Saturday, December 31, 2016

RECAP: Sea Dogs lose 7-5

FINAL: Bathurst 7, Saint John 5
SAINT JOHN - The Saint John Sea Dogs are having a lot of troubles with the Acadie-Bathurst Titan this season.

The Sea Dogs fell to 1-4 against the Titan this season following a 7-5 loss at Harbour Station on Saturday afternoon. Saint John was once again without several key players due to the world juniors and injuries, but the Dogs let this back-and-forth game slip away from them.

Saint John led 2-1 and 4-3 at times but could not hang on. The Sea Dogs' young defence core and the newly acquired Callum Booth, who made 29 saves, were shaky at times.

Bokondji Imama once again led Saint John's offence, scoring two goals in the loss. Matthew Highmore, Alexandre Lafreniere and Alexandre Bernier had the Sea Dogs' other goals.

Bathurst goals came from Jeffrey Truchon-Viel, Vladimir Kuznetsov, Zachary Malatesta, Christophe Boivin, Noah Dobson, Antoine Morand and Jordan Maher. Anthony Dumont-Bouchard made 37 saves in the win.

To the notes...
  • After Nathan Noel was given a questionable high sticking penalty just 31 seconds in, Truchon-Viel scored at 1:56 to give the Titan a 1-0 lead.
  • The Sea Dogs produced a strong penalty kill with Noel in the box again midway through the period. Just as the penalty was expiring at 10:27, Highmore grabbed the puck in the neutral zone and sped in alone, beating Dumont-Bouchard high blocker side to knot things at 1-1.
  • On a power play at 17:41, Veleno's original shot was batted down in the slot. Imama quickly pounced on the puck and tapped it in, giving the Dogs their first lead of the game.
  • Bathurst would quickly respond, though. At 18:08, Kuznetsov fired a shot that Booth got a piece of with his glove - but not enough - falling into the cage.
  • Then at 18:33, Malatesta put in his own rebound, quickly giving the Titan a 3-2 lead.
  • 3:14 into the second period, Lafreniere scored his first QMJHL goal, once again tying things up.
  • Just 27 seconds into the third, Highmore was behind the net and sent a perfect feed to Imama in front. Imama beat Dumont-Bouchard to give the Sea Dogs a 4-3 advantage.
  • It looked as though the Titan had tied the game roughly six minutes into the third, but the goal was called off due to an offside.
  • At 11:18, Booth made a nice save off a breakaway. Unfortunatly for Saint John, Christophe Boivin was right behind him to put in the rebound and make it 4-4.
  • At 12:52, Dobson was left all alone and fired a hard shot from the top of the circle past Booth, making it 5-4 Titan.
  • Noel took a high sticking penalty at 13:44. On the power play at 14:22, Morand blasted a shot to give the Titan a 6-4 lead.
  • With Booth on the bench, Bernier's point shot beat Dumont-Bouchard and crossed the line just enough, getting Saint John within one.
  • But with 1:33 to play, the Titan hit the empty net, making it a 7-5 final.
  • Booth made his Harbour Station debut.
  • Highmore now has goals in five straight home games.
  • Samuel Dove-McFalls has assists in five straight home games.
  • Imama's two goals give him 25 on the season, which ties Mathieu Joseph for the team high. 12 of Imama's 25 goals came in December.
  • Noel took three minor penalties.
  • Solid crowd of 5,624 for this one. That atmosphere was good, too.

Game Day 36: vs Titan

The Saint John Sea Dogs (23-8-3-1, 1st Maritimes, 1st QMJHL) close out 2016 with a 2 p.m. match against the Acadie-Bathurst Titan (18-16-2-1, 4th Maritimes, 10th QMJHL) today at Harbour Station.

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

Last games: The Sea Dogs are coming off a 7-2 win in Moncton last night. Bokondji Imama had a hat trick while singles came from Joe Veleno, Ian Smallwood, Kyle Ward and Cole Reginato. Alex D'Orio made 19 saves in the win. The Titan are coming off a 3-2 loss in Charlottetown last night. Kynan Berger and Jeffrey Truchon-Viel scored for the Titan. Anthony Dumont-Bouchard made 32 saves in the loss.

2016-17 head-to-head: The Sea Dogs are 1-3-0-0 against the Titan this season while Bathurst is 3-1-0-0 against Saint John.

Last meeting: Wednesday at the KC Irving Regional Centre where the Titan defeated the Sea Dogs 3-0. Jordan Maher, Felix Boivin and Vladimir Kuznetsov scored for Bathurst. Anthony Dumont-Bouchard made 21 saves for the shutout victory.

Ex-Sea Dogs on the Titan: Forward Dawson Theede.

Random stat: Dawson Theede has two goals and an assist in four games against his former team this season.

Three Things to Know
1. More than 4,800 tickets have been sold for today's game, according to the Sea Dogs.

2. The Sea Dogs are, of course, still without Thomas Chabot, Mathieu Joseph and Jakub Zboril due to the world juniors. All three will be in action today in Toronto and Montreal.

3. With Alex D'Orio starting last night in Moncton, Callum Booth will presumably make his second start as a Sea Dog. He was solid on Wednesday in Bathurst, despite the loss.

DiDomenico wins second Spengler Cup title

Chris DiDomenico is a Spengler Cup champion once again.

The former Saint John Sea Dogs forward helped Team Canada to a 5-2 win over HC Lugano on Saturday morning, capturing the Spengler Cup for a second straight year.

Canada lost their first game of this year's tournament, 7-4, to HC Dinamo Minsk on Boxing Day but rebounded with three straight wins to advance to Saturday's final.

DiDomenico, an alternate captain, had an assist in Canada's 5-2 victory on Saturday. The 27-year-old finished the tournament with one goal and two assists in five games.

This year's team featured a number of notable QMJHL alumni, including Brandon Gormley, Zach Fucale and James Sheppard.

This was the third straight year that DiDomenico played with Canada at the tournament. DiDomenico helped Canada win the championship a year ago, recording one goal and three assists in four games - which included two assists in the final. In 2014, DiDomenico was held pointless in two games.

The 27-year-old forward is in his third full season with the SCL Tigers in Switzerland, recording seven goals and 17 assists in 31 games. He had 12 goals and 26 helpers in 46 matches with the Tigers last season, according to Elite Prospects.

A native of Woodbridge, Ont., DiDomenico spent two-and-a-half seasons with the Sea Dogs from 2007-2009. According to Elite Prospects, he is sixth all-time in franchise scoring with 75 goals and 204 points in 166 games.

Later today at 4:30 p.m., Canada's world junior team takes on the United States in Toronto. Sea Dogs forward Mathieu Joseph had two assists in Canada's 10-2 win over Latvia on Thursday while defenceman Thomas Chabot had one helper.

The winner of today's Canada-USA game will win Group B.

Meanwhile, Jakub Zboril and the Czech Republic play Sweden at 2 p.m. in Montreal in their final preliminary round game.

Photo: Hockey Canada

Friday, December 30, 2016

RECAP: Sea Dogs win 7-2

FINAL: Saint John 7, Moncton 2
MONCTON - Bokondji Imama led the Saint John Sea Dogs to a come-from-behind victory over the Moncton Wildcats on Friday night.

Imama netted his third hat trick of the season as the Sea Dogs erased a two-goal deficit to defeat the Wildcats 7-2 at the Moncton Coliseum. The Dogs looked rather flat until Imama got Saint John on the board at 15:48 of the second period. That goal was the first of seven unanswered.

