Thursday, October 19, 2017

RECAP: Sea Dogs lose 3-2

FINAL: Saint John 2, Charlottetown 3
CHARLOTTETOWN, PEI - The Saint John Sea Dogs suffered their fifth straight loss on Thursday night in Charlottetown.

The Sea Dogs struggled to generate and sustain offence in a 3-2 defeat to the Charlottetown Islanders at Eastlink Centre, dropping yet another one-goal game. The loss pushes the Isles, who have now won three straight, ahead of Saint John in the standings.

Saint John has now lost four straight one goal games. Thursday's was similar to the other's - the Sea Dogs didn't play all that badly nor did they play absolutely amazing. But they matched their opponent only to fall by a single goal. The Dogs just can't break out of this slump at the moment.

Adding sting to this loss is that Saint John was outscored by the league's worst offensive team - a team that was missing it's top two scorers on Thursday due to illness and injury.

You have to give the Isles some credit for how they played in this game - and the fact that they have now won three straight.

Cayse Ton, Pascal Aquin and Matthew Grouchy had goals for Charlottetown. Matthew Welsh made 26 saves in the win.

Cedric Pare and Nathan Larose scored for the Sea Dogs. Alex D'Orio made 21 stops in the loss.

Game Day 12: at Charlottetown

CHARLOTTETOWN, PEI - The Saint John Sea Dogs will look to snap a losing streak again tonight.

The Sea Dogs were able to take their last match to overtime, which the Moncton Wildcats ended up winning. Saint John carries a four-game losing streak into tonight's match against the Charlottetown Islanders at Eastlink Centre - which is the building their last win came in.

Puck drop this evening is 7 p.m.

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

Records: The Sea Dogs are 3-6-2-0 (8 points, 5th Maritimes, 16th QMJHL) while the Islanders are 3-6-1-0 (7 points, 6th Maritimes, 17th QMJHL).

Last games: The Sea Dogs are coming off a 4-3 overtime loss in Moncton on Sunday. Cedric Pare scored twice while Robbie Burt added a single. Matt Williams made 25 stops in the loss. The Islanders are coming off a 4-3 shootout win in Bathurst on Saturday. Sam King had a pair of goals for the Isles while Adam Marsh added a solo marker. Matthew Welsh made 40 stops in the win.

2017-18 head-to-head: The Sea Dogs are 1-0-1-0 against the Islanders this season while Charlottetown is 1-1-0-0 against Saint John.

Last meeting: Oct. 6 in Charlottetown where the Sea Dogs defeated the Islanders 4-0. Ostap Safin scored a pair of goals for Saint John while singles came from Kevin Gursoy and Daniel Hardie. Cody Porter made 28 saves in the shutout win. Dakato Lund-Cornish made 29 saves in the loss.

Ex-Sea Dogs on the Islanders: Forward Adam Marsh

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Alumdate: Hot starts in the AHL

Matthew Highmore isn't the only Saint John Sea Dogs alumnus off to a hot start in the American Hockey League.

Highmore leads the Rockford IceHogs in scoring with three goals and five points through three games. He also sits second in AHL rookie scoring - one point behind former Charlottetown Islander Daniel Sprong.

The IceHogs might be the favourite AHL club of Sea Dogs fans right now. Tomas Jurco sits second on the team in scoring - and he setup Highmore's first AHL goal in the team's season opener on Oct. 7 in Cleveland (yes, Brett Gallant had a fight in that game).

The IceHogs received another former Sea Dog on Wednesday with the Chicago Blackhawks assigning Nathan Noel to the club. Noel has yet to play anywhere this season after suffering a knee injury at Blackhawks training camp.

In Belleville, Thomas Chabot is back from the big club, joining former Sea Dog Chris DiDomenico. DiDomenico, who spent a few years in the AHL and ECHL before going to Europe, has a Senators high three goals and two assists.

Alex Grant, meanwhile, is off to a fairly good start with the Iowa Wild. His first goal of the season came in the first period against Rockford on Oct. 8 - a period that saw Highmore score twice and Jurco record an assist. It's neat to see all three generations of Sea Dogs playing in the same game.

Here's a look at all the former Sea Dogs currently playing in the AHL.

Monday, October 16, 2017

Porter no longer with Sea Dogs

According to Cody Porter, Cody Porter is no longer with the Saint John Sea Dogs.

Porter tweeted Monday night that his brief time with the club has come to an end.
The 20-year-old netminder signed with the Sea Dogs as a free agent on Sept. 20. He appeared in two games with Saint John, recording a 1-1 record, one shutout, a 2.54 goals against average and a .919 save percentage.

