

COACHING JOB
Just like they did for their GM job, the Sea Dogs are going public in their search for a new head coach.

This info is straight from the Sea Dogs’ website:

Applications should be submitted via email to: 
info@saintjohnseadogs.com 
Please write "Coaching Application" in the subject line.
The deadline for applications is Friday, May 8th, 2015.

With applications due May 8, there is certainly a good chance they’ll have someone hired in time for the QMJHL Entry Draft in June.

TOURNEY BEGINS TOMORROW
The IIHF Under-18 World Championship begins tomorrow in Switzerland.

Thomas Chabot, Nathan Noel and Team Canada will take on Latvia at 10:30 a.m. That game can be seen live on TSN. Meanwhile, Jakub Zboril and the Czech Republic take on Finland at 2:45 p.m.

Canada defeated Slovakia 5-0 in a pre-tournament game on Monday and beat Germany 6-5 in a shootout today. Thomas Chabot took a cross checking penalty in the third period of today’s game.

Coaching Change Not A Shock

I don’t think many Sea Dogs followers were surprised by yesterday’s parting of ways between the team and head coach Ross Yates.

After the team’s dismal showing in the second half of the season and first round of the playoffs, it seemed everyone I spoke with suggested Yates' time with the Sea Dogs was coming to an end.

The team was definitely weakened after the trade deadline with Olivier LeBlanc sent to Cape Breton, but there were times when they looked good – but they never looked consistently good. In the playoffs, the team simply didn’t look prepared for their home games, and some of the blame for that has to be put on the coaching staff.

Yates was with the Sea Dogs for three seasons and head coach for nearly two of them. According to Buzzing the Net, Yates finished his time with the Dogs with a 46-60-6-7 record, which really isn’t all that bad. Hopefully he finds another coaching job somewhere.

At the end of the day, I'm not sure the Dogs - or the fan base - were 100% sold that Yates was the guy to carry this team back to the promise land. The upcoming 2015-16 season will be a huge one moving forward and the Sea Dogs, no doubt, want the bench being operated by the guy that will carry them to championship contention in 2017.

Who the Sea Dogs hire will be interesting. With so many high-end NHL prospects on the team and the goal of hosting the Memorial Cup already established, this is a team that will be getting plenty of attention over the next few seasons. All this would suggest that some big name coaches with professional experience might be interested in the job.

While the Ted Nolans and Guy Bouchers of the world are appealing, it shouldn’t be forgotten that there are plenty of quality coaches elsewhere that are waiting for a head coaching opportunity. Dominque Ducharme has worked out pretty okay in Halifax and he doesn’t have NHL coaching experience.

Anyways, this is going to be quite an off-season.