Joe Veleno, Ian Smallwood, Kyle Ward and Cole Reginato also scored for Saint John. Alex D'Orio made 19 saves in the win.

Moncton's goals came from Liam Murphy and Simon Le Coultre. Matthew Waite allowed seven goals on 41 shots.

To the notes...
  • Murphy gave Moncton a 1-0 lead at 10:23 of the first on a power play, beating D'Orio over the blocker from the high slot after accepting a pass from Jeremy McKenna.
  • With 13:20 left in the second, Le Coultre scored to give the Wildcats a 2-0 advantage. 
  • Finally at 15:48, Imama made some nice moves to get to the net and beat Waite five-hole to get Saint John on the board.
  • Alexandre Renaud was given a give-minute major and game misconduct for a slash on Veleno at 16:19. On the ensuing power play at 18:58, Imama beat Waite with a hard wrist shot to tie the match at 2-2.
  • Veleno gave Saint John their first lead of the game at 4:33 of the third on a power play, redirecting a Spencer Smallman shot past Waite. That made it 3-2 Sea Dogs.
  • Saint John went up 4-2 at when Smallwood blasted a shot from the point. 
  • Imama completed the hat trick at 12:28, giving the Sea Dogs a 5-2 lead.
  • Then at 13:56, Ward beat Waite blocker side with a wrist shot, making it 6-2.
  • At 13:56, Ward fired a slap shot that Waite stopped but produced a big rebound. Reginato was there to put in the rebound, making it 7-2.
  • Saint John scored five goals and outshot Moncton 20-6 in the third period.
  • Nathan Noel returned to the Sea Dogs lineup after missing the past few games with an upper body injury.
  • Alexandre Lafreniere was called up for this game and was in the lineup.
  • Defenceman David Comeau, acquired in a trade earlier this week, made his Sea Dogs debut. He assisted on Ward's goal.
  • Smallwood's goal was the first of his QMJHL career.
  • Veleno's goal was his second of the season and first since Oct. 9. He has been held pointless in just four of the 12 games he has appeared in this season.
  • How good has Imama been of late? He has 10 goals in nine games this month, seven of which have come in the past four games. He now has an impressive 23 goals on the season.
  • Former Sea Dogs forward Julien Tessier was in Moncton's starting lineup.
  • Waite played in his first game since Nov. 20 against Saint John - a game he got hurt injured in.
  • This was the sixth of nine meetings between Saint John and Moncton this year.

Bourque officially a Sea Dog


MONCTON - Simon Bourque is officially a member of the Saint John Sea Dogs.

In a deal that's been rumoured for a week or so, the Sea Dogs acquired Bourque and a 2018 second-round pick in exchange for defenceman Vincent Martineau, Sherbrooke's first-round pick in 2018, a first-round pick in 2020 and a second-round pick in 2019.

Bourque was not in Saint John's lineup on Friday night in Moncton, having yet to join the team. Bouqrue hasn't played since Dec. 4 due to an injury, but he is believed to be returning soon.
A few other thoughts...
  • This definitely feels like the Matt Murphy deal from a year ago. Like Murphy, Bourque is a very good defender and has quite a bit of playoff experience.
  • With Martineau and Luke Green traded and David Comeau presumably being used as an affiliate, that leaves Bourque (1997), Thomas Chabot (1997), Jakub Zboril (1997), Bailey Webster (1997), Oliver Felixson (1998), Bryson Michel (1999), Chase Stewart (1997) and Alexandre Bernier (1997) as defencemen on the Sea Dogs' roster.
  • On a Sea Dogs pre-game show a few weeks ago, Danny Flynn mentioned that the Pittsburgh Penguins d-core wasn't loaded with star players last year en route to a Stanley Cup. The Pens featured a lot of shutdown guys who didn't get a lot of fanfare. Beyond Chabot, Zboril and Bourque, that's kind of what the Sea Dogs have, with guys like Stewart, Bernier and Webster.
  • You've got to wonder if another move will be made with the backend since, with this current roster, at least one older player will have to sit each game.
  • There's an interesting arms race that has developed between the Sea Dogs and Charlottetown Islanders, both of whom have been buyers this trade period. The Isles have really beefed up their backend.
  • The Sea Dogs once again have eight NHL drafted players on their roster. Bourque was a sixth-round pick of the Montreal Canadiens in the 2015 NHL Draft.
  • On Twitter, Bourque said he's "very happy to join the Sea Dogs in their quest for the President's Cup."

Game Day 35: at Moncton

Coming off one of their worst loses of the season, the Saint John Sea Dogs (22-8-3-1, 1st Maritimes, 1st QMJHL) look to rebound tonight in Moncton against the new-look Wildcats (13-21-0-0, 6th Maritimes, 18th QMJHL). Game time is 7 p.m.

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

Last games: The Sea Dogs are coming off a 3-0 loss in Bathurst on Wednesday. Callum Booth made 36 saves in the loss. The Wildcats are coming off a 5-1 loss in Cape Breton on Wednesday. Alexandre Renaud scored Moncton's lone goal. Dominik Tmej made 39 saves in the loss.

2016-17 head-to-head: The Sea Dogs are 3-1-0-1 against the Wildcats this season while Moncton is 2-3-0-0 against Saint John.

Last meeting: Dec. 7 at Harbour Station where the Sea Dogs defeated the Wildcats 4-0. Matthew Highmore, Kyle Ward, Mathieu Joseph and Bokondji Imama all scored for Saint John. Alex D'Orio made 19 saves in the shutout win.

Ex-Sea Dogs on the Wildcats: Forward Julien Tessier.

Random stat: Saint John has the league's best power play (31.2%) while Moncton has the league's worst (13%).

Reports: Sea Dogs to acquire Bourque


The Saint John Sea Dogs will acquire Montreal Canadiens prospect Simon Bourque today, according to reports.

Both RDS and TVA Sports are reporting that the Sea Dogs will acquire Bourque and a second-round pick in 2018 in exchange for defenceman Vincent Martineau, a first in 2018, a first in 2020 and a second in 2019.
UPDATE: The Oceanic are confirming the trade.
The 19-year-old defenceman has been Rimouski's captain for the past two seasons. In 218 career QMJHL games, Bourque has 33 goals and 88 assists. He's added one goal and 11 assists in 34 playoff games. At the 2015 Memorial Cup, Bourque had one assist.

This season, Bourque has eight goals and 20 assists in 29 games.

Thursday, December 29, 2016

An eventful Wednesday for ex-Sea Dogs

With all 18 teams in action, a lot of stuff happened in the QMJHL last night. Here's a quick roundup of what former Sea Dogs did.

Saint John 0, Bathurst 3
Bathurst's Dawson Theede was named first star in the Titan's 3-0 victory over the Sea Dogs. Theede was held pointless with three shots, five hits and an even rating.

Moncton 1, Cape Breton 5
Julien Tessier was in the Wildcats lineup and recorded two shots in Moncton's 5-1 loss at Centre 200. He went 10/21 in the faceoff circle. Olivier Leblanc was held pointless for Cape Breton.

Halifax 1, Charlottetown 2
Blade Mann-Dixon made 40 saves and was named second star in his Mooseheads debut. The win moved Charlottetown to within five points of Saint John for the Maritimes Division lead.

Sherbrooke 4, Drummondville 2
Luke Green, wearing No. 19, had two assists and one shot in his Phoenix debut. Green assisted on Sherbrooke's first two goals of the game.

Rouyn-Noranda 1, Shawinigan 3
No former Sea Dogs were involved - but this was a big win for Shawinigan. The Cataractes and Huskies are now tied for second overall in the QMJHL with 46 points - two back of Saint John.