Porter spent his entire junior career in the WHL before joining the Sea Dogs. In 117 career WHL games with the Vancouver Giants and Calgary Hitmen, Porter recorded a 52-42-5-4 record to go along with a 3.30 GAA and a .887 SV%. Last season, Porter appeared in 34 games with the Hitmen, posting a 14-16-2-1 record with a 3.46 GAA and a .888 SV%.

Porter has been removed from Saint John's roster on the team website. Alex D'Orio and Matt Williams will be the Sea Dogs' goaltending tandem.

The Sea Dogs now have a vacant 20-year-old spot. Bailey Webster and Cole Reginato are the team's only overage players at the moment.

18 Thoughts: Sea Dogs' offence has brought a mixed bag of results

SAINT JOHN - While the Saint John Sea Dogs have struggled to score this season, they have had some players meet and exceed expectations offensively.

Daniel Hardie, who scored 18 goals and 38 points in 45 games with a below .500 Rimouski Oceanic team last year, leads Saint John in scoring with five goals and 14 points in 11 games.

Import forward Ostap Safin has been living up to the hype, registering three goals and eight assists. Import defenceman Radim Salda has exceeded all expectations and has three goals and six assists. After some rough years and bad luck in the Import Draft, it's nice to see a couple guys come to Saint John and make an immediate impact.

Safin is fourth overall in QMJHL rookie scoring while Salda leads all rookie defencemen in points.

Captain Joe Veleno has found the back of the net just once this year, but has - somewhat quietly - recorded eight assists in 11 games. Not bad for a team that's averaging 2.16 goals per game (only Charlottetown is averaging fewer).

The big question: can these four keep this going all season? If not, who is going to step up?

As expected, Saint John's secondary scoring has been lacking - especially during this four game losing streak. After Veleno, Saint John's next leading scorer in Cedric Pare with four points.

Pare had a big game in Moncton on Sunday, which is hopefully a sign of things to come. Other guys have produced at times, but not consistently. But this was an expected problem heading into the season, and it's an issue that has no easy fix.

It's still early, though. There's plenty of time for the Sea Dogs to get their offence running smoother. We'll see.

Some other random thoughts...

Sunday, October 15, 2017

RECAP: Sea Dogs lose 4-3 (OT)

FINAL: Saint John 3, Moncton 4 (OT)
MONCTON - A frustrating trend continued for the Saint John Sea Dogs on Sunday afternoon.

The Sea Dogs have now lost three straight one-goal games - and four straight matches overall - following a 4-3 overtime loss to the Moncton Wildcats.

Like their previous two loses, the Sea Dogs played well enough to win but simply couldn't outscore their opposition. Saint John's offence was able to score more than it has recently, though, even taking a third period lead for a short time.

The Sea Dogs aren't catching many breaks these days. Saint John, up 3-2 near the midway mark of the third, could have taken a 4-2 lead if Landon Quinney's shot had gone in rather than hitting the post. A two-goal lead at that moment could have changed the final result as the Wildcats ended up tying the game a short time later. That's the kind of puck luck the Sea Dogs have had over the past week or so.

Cedric Pare scored twice for Saint John while Robbie Burt recorded his first QMJHL goal. Matt Williams, making his first QMJHL start, played very well in the loss, making 25 saves.

Brady Pataki scored twice for Moncton while singles came from Julien Tessier and Mika Cyr. Mark Grametbauer made 32 stops in the win.

Game Day 11: at Moncton

MONCTON - Losers of three straight, the Saint John Sea Dogs will look to turn things around this afternoon in Moncton.

The Sea Dogs lost their third consecutive match last night at Harbour Station, dropping a close 3-2 contest to the Wildcats. The two meet again today as part of the QMJHL's Rivalry Weekend.

Scoring has been a major problem for the Sea Dogs during this stretch, scoring just four goals in their past three games.

TV/Radio/Webcast: Rogers TV/96.1 NewSong FM/QMJHL Live

Records: The Sea Dogs are 3-6-1-0 (7 points, 5th Maritimes, 16th QMJHL) while the Wildcats are 7-1-2-0 (16 points, 1st Maritimes, 2nd QMJHL).

Last games: These two met last night at Harbour Station with the Wildcats winning 3-2. Radim Salda scored both Sea Dogs goals - both of which came on five-on-three power plays. Nicholas Welsh, Mika Cyr and Dylan Seitz scored for Moncton. Mark Grametbauer made 26 saves in the win. Alex D'Orio made 30 stops in the loss.

2017-18 head-to-head: The Sea Dogs are 0-2-0-0 against the Wildcats this season while Moncton is 2-0-0-0 against Saint John.

Last meeting: See above.

RECAP: Sea Dogs lose 3-2

FINAL: Moncton 3, Saint John 2
SAINT JOHN - The Saint John Sea Dogs' scoring woes continued on Saturday at Harbour Station.