Baie-Comeau 2, Victoriaville 4
This game happened.

Quebec 5, Blainville-Boisbriand 4 (OT)
Olivier Mathieu was held pointless and Alex Bishop was the Remparts' backup in Quebec's 5-4 overtime win.

Val-d'Or 4, Gatineau 7
Jack van Boekel - no points, three shots, four PIM, three hits
Adam Marsh - one assist, two shots, four PIM, one hit
Jason Bell - one assist, one shot, one hit
Will Thompson - no points, one hit, third star
Daniel Del Paggio - one goal, one shot

Chicoutimi 0, Rimouski 7
Nico Blachman scored his second career QMJHL goal and added an assist in Rimouski's blowout victory. Blachman's goal will remain official - but the win will not. Rimouski dressed a suspended player and has had the win removed.

Photo: Marc Henwood/Station Nation

Sea Dogs acquire defensive depth


BATHURST - The Saint John Sea Dogs made a minor trade prior to Wednesday night's game, acquiring defenceman David Comeau from the Victoriaville Tigres in exchange for a 2018 11th-round pick.

Comeau, 19, has played in just five games with the Tigres this season. He has spent most of the year with the MHL's Woodstock Slammers where he has recorded three goals and 11 assists in 26 games.

An 11th-round pick of the Charlottetown Islanders in the 2014 QMJHL Entry Draft, the Fredericton native has played in 31 career QMJHL games, 26 of which were with the Islanders.

“We’re happy to have David join our organization,” said Sea Dogs president and general manager Trevor Georgie in a press release. “He brings us some much-needed depth and experience. Plus, he’s from our area. That’s important to us.”

Comeau likely won't stick with the Sea Dogs for the remainder of the full season but will provide some defensive depth if injuries or other things pop up - like right now. Before Wednesday's game - with Jakub Zboril and Thomas Chabot at the world juniors, Chase Stewart injured and Luke Green (not Nathan Noel, you typo catching wizards) traded - the Sea Dogs recalled defencemen Simon Elsliger from the AAA Moncton Flyers and Ian Smallwood from the Slammers.

Are more deals coming? There is speculation on the Twitter machine that there are more deals coming. We'll see.

Saint John's next game is on Friday night in Bathurst.

The QMJHL's trading period ends on Jan. 6.

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

RECAP: Sea Dogs lose 3-0

FINAL: Saint John 0, Bathurst 3
BATHURST - A Saint John Sea Dogs team missing several key players struggled on Wednesday night in Bathurst.

The Sea Dogs were outshot 39-21 and shutout 3-0 by the Titan at the KC Irving Regional Centre. Jordan Maher, Felix Boivin and Vladimir Kuznetsov scored for Bathurst while Anthony Dumont-Bouchard - making his Titan debut - made 21 saves in the victory.

On a normal night this would be an ugly loss. But this night was anything but normal for the Sea Dogs. The team was without several regulars due to injuries and the world juniors. Saint John recalled three players before the game to help fill some of the lineup holes.

If there were any positives for Saint John it was the play of Callum Booth. In his Sea Dogs debut, Booth looked very solid, making 36 saves in the loss.

Things seemingly aren't going to get a whole lot better for the Sea Dogs in the immediate future. Fortunately, their next contest is against a Moncton Wildcats team that has unloaded over the past couple weeks.

To the notes...
  • Booth's first big save came early in the first, making a nice pad stop off Maher. He made several other key saves in an opening frame that saw the Sea Dogs outshot 15-9.
  • Just 43 seconds into the second, Maher opened the scoring to give the Titan a 1-0 lead.
  • The Titan made it 2-0 at 11:00. After Booth made a nice off Aaron Brisebois, Felix Boivin put in the rebound.
  • Bathurst made it 3-0 at 16:43 when Kuznetsov put in the rebound of a Zachary Malatesta shot.
  • The Sea Dogs were outshot 13-3 in the second period.
  • Saint John is now 1-3 against Bathurst this season. The two will meet again on Saturday afternoon at Harbour Station.
  • Matthew Highmore's nine-game point streak came to an end
  • Before the game, the Sea Dogs announced that forward Ben Reid (St. Stephen Aces - MHL) and defencemen Ian Smallwood (Woodstock Slammers - MHL) and Simon Elsliger (Moncton Flyers - NB/PEIMMHL) had been recalled. 
  • Elslinger, a fourth-round pick of the Sea Dogs in the 2016 draft, made his QMJHL debut.
  • Former Sea Dogs forward Dawson Theede, who was held pointless with three shots and an even rating, was named first star.
  • Bathurst's Aaron Brisebois picked up his first career QMJHL point, an assist, on Boivin's goal.
  • Good crowd of 2,100 at the KC Irving Regional Centre for this game.

Game Day 34: at Bathurst

The Saint John Sea Dogs (22-7-3-1, 1st Maritimes, 1st QMJHL) kick off their post-Christmas schedule with a 7 p.m. game against the Titan (17-15-2-1, 3rd Maritimes, 8th QMJHL) in Bathurst tonight.

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

Last games: The Sea Dogs last played on Dec. 17 at Harbour Station where they defeated the Charlottetown Islanders 8-2. Spencer Smallman had a hat trick, Matthew Highmore scored twice and singles came from Bokondji Imama, Samuel Dove-McFalls and John Warren. Alex D'Orio made 23 saves in the win. The Titan last played on Dec. 17 at the KC Irving Regional Centre where they fell 7-2 to the Cape Breton Screaming Eagles. Vladimir Kuznetsov scored both Bathurst goals. Reilly Pickard allowed six goals on 18 shots while Simon Boudreault-Belzile allowed one on 13 shots.

2016-17 head-to-head: The Sea Dogs are 1-2-0-0 against the Titan this season while Bathurst is 2-1-0-0 against Saint John.

Last meeting: Nov. 18 in Bathurst where the Sea Dogs defeated the Titan 6-3. Matthew Highmore, Mathieu Joseph, Cedric Pare, Thomas Chabot, Samuel Leblanc and Samuel Dove-McFalls all scored for Saint John. Dawson Theede, Felix Boivin and Christophe Boivin scored for Bathurst. Alex D'Orio made 27 saves in the win. Reilly Pickard allowed three goals on 15 shots before getting pulled. Francis Lavallee allowed three goals on 21 shots in relief.

Ex-Sea Dogs on the Titan: Forward Dawson Theede.

Random stat: Matthew Highmore is fourth in the league in scoring with 19 goals and 50 points in 33 games.

Three Things to Know
1. The Sea Dogs are without Jakub Zboril, Thomas Chabot and Mathieu Joseph due to the World Junior Hockey Championship. The team has also traded Luke Green and Alex Bishop since their last game action.

2. Will we see Callum Booth in action tonight? The Sea Dogs acquired the goaltender from the Quebec Remparts on Dec. 18 in exchange for Bishop, Olivier Mathieu and two draft picks.

3. The Titan are currently last in the league in attendance with an average of 1,569 fans per game.

Another big day for Sea Dogs at WJC


Thomas Chabot had an impressive opening game at the 2017 IIHF World Junior Hockey Championship on Monday. He topped that performance on Tuesday.

Chabot was named Canada's Player of the Game in the team's 5-0 win over Slovakia at Air Canada Centre. The Saint John Sea Dogs defenceman recorded one goal, one assist and three shots in 18:26 of ice time (which once again led all Canadian skaters).
The goal was the first of Chabot's world junior career. Tonight was his seventh career game.
Chabot also became the first Sea Dog to score for Canada at the world juniors since Jonathan Huberdeau in 2013.