For a third straight game, the Sea Dogs were only able to score two or fewer goals, falling 3-2 to the Moncton Wildcats. Saint John's second goal came on a five-on-three power play with 26 seconds remaining.

The Dogs have now lost three straight games, scoring a total of four goals in those loses. The good news - and frustrating news - is that two of those loses have been close games.

Saturday's game was a close battle, similar to the last time these two met.

Radim Salda scored both Sea Dogs goals - both of which came on five-on-three power plays. Alex D'Orio was solid again, making 30 stops in the loss.

Nicholas Welsh, Mika Cyr and Dylan Seitz scored for Moncton. Mark Grametbauer made 26 saves in the win.

The Wildcats led 2-0 after one thanks to goals from Welsh at 14:08 and and Cyr at 17:36. It was a hard fought opening frame, but the Wildcats seemed to take an edge in play after opening the scoring.

Salda connected on the power play at 8:27 of the second, firing a shot from the top of the circle through a screen and past Grametbauer.

Seitz scored what proved to be the game-winner at 18:03 of the second, giving Moncton a 3-1 advantage entering the third.

In a penalty filled final half of the third, Salda scored another power play goal at 19:34. That would be as close as the Dogs would come to tying things up.

Shots were 33-28 in favour of Moncton.

Saturday, October 14, 2017

Game Day 10: vs Wildcats

SAINT JOHN - The Saint John Sea Dogs will look to end a two-game losing streak against one of the league's hottest teams tonight.

The Sea Dogs take on the Moncton Wildcats - who sit second overall in the league standings - this evening at 7 p.m. at Harbour Station. It's Pink in the Rink night, meaning the Dogs will be wearing pink jerseys that will be raffled off in-house in support of breast cancer research.

This is the second meeting of the season between the two New Brunswick rivals.

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

Records: The Sea Dogs are 3-5-1-0 (7 points, 5th Maritimes, 15th QMJHL) while the Wildcats are 6-1-2-0 (14 points, 1st Maritimes, 2nd QMJHL).

Last games: The Sea Dogs are coming off a 2-1 loss in Bathurst on Thursday night. Kevin Gursoy scored for Saint John while Alex D'Orio made 37 stops in the loss. The Wildcats are coming off a 3-2 win over the Halifax Mooseheads on Wednesday at the Moncton Coliseum. Jaxon Bellamy, Jeremy McKenna and Mika Cyr scored for Moncton. Mark Grametbauer made 40 stops in the win.

2017-18 head-to-head: The Sea Dogs are 0-1-0-0 against the Wildcats this season while Moncton is 1-0-0-0 against Saint John.

Last meeting: Sept. 29 at the Moncton Coliseum where the Wildcats defeated the Sea Dogs 6-4. Mika Cyr scored twice for Moncton while singles came from Simon Le Coultre, Jakob Pelletier, Jonathan Aspirot and Jeremy McKenna. Alexis Girard, Anthony Boucher, Daniel Hardie and Cedric Pare scored for Saint John. Mark Grametbauer made 30 saves in the win. Cody Porter made 29 stops in the loss.

Thursday, October 12, 2017

RECAP: Sea Dogs lose 2-1

FINAL: Saint John 1, Bathurst 2
BATHURST - The Saint John Seas Dogs find themselves in a slump heading into a weekend doubleheader with the league's top team.

The Sea Dogs suffered their second straight loss on Thursday night, falling 2-1 to the Acadie-Bathurst Titan at the KC Irving Regional Centre. This was also the second straight game Saint John scored just one goal.

Like Saturday's 8-1 blowout loss to the Blainville-Boisbriand Armada, the Sea Dogs got off to a bad start. In the first period, the Dogs gave the Titan three power plays and were outshot 16-5. The good news for the Dogs was that they were down just 1-0 after one, but that goal proved to be pivotal in this low scoring contest.

Saint John did rebound from the rough first period, something they couldn't do on Saturday. The Dogs outshot the Titan in the second and managed to get on the board in the third, making it 2-1. But, despite some strong offensive pressure in final half of the third, Saint John would come no closer.

Kevin Gursoy scored Saint John's lone goal. Alex D'Orio was once again strong in net, making 37 saves in a third star performance.

Antoine Morand and Domenic Malatesta scored for the Titan. Reilly Pickard made 30 stops in the win.

Saint John will need to find their 'A' game again this weekend when they play the Moncton Wildcats twice as part of the QMJHL's Rivalry Week. The Wildcats are off to a great start and sit atop the league's standings with a 6-1-2 record.

Game Day 9: at Bathurst

BATHURST - The Saint John Sea Dogs will look to rebound from their worst loss of the season tonight.