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Good start to WJC for Sea Dogs


It was a good opening day of the World Junior Hockey Championship for the Saint John Sea Dogs.

Thomas Chabot led all Canadian skaters with 24:11 of ice time in Canada's 5-3 victory over Russia at Air Canada Centre on Monday. The Sea Dogs defenceman also had an assist, two penalty minutes and three shots.

Chabot got his first point of the tournament on Dylan Strome's second period power play goal, which put Canada up 2-1 at the time.
This also happened:
Meanwhile, Mathieu Joseph was held pointless in his first career world junior contest. He had two shots in 15:01 of ice time.

Canada takes on Slovakia on Tuesday night.

Monday, December 26, 2016

Luke Green traded to Sherbrooke

After a few weeks of speculation, the Saint John Sea Dogs have traded Luke Green to the Sherbrooke Phoenix.

In exchange, the Sea Dogs receive a 2018 first-round pick along with second-round picks in 2018 and 2020.

Le Droit reported on Dec. 10 that Green had asked for a trade because he was unhappy with how the team was using him. The rumour popped up shortly after Saint John had used Green, an offensive defenceman, as a forward due to some injuries up front.

A couple days later, Green's agent, the well-known Allan Walsh, told the Chronicle Herald there was no truth to the report. Despite Walsh's claim, rumours continued to circulate from reporters on Twitter about Green's status.

“Luke is a good player and a quality young man,” said Sea Dogs president and general manager Trevor Georgie in a press release. “This was not an easy deal to make. It’s a good opportunity for him and we wish him all the best.”

The return for Green is decent - but it will look a lot better if the 2018 picks end up being high ones. There is, obviously, a chance the Sea Dogs deal these pick(s) away long before draft day.

The first overall pick in the 2014 QMJHL Entry Draft, Green has 18 goals and 68 assists in 148 career QMJHL games. He has added two goals and four assists in 18 career playoff games. This season, the 18-year-old has two goals and 13 assists in 27 games with Saint John.

Green was drafted in the third-round of this year's NHL Draft by the Winnipeg Jets.

Green's twin brother, Matt, remains with the Sea Dogs.

It'll be interesting to see what follows this deal - if anything. The Sea Dogs have lost a quality d-man while other teams, particularly the Charlottetown Islanders, have beefed up their backend.

The QMJHL's trading period ends on Jan. 6.

Photo: Marc Henwood/Station Nation

Spengler Cup, WJC begin today

Sit back, relax and enjoy plenty of international hockey on television today.

Chris DiDomenico and Team Canada begin Spengler Cup play today at 3:15 p.m. against HC Dinamo Minsk. The game can be seen on TSN5.

DiDomenico is entering his third Spengler Cup tournament with Team Canada. He helped the squad win gold last year.


The Spengler Cup comes to an end on New Year's Eve.

The World Junior Hockey Championship also begins today, of course. There will be four games taking place: Sweden takes on Denmark at 2 p.m., the United States faces Latvia at 4:30 p.m., the Czech Republic battles Finland at 6 p.m. and Canada wraps up the day with a 9 p.m. matchup against Russia. All games are on TSN.

Canada features Sea Dogs defenceman Thomas Chabot and forward Mathieu Joseph while defenceman Jakub Zboril is on the Czech squad.

Saturday, December 24, 2016

Reports: Joseph signs ELC with Tampa

According to reports, Saint John Sea Dogs forward Mathieu Joseph has signed an entry-level contract with the Tampa Bay Lightning.

UPDATE: The Lightning have made the deal official.

From TSN's Bob McKenzie:
From Mathieu Joseph's bother, Pierre-Olivier, who plays with the Charlottetown Islanders:
From Bokondji Imama:
And the Sea Dogs equipment staff:
Joseph, a fourth-round pick of the Lightning in the 2015 NHL Draft, has 25 goals and 20 assists in just 29 games with Saint John this season.

He'll remain with the Sea Dogs for the remainder of the season - which will likely be his last in the QMJHL.

The 19-year-old forward is currently with Canada's world junior team, which will begin tournament play on Boxing Day in Toronto. In three exhibition games with the squad, Joseph has one assist.

Friday, December 23, 2016

Three players to watch at the world juniors

Folks, let me tell you, the world juniors are a magical time. Here are three players you should keep an eye on at this year's tournament.

1. Thomas Chabot - Canada
An Ottawa Senators prospect who started the year in the NHL, Chabot plays with the QMJHL's Saint John Sea Dogs.

Are the Sea Dogs fighting this season?

Since fighting hasn't been a hot topic of discussion in the QMJHL of late, you may be surprised to learn that Cole Reginato is tied for the league lead in scraps this season.

Reginato's seven fights ties him with Alexandre Drapeau of the Quebec Remparts for the most in the QMJHL, according to HockeyFights.com.

Only four Sea Dogs have been credited with multiple fights this season: Reginato (seven), Kyle Ward (three), Landon Quinney (two) and Chase Stewart (two). Somewhat surprisingly - although finding opponents is no doubt a challenge - is that Bokondji Imama has just one fight all year.

The Victoriaville Tigres lead the league in fighting majors this season with 30. The Sea Dogs aren't far off though with 22, which is fourth most in the league. Cape Breton (24) and Baie-Comeau (24) also sit ahead of Saint John.

The Sea Dogs had 52 fights in 2015-16, up slightly from the 48 they had in 2014-15.

The franchise record for fights in a season is 91, set during the woeful 2006-07 campaign. The franchise low is 30, set during the 2008-09 season.

Photo: Marc Henwood/Station Nation

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Notebook: Mann-Dixon traded to Halifax

Former Sea Dogs goaltender Blade Mann-Dixon has been traded to the Halifax Mooseheads.

The Charlottetown Islanders, who acquired goaltender Mark Grametbauer from the Gatineau Olympiques Wednesday, traded Mann-Dixon to the Mooseheads in exchange for an eighth-round draft pick in the 2017 QMJHL Entry Draft.

Mann-Dixon is 9-4 this season with a 3.16 goals against average and .896 save percentage.

The 19-year-old was an 11th-round pick of the Sea Dogs in the 2014 QMJHL Entry Draft. A star netminder in the MHL, Mann-Dixon played in three games with Saint John in 2014-15, going 2-1 with a 3.82 GAA and .878 SV%.

This will be Mann-Dixon's fourth QMJHL team, having played with Saint John, Moncton and Charlottetown already.



Canada wins again
Thomas Chabot and Mathieu Joseph were both held pointless in Team Canada's 5-0 pre-tournament victory over Jakub Zboril and the Czech Republic on Wednesday in Ottawa.

Chabot and Joseph each recorded an assist in Canada's first pre-tournament game on Monday, a 5-0 win over Finland in Montreal.

Here's a Hockey Canada feature on Joseph:
Canada plays its final exhibition game on Friday against Switzerland in Toronto while Zboril and the Czech Republic play the United States in Kingston.

Speaking of Chabot, there are quite a few Ottawa Senators prospects playing in this year's World Junior Hockey Championship.

The Islanders are going for it

Former Saint John Sea Dogs defenceman Will Thompson is now a member of the Gatineau Olympiques.

The Charlottetown Islanders confirmed a major deal yesterday, trading Thompson, defenceman Marc-Olivier Alain, forward Shawn Boudrias and forward Carl Gervais to the Olympiques in exchange for defenceman Nicolas Meloche, goaltender Mark Grametbauer and defenceman Jean-Sebastien Taillefer.

The deal indicates that the Isles are making a run this year and, if things go as planned for both teams, the Maritimes Division title should come down to Charlottetown and Saint John. The Sea Dogs currently sit first overall in the division (and league) with 48 points while the Islanders sit second with 41 points.

The Sea Dogs are 3-1-1-0 against the Islanders this season while Charlottetown is 2-3-0-0 against Saint John. The two teams last met on Dec. 17 at Harbour Station where the Dogs won easily, 8-2.

Charlottetown already had a good defence, but it got even better with this deal. Their backend now stars Meloche (Colorado), Cody Donaghey (Ottawa), Guillaume Brisebois (Vancouver) and Pierre-Olivier Joseph (top 2017 NHL Draft prospect). Up front, the Islanders averaged 4.11 goals per game in the first half - only Saint John had more - and will get even better when Daniel Sprong rejoins the team.

Thompson, meanwhile, was a first-round pick of the Sea Dogs in the 2013 QMJHL Entry Draft. He spent one year with Saint John, recording three goals and seven assists in 41 games. He was traded to Charlottetown in exchange for a 2015 first round pick.

In 196 career QMJHL games, the Fredericton native has 11 goals and 35 assists.

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Canada takes on Czech Republic tonight

Three Saint John Sea Dogs could all be in action tonight in Ottawa.

Thomas Chabot, Mathieu Joseph and Team Canada take on Jakub Zboril and the Czech Republic tonight at 8 p.m. at Canadian Tire Centre. The game can be seen on TSN.

Both Chabot and Joseph looked pretty good in the Canada's first pre-tournament game on Monday in Montreal - a 5-0 victory over Finland. Chabot and Joseph both had assists.

Following tonight's game, Canada takes on Switzerland in Toronto on Friday to warp up pre-tournament play. The Czech's, meanwhile, take on the United States in Kingston on Friday.

Canada's first game of the 2017 IIHF World Junior Hockey Championship is on Boxing Day in Toronto against Russia. The Czechs also begin the tournament on Boxing Day, facing Finland in Montreal.

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

DiDomenico to play in Spengler Cup again

For the third straight year, Chris DiDomenico will play for Team Canada at the Spengler Cup.

DiDomenico helped Canada win gold at last year's tournament, recording one goal and three assists in four games - which included two assists in the final. In 2014, DiDomenico was held pointless in two games.

The 27-year-old forward is in his third full season with the SCL Tigers in Switzerland, recording seven goals and 17 assists in 31 games this year. He had 12 goals and 26 helpers in 46 matches with the Tigers, according to Elite Prospects.

A native of Woodbridge, Ont., DiDomenico spent two-and-a-half seasons with the Sea Dogs from 2007-2009. According to Elite Prospects, he is sixth all-time in franchise scoring with 75 goals and 204 points in 166 games.

DiDomenico is arguably the most important player in Sea Dogs history. Not only was he the team’s first big offensive star, he was also traded to the Drummondville Voltigeurs in the deal that saw Saint John acquire the pick used to draft Jonathan Huberdeau.

The 2016 Spengler Cup takes place Dec. 26-31 in Davos, Switzerland. Canada's first game is on Boxing Day against Dinamo Minsk. Game time is 3:15 p.m. on TSN.

Canada's roster includes a number of QMJHL alumni, including James Sheppard, Brandon Gormley and Zach Fucale.

Monday, December 19, 2016

Chabot to wear an 'A' for Team Canada

Saint John Sea Dogs defenceman Thomas Chabot has been named an alternate captain of Canada's National Junior Team.

Chabot will wear an 'A' on his sweater along with Mathew Barzal of the Seattle Thunderbirds. Dylan Strome of the Erie Otters will captain the team.

“We have eight players on this team who are captains of their club teams, and numerous other associate captains, so there is an abundance of leadership,” said Dominique Ducharme, head coach of Team Canada, in a press release. “Dylan, Mat and Thomas have been through this tournament before, and we have confidence in their ability to lead this team on and off the ice.”

It's no surprise to see Chabot wearing a letter at this year's tournament as the Ottawa Senators prospect will get plenty of ice time as a veteran on the backend. This will be Chabot's second World Junior Hockey Championship after recording three assists in five games last year.

Team Canada plays the first of three exhibition games tonight at the Bell Centre against Finland. The team will play the Czech Republic in Ottawa on Wednesday and Switzerland on Friday in Toronto to wrap up pre-tournament play. All games will be broadcast on TSN.

Canada begins tournament play on Boxing Day in Toronto against Russia.

Along with Chabot, Team Canada features Sea Dog Mathieu Joseph. Dogs defenceman Jakub Zboril is on the Czech team which, as Euro Hockey notes, is unlikely to medal this year.

Photo: Marc Henwood/Station Nation

Sunday, December 18, 2016

Trade Notebook: Tessier returns to Maritimes


Julien Tessier (his QMJHL rights, at least) is back in the Maritimes.

The Chicoutimi Sagueneens traded Tessier to the Moncton Wildcats on Sunday as part of a package that saw the the Sags acquire Kelly and Kevin Klima.

Tessier, a 2014 first round pick of Saint John, was traded to the Sags last season after missing much of the year with a health/injury issue. He appeared in nine regular season and four playoff games with Chicoutimi in 2015-16, registering one assist.

Tessier has appeared in just four QMJHL games this year - his last being on Oct. 2. He has played in 26 games with the junior A Terrebonne Cobras, recording nine goals and 28 assists.

Sea Dogs make Booth trade official


SAINT JOHN - Callum Booth is officially a member of the Saint John Sea Dogs.

The Sea Dogs and QMJHL made the multi-player deal with the Quebec Remparts official this afternoon. Saint John acquired Booth and forward Matthew Pietroniro in exchange for goaltender Alex Bishop, forward Olivier Mathieu, a 2017 first round pick and a 2019 third round pick.

Here's what general manager Trevor Georgie said a Sea Dogs press release:

“We are very excited to bring two high-quality young men into our organization,” said Trevor Georgie, the president and general manager of the Sea Dogs. “Booth is a player we have coveted for a while. We believe he’s one of the top goaltenders in the QMJHL. He’s got a lot of experience. He’s played in the playoffs and in the MasterCard Memorial Cup. We are confident he can be a mentor for our young goalie, Alex D’Orio, and be a leader on and off the ice for our team.” 
Georgie continued: “Pietroniro is a rugged, two-way player who we see fitting well on our team in the years ahead. He’s a young man of high character and determination, and we like him a lot.”

Booth, a Carolina Hurricanes prospect, has a 2.87 goals against average and .918 SV% in 21 games with the Remparts this season. He has spent his entire QMJHL career with Quebec, including the 2014-15 season when the Remparts hosted the Memorial Cup.

Pietroniro, an eighth-round pick of the Remparts in 2015, has not appeared in the Q yet. In 22 games with the Quebec midget AAA Lac St-Louis Lions, the 17-year-old has eight goals and nine assists.

The price the Sea Dogs had to pay in this trade was significant. Bishop has split the first half with rookie D'Orio in net. The team also gave up their first round pick in the 2016 draft, Mathieu, and their first round choice in next year's draft.

According to TVA Sports, the Remparts were in talks with three teams regarding Booth. The Sea Dogs had the best offer.

Today was the first day of the QMJHL's trade period, which runs until Jan. 6.

Saint John's next game is Dec. 28 in Bathurst.

The trade period begins today

SAINT JOHN - Today is the day.

The Quebec Major Junior Hockey League's trade period officially opens today. While it feels like several deals have already been finalized, they can now be made official by teams and the league.

In Saint John, the Sea Dogs, who enter the Christmas break in first overall, are expected to be buyers.

Last Tuesday, reports surfaced that the Sea Dogs and Quebec Remparts would pull off a big trade, sending goaltender Callum Booth to Saint John. Unless something very weird happens and all of the legit QMJHL insiders end up being wrong, that deal should be finalized and announced soon.

Heading to Saint John will be Booth and prospect Matthew Pietroniro. Quebec will receive goaltender Alex Bishop, prospect Olivier Mathieu, a 2017 first round pick and a 2019 third round pick.

Bishop was not dressed for the Sea Dogs last night. Meanwhile, Booth met with Remparts fans one last time.


What else could go down? Well, there are those Luke Green trade request rumours that popped up a few weeks ago and then were dismissed by agent Allan Walsh. Green has still been involved in trade rumours, though.
Overall, it seems the Sea Dogs will be active. They already have a great team, yes, but some upgrades to put the team over the top are certainly understandable. While the team seems determined to not damage its future too much, the reality is that much of this team will not be back next season and the opportunity to win with this core should not be blown.

The QMJHL's trade period ends on Jan. 6.

Saturday, December 17, 2016

RECAP: Sea Dogs win 8-2

FINAL: Charlottetown 2, Saint John 8
SAINT JOHN - Now that's an ending.

The Saint John Sea Dogs wrapped up the first half of the 2016-17 QMJHL season on Saturday night at Harbour Station, defeating the Charlottetown Islanders 8-2.

Spencer Smallman led the Sea Dogs with a hat trick and two assists. Matthew Highmore added two goals and two assists while Samuel Dove-McFalls had one goal and three helpers. Bokondji Imama and John Warren added Saint John's other goals. Alex D'Orio made 23 saves in the win.

Saint John's league leading power play was also put on display in this game, going an impressive 5/6.

The victory gives the Sea Dogs a record of 22-7-3-1 for 48 points, placing them on top of the QMJHL standings. The team's record is certainly impressive given how many games the Sea Dogs have played with key players missing.

Charlottetown's goals came from Cody Donaghey and Gregor MacLeod. Matthew Welsh was left in for all eight goals, facing 39 shots.

To the notes...
  • Highmore opened the scoring on a power play at 6:27 when he put in his own rebound.
  • The Sea Dogs struck again on another power play at 18:22. Joe Veleno fed Smallman who made no mistake, giving Saint John a 2-0 advantage after one period of play.
  • Just 33 seconds into the second, Imama blasted a shot past Welsh to give Saint John a 3-0 advantage.
  • The Sea Dogs scored their third power play goal of the night on their third man advantage. Smallman was able to put the puck past Welsh after it was tossed towards him, making it 4-0 Saint John at 13:20.
  • Early in the third, Chase Stewart put a big open ice hit on Ian McKinnon. The two had a quick fight after the hit.
  • During a five-on-three power play at 3:17, Donaghey got the Islanders on the board with a point shot that beat D'Orio.
  • Hunter Drew was given a five-minute major and game misconduct for checking to the head on Joe Veleno at 6:07.
  • On the ensuing power play, a shot hit Dove-McFalls and then Highmore put the puck past Welsh, making it 5-1 Saint John at 6:55.
  • Smallman completed his hat trick at 9:09 on the same power play, making it 6-1 Sea Dogs.
  • At 13:00, Dove-McFalls posted his fourth point of the night, giving the Sea Dogs a 7-1 lead. Then at 15:21, Warren made it 8-1 a nice feed from Liam Conrad.
  • MacLead scored at 19:33, making it an 8-2 final.
  • Highmore now has goals in six straight games.
  • Veleno and Warren made their log awaited returns to the Saint John lineup. Veleno played in his first game since Oct. 21 while Warren hadn't played since Sept. 24. Both had good returns - Veleno had two assists while Warren scored a goal.
  • Conrad, signed as an affiliate player and recalled by Saint John, made his QMJHL debut. He played on the fourth line with Warren and Veleno. Conrad picked up his first QMJHL point, an assist, on Warren's goal.
  • Saint John's power play went from 29.7% to 31.8% tonight.
  • Matthew Williams backed up Alex D'Orio. According to Tim Roszell, Alex Bishop is not with the team right now. Bishop is rumoured to be heading to Quebec in the Callum Booth trade.
  • The Sea Dogs do not play at home again until New Year's Eve.

Veleno, Warren return; Williams takes Bishop's spot

SAINT JOHN - The Saint John Sea Dogs had some different faces in the lineup on Saturday against the Charlottetown Islanders.

Forwards Joe Veleno and John Warren made their long awaited returns from injury. Veleno, who has appeared in just nine games this season, played his first game since Oct. 21. Warren, who appeared in Saint John's first two games of the season, made his first in-game appearance since Sept. 24.

The two were placed on the team's fourth line with call up Liam Conrad. The Sea Dogs recently signed Conrad as an affiliate player and called him up for Saturday's game. The 19-year-old has 11 goals and 14 assists in 27 games with the MHL's Dieppe Commandos this year.

Saint John also called up goaltender Matthew Williams from the MHL Summerside Western Capitals. Williams backed up Alex D'Orio - who got the start on Saturday. According to Tim Roszell on the 96.1 NewSong FM pre-game show, goaltender Alex Bishop is not with the team at the moment. Bishop is rumoured to be heading to Quebec in the Callum Booth trade.

Along with Bishop, the Sea Dogs were missing Thomas Chabot, (WJC - Canada), Mathieu Joseph (WJC - Canada), Jakub Zboril (WJC - Czech Republic), Nathan Noel (upper body), Matt Green (upper body) and Bryson Michel on Saturday.

Photo: Marc Henwood/Station Nation

Game Day 33: vs Islanders

The Saint John Sea Dogs (21-7-3-1, 1st Maritimes, 1st QMJHL) play their last game of the first half tonight at 7 p.m. at Harbour Station against the Charlottetown Islanders (20-11-1-0, 2nd Maritimes, 5th QMJHL)

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

Last games: The Sea Dogs are coming off a 4-1 win over the Blainville-Boisbriand Armada on Sunday at Harbour Station. Bokondji Imama had a hat trick for Saint John while Matthew Highmore added a single. Alex D'Orio made 12 saves in the win. The Islanders are coming off a 6-3 win over the Cape Breton Screaming Eagles on Wednesday at Eastlink Centre. Pascal Aquin had a hat trick for Charlottetown while singles came from Matthew Grouchy, Jake Coughler and Sam King. Blade Mann-Dixon made 35 saves in the win.

2016-17 head-to-head: The Sea Dogs are 2-1-1-0 against the Islanders this season while Charlottetown is 2-2-0-0 against Saint John.

Last meeting: Nov. 11 at Eastlink Centre where the Sea Dogs defeated the Islanders 7-3. Jakub Zboril had two goals for Saint John while singles came from Mathieu Joseph, Nathan Noel, Bokondji Imama, Matthew Highmore and Spencer Smallman. Saku Vesterinen, Keith Getson and Filip Chlapik had Charlottetown goals. Alex Bishop allowed three goals on 11 shots before getting pulled; Alex D'Orio made six saves in the third period. Blade Mann-Dixon allowed three goals on 15 shots before getting pulled; Matthew Welsh made 23 saves in relief.

Ex-Sea Dogs on the Islanders: Defenceman Will Thompson and goaltender Blade Mann-Dixon.

Random stat: Pierre-Olivier Joseph, the bother of Saint John's Mathieu Joseph, has four goals and 23 assists in 31 games this season. He received an invite to the CHL Top Prospects Game this week.

Friday, December 16, 2016

No Sea Dogs hockey tonight

If you haven't heard, tonight's Saint John Sea Dogs game against the Halifax Mooseheads has been postponed.

The weather in Nova Scotia has been reportedly garbage today.
The game will be made up at another date. The league has not announced that date yet.

According to the Sea Dogs website:
Fans with tickets for tonight’s game can use them for the make-up date, or exchange them at the Harbour Station Box Office for any regular season home game. (Additional costs may apply for tickets to a Premium game. Tickets exchanged for a Regular or Best Value game will have no additional costs.)
Tonight's Moncton Wildcats game in Charlottetown has also been postponed.

The Sea Dogs are scheduled to play their final game before the Christmas break tomorrow at 7 p.m. at Harbour Station against the Islanders.

Former Dogs to play in 3 on 3 league

Three former Saint John Sea Dogs are involved in the launch of the 3 on 3 Pro Hockey League.

Former Dogs Shea Kewin (Guelph Brewers), Scott Howes (Toronto Bees) and Anthony Bergin (Toronto Bees) are all listed on team rosters posted on the league's website. The rosters are much smaller than typical hockey ones, consisting of a minimum of eight players and a maximum of 10.

According to league website, "the 3HL Tour is a series 3 on 3 Pro Hockey Tournaments held in cities across Canada where 3HL Teams compete in an eight or 16 team single elimination bracket style tournament similar to March Madness with a single winner with individual tournament results contributing to the overall league standings, resulting in the top eight teams competing for the Champions Cup a the end of the season."



Eight teams - all in southern Ontario - will be competing this season.

There are a number of notable names playing in the 3HL. The league has eligibility requirements, welcoming players who played some level of major junior or professional hockey.

The league is holding a pre-season tournament this Sunday in Markham. The first official tournament, the 3HL New Years Day Classic, takes place Jan. 1 at Ryerson University's Mattamy Athletic Centre.

Eight tournaments will be held between Jan. 1 and April 22. That includes stops at OHL arenas in Oshawa, Guelph, London and Kitchener. The 3HL Champions Cup will take place May 6 in Oshawa.

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Two Sea Dogs named to Team Canada

For the second time in team history, two members of the Saint John Sea Dogs have made Canada's World Junior Championship team.

Hockey Canada announced its 2017 world junior roster late last night. Among the final 22 were Sea Dogs defenceman Thomas Chabot and forward Mathieu Joseph.

Chabot, a first-round pick of the Ottawa Senators and a member of last year's Team Canada, was a lock to make the team. There's certainly a chance he could be wearing a letter on his sweater when the tournament begins on Boxing Day in Toronto.

A lot of roster projections had Joseph missing the cut, but the forward has worked his way onto the roster. Joseph leaves the Sea Dogs for the next few weeks in a tie for first in QMJHL goal scoring with 25. While Joseph has been putting up great offensive numbers this season, he is a talented and responsible forward that can be used in all situations.

The Sea Dogs have had two players on one world junior team only once previously and that came in 2012 when Jonathan Huberdeau and Nathan Beaulieu both made the squad. Zack Phillips was also invited to camp that year but did not make the team.

Chabot and the Canadians will look to improve on their 6th-place finish from last year. The team begins tournament play on Dec. 26 against Russia.

Sea Dogs to play for Team Canada include Chris DiDomenico (2009 - Gold), Simon Despres (2011 - Silver), Nathan Beaulieu (2012 - Bronze), Huberdeau (2012 - Bronze, 2013 - 4th), Chabot (2016 - 6th, 2017 - TBD) and Joseph (2017 - TBD).

Meanwhile, Sea Dogs defenceman Jakub Zboril will likely make the Czech Republic world junior team. Former Sea Dogs forward Nikita Li received an invite to Russia's camp.

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

REPORT: Booth to be traded to Dogs


Goaltender Callum Booth will reportedly be traded to the Saint John Sea Dogs.

According to multiple reports out of Quebec - including RDS and TVA Sports - the Sea Dogs will acquire Booth and Matthew Pietroniro in exchange for Alex Bishop, Olivier Mathieu, a 2017 first round pick and a 2019 third round pick.
The QMJHL's trade period opens on Dec. 18. Understandably, Remparts head coach and general manager Philippe Boucher would not comment on the news.

Booth, 19, has spent his entire QMJHL career with the Remparts and is considered one of the top netminders in the league. This season he has a 13-8 record to go along with a 2.87 goals against average and a .918 save percentage. In 126 career QMJHL games, Booth has a 2.99 GAA and .906 SV%.

Booth will join Saint John captain Spencer Smallman as Carolina Hurricanes prospects on the Sea Dogs. The goaltender was selected in the fourth round of the 2015 NHL Draft by the 'Canes.

Pietroniro is a 17-year-old forward who is currently playing with the Lac St-Louis Lions in the Quebec midget AAA ranks. In 22 games this season he has eight goals and nine assists in 22 matches. He was an eighth round pick of the Remparts in the 2015 QMJHL Entry Draft.

The Sea Dogs are paying a big price to land a big piece. Bishop, 19, has been good this season, but Booth will be an upgrade in net. Plus, having rookie Alex D'Orio work with him will no doubt have some benefits.

Mathieu was Saint John's top pick in this year's QMJHL draft. Giving up another first in the 2017 draft has its drawbacks as well. But Saint John is very much in a window of opportunity to win now, and making upgrades that will benefit now is the priority.

The Sea Dogs could certainly make other big moves as well this trade period. We'll soon see. 

Monday, December 12, 2016

Green's agent says trade rumours are false

Luke Green's agent says a report that the defenceman asked for a trade from the Saint John Sea Dogs is false.

Allan Walsh, Green's agent, told the Chronicle Herald that there is no truth to the rumour.

“That report is totally false,” Walsh told the paper. “Luke Green has never asked for a trade in any way, shape or form. It is a completely and totally false report.”

Jean-Francois Plante, who covers the Gatineau Olympiques for Le Droit, tweeted the rumour on Friday. Plante reported that Green was unhappy with how the Sea Dogs were using him. The tweet came a day after the Sea Dogs used the d-man as a winger due to injuries up front.

"I’m happy to say on the record that we have never ever asked for a trade,” said Walsh.

Green, 18, was selected in the third round by the Winnipeg Jets in this year's NHL Draft. He has two goals and 12 assists in 26 games with Saint John this season - his third year with the club.

The QMJHL's trade period begins on Dec. 18 and ends on Jan. 6. With the Sea Dogs expected to be buyers, the club will no doubt be involved in many trade rumours.

There has been speculation on the Twitter machine that the Sea Dogs could try and land sniper Julien Gauthier from Val-d'Or Foreurs. Gauthier, who had 41 goals last season, was a first-round pick of the Carolina Hurricanes in this year's draft.

Cape Breton's Pierre-Luc Dubois is expected to be dealt from Cape Breton to Blainville-Boisbriand.

Photo: Marc Henwood/Station Nation

Sunday, December 11, 2016

RECAP: Sea Dogs win 4-1

FINAL: Blainville-Boisbriand 1, Saint John 4

Lorne Webster | SN Staff

SAINT JOHN – The Saint John Sea Dogs defeated the Blainville-Boisbriand Armada 4-1 Sunday afternoon on the annual Teddy Bear Toss Day at Harbour Station. 

The win allowed Saint John to move two points clear of the Armada for first place overall in the QMJHL. Both teams had entered the day with identical 20-7-3-1 records - and both were coming off overtime losses in their last games.

Bokondji Imama had his second hat trick in the past month to lead the Sea Dogs. Matthew Highmore added a shorthanded goal and rookie Alex D'Orio stopped 12 shots to help lead the Sea Dogs to the win.    

Remi Anglehart replied for Blainville-Boisbriand, while the Armada's star goalkeeper Samuel Montembeault was forced to make 36 saves in defeat. 

NOTES 
  • Imama fired a laser beam past Montembeault on a power play at 9:58 of the first period to set off a flurry of flying teddy bears and other assorted stuffed animals at Harbour Station. The puck went in and then out so fast that the goal had to be reviewed - while the Saint John Police and other volunteers cleared the ice surface - to confirm that is was good.   
  • The Armada failed to register a shot on goal in the first period, while the Sea Dogs had 13.
  • Imama scored his second power play goal of the game at 1:26 of the second, when he redirected a slap pass from Highmore over Montembeault's shoulder to put the hosts up 2-0.
  • Armada rookie Anglehart scored his first goal of the season, when he converted a back door feed at 8:41 of the second to make it 2-1.
  • Imama completed his hat trick - while skating four-on-four - at 12:17 of the second after batting the rebound of a Samuel Dove-McFalls shot into the net.
  • Tempers flared after Imama made it 3-1 with a couple of scrums and fisticuffs between Bailey Webster and Daven Castonguay (late in the second) and then Cole Reginato and Michael Kemp (early in the third period).
  • Highmore capped the scoring with a shorthanded goal, at 6:19 of the third, with a rocket past a defender and over Montembeault's glove.
  • Jakub Zboril leaves Monday for the Team Czech Republic training camp and will be missed during the Sea Dogs last two games before the Christmas break.
  • Affiliates Ben Reid (St. Stephen - MHL) and Alex Lafreniere (Woodstock - MHL) were called upon to help fill the void at forward in the Sea Dogs line-up. Reid and Lafreniere were teammates last season on the Saint John Vito's team that won silver at the Canadian midget 'AAA' championships.
  • The Armada entered play on Sunday with the least goals allowed in the QMJHL. It was 72 goals but they now have only given up 76.
  • Various reports - including Cape Breton's own Patrick McNeil - indicated that the Screaming Eagles will send Pierre-Luc Dubois to the Armada during the upcoming QMJHL trade period. The rumours suggested that Joel Teasdale (BBA's 2015 12th overall selection) and two future first round draft choices will be sent from Blainville-Boisbriand to Cape Breton. At the same time, other reports out of Quebec indicate that the Sea Dogs may acquire power forward Julien Gauthier and goaltender Etienne Montpetit from Val-d'Or. And the QMJHL rumour mill also has Chicoutimi adding import German Rubtsov (Russia), overage forward Joey Ratelle (Drummondville) and the Klima twins (Kevin &Kelly - Moncton).  If these rumours prove to be true, the battle for the President's Cup will be extremely interesting.  
  • Sea Dogs prospect Nathan Cyr-Trottier and the team from Trois-Rivieres won the CCM Midget AAA Challenge on Sunday.
  • Per Eastlink announcer Kris Abbott, officials Jean-Philippe Sylvain and Luc Voyer worked their third straight game of Blainville-Boisbriand's road trip through the Maritimes. With several "no calls" in favour of the Armada, many were wondering if the referee and linesman were actually travelling on the Armada's team bus. #BringYourOwnRef

GAME DAY 32: vs Armada

The Saint John Sea Dogs (20-7-3-1, 1st Maritimes, 1st QMJHL) host the Blainville-Boisbriand Armada (20-7-3-1, 1st West, 2nd QMJHL) on Teddy Bear Toss day at Harbour Station. Game time is 3 p.m.

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

Last games: The Sea Dogs are coming off a 4-3 overtime loss to the Victoriaville Tigres on Thursday at Harbour Station. Matthew Highmore scored twice while Mathieu Joseph added a solo marker. Alex Bishop made 39 saves in the win. The Armada are coming off a 3-2 overtime loss on Saturday in Moncton. Morgan Adams-Moisan and Pascal Corbeil scored for the Armada. Jacob Stewart made 26 saves in the loss.

2016-17 head-to-head: The Sea Dogs are 0-0-1-0 against the Armada this season while Blainville-Boisbriand is 1-0-0-0 against Saint John.

Last meeting: Oct. 12 in Blainville-Boisbriand where the Armada defeated the Sea Dogs 3-2 in overtime. Brock Perry, Yvan Mongo and Alexandre Alain all scored for the Armada while Dogs goals came from Spencer Smallman and Luke Green. Samuel Montembeault made 27 saves in the win. Alex Bishop made 29 saves in the loss.

Ex-Sea Dogs on the Armada: None

Random stat: The Armada are 5-0-1-0 against Maritimes Division teams this season.

Three Things to Know
1. Mathieu Joseph is on an 18-game point streak while Matthew Highmore has goals in four straight and assists in seven straight.

2. This is the third game of a three-in-three road trip for the Armada. The team defeated the Halifax Mooseheads 3-0 on Friday before falling 3-2 in overtime in Moncton yesterday.

3. It appears the Sea Dogs will be without Mathieu Joseph and Thomas Chabot today due to world junior training camp.
Notes: Mathieu Joseph leads the Sea Dogs in scoring with 45 points and goals with 25. He leads the QMJHL in goals and is sixth in scoring... Matthew Highmore leads the team in assists with 28... Alexandre Alain leads the Armada in scoring with 29 points... Alain leads the team in goals with 16... Guillaume Beaudoin has a team high 18 assists... Saint John is 10-2-2-0 at home... the Armada are 10-4-2-0 on the road... Samuel Montembeault leads the QMJHL in GAA with a rating of 1.72... Saint John has the league's best power play with a rating of 29.2%... the Armada's power play is 14th best with a rating of 20.6%... Saint John's penalty kill is also best in the league with a rating of 84.9%.

Saturday, December 10, 2016

REPORT: Luke Green asks for trade

It's that time of year.

As the QMJHL trade period approaches, so do the rumours and speculation. Here's a rumour that popped up tonight on the Twitter machine:
According to Jean-Francois Plante, who covers the Olympiques for the Gatineau newspaper Le Droit, Sea Dogs defenceman Luke Green has asked for a trade because he is unhappy with how the team has used him.

Direct Google translation:
An influential agent forward Luke Green asked a transaction in St-Jean. Not satisfied with its use. 18 def. #LHJMQ #ledroit
While it may just be a coincidence, the rumour comes a day after the Sea Dogs used Green as a forward. He started Thursday's game as the team's second line right winger, playing alongside Spencer Smallman and Bokondji Imama.

Green has two goals and 12 assists in 25 games with Saint John this season, his third year with the club. He was a third-round pick of the Winnipeg Jets in this summer's NHL Draft.

If Plate's report is true, it would likely be a significant trade for the Sea Dogs. Green, 18, has at least one more full season in the league along with the rest of this one.

Green was selected first overall by the Sea Dogs in the 2014 QMJHL Entry Draft. His twin brother, Matt, was selected by the Sea Dogs that same year. Matt Green has been sidelined with an injury for the past few weeks.

So there's all that. We'll see what happens - and if this report is true.

The QMJHL's trade period begins on Dec. 18 and ends on Jan. 6. The Sea Dogs are expected to be buyers this season.

Photo: Marc Henwood/Station Nation