The Sea Dogs lost 8-1 on home ice to the Blainville-Boisbriand Armada on Saturday. The team got off to a rough start and never got things straightened out. They'll look to make some adjustments tonight when they face the Acadie-Bathurst Titan at the KC Irving Regional Centre. Puck drop is scheduled for 7 p.m.

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

Records: The Sea Dogs are 3-4-0-1 (7 points, 5th Maritimes, 14th QMJHL) this season while the Titan are 3-2-2-1 (9 points, 4th Maritimes, 10th QMJHL).

Last games: The Sea Dogs are coming off an 8-1 loss on home ice to the Blainville-Boisbriand Armada on Saturday at Harbour Station. Daniel Hardie scored Saint John's lone goal. Alex D'Orio allowed five goals on 15 shots while Matthew Williams allowed three goals on 19 shots. The Titan are coming off a 3-0 loss to the Quebec Remparts on Sunday. Adam Holwell scored twice while Antoine Morand added a single. Reilly Pickard made 22 saves in the shutout win.

2017-18 head-to-head: The Sea Dogs are 1-0-0-0 against the Titan this season while Bathurst is 0-1-0-0 against Saint John.

Last meeting: The Sea Dogs defeated the Titan 3-1 on Oct. 4 at Harbour Station. Ostap Safin, Alexis Girard and Cole Reginato scored for Saint John. Adam Holwell replied for Bathurst. Alex D'Orio made 34 saves in the win. Dominik Tmej allowed three goals on nine shots. Reilly Pickard made 17 saves in the loss.

U-17 Hockey Challenge coming in 2018

A major hockey tournament is coming to Saint John and Quispamsis next year.

On Tuesday, Hockey Canada announced that the 2018 World Under-17 Hockey Challenge will be held at Harbour Station and the qplex Nov. 3-10, 2018.

“The hockey community of southwestern New Brunswick is thrilled that Hockey Canada has chosen us to host this major international event,” said Aaron Kennedy, chair of the 2018 World Under-17 Hockey Challenge host organizing committee, in a release. “Our volunteers are excited and we promise to work hard over the next year to ensure we run a fantastic tournament.”

According to a release, "the 2018 World Under-17 Hockey Challenge represents a partnership between Hockey Canada, Hockey New Brunswick, and the Canadian Hockey League, as well as the City of Saint John, the Town of Quispamsis, and the Saint John Sea Dogs of the QMJHL."
This will be the first time New Brunswick has hosted the event since Moncton in 1995.

Quispamsis hosted the Telus Cup in 2016. Other than that, there haven't been a lot of major hockey events held in the province in recent years, so this is good to see.

The event, which features three Canadian teams, is loaded with future NHL players every year.

Ticket and schedule information - which will include pre-tournament games - has not been released yet. The Sea Dogs did, however, inform Season Ticket Members and corporate partners about discounted ticket rates on Wednesday.

This year's World Under-17 Hockey Challenge is being held in Dawson Creek and Fort St. John, B.C.  next month.

Monday, October 9, 2017

Ward leading MHL in scoring

Former Saint John Sea Dogs forward Kyle Ward is off to a blazing start with the Edmundston Blizzard.

Heading into the MHL Showcase, which begins Tuesday in Summerside, Ward leads the league in points (14) and goals (10). The 20-year-old's play is a major reason why the Blizzard - formerly the Dieppe Commandos - are a league leading 7-0.

The Blizzard captain was named the MHL Player of the Month for September.

Ward spent the past two seasons with the Sea Dogs but was reassigned by the club this August. He has nine goals and 11 assists in 112 career QMJHL games.

This is Ward's first MHL action since the 2014-15 season when he suited up for the Commanados.

The Blizzard feature a few other notable names as well. 20-year-old defenecman Alexandre Bernier, who was reassigned by the Sea Dogs at the same time as Ward, has four assists in seven games. Tristan Mercure and Justin Lush, who both attended Sea Dogs camp, are also part of Edmundston's squad.

The MHL Showcase, which features all 12 of the league's teams playing games over two days, begins on Tuesday afternoon in Summerside. The Blizzard will play the Pictou County Weeks Crushers at 5 p.m. on Tuesday and the Truro Bearcats at 3 p.m. on Wednesday.

Some other MHL notes...
  • Jordan King, who played in eight games with Saint John during the 2015-16 season, is fourth in league scoring with three goals and 12 points in seven games with the Amherst Ramblers. King is the Ramblers' captain.
  • The St. Stephen Aces are 3-6 - but that's good enough for third in the Eastlink North Division. Sea Dogs prospect Aiden MacIntosh has two goals and four points in nine games.
  • Mark Perone, a Toronto native who attended Sea Dogs rookie camp, is playing with the Aces this season. He has a goal and two assists in nine games.
  • The Woodstock Slammers traded Ian Smallwood to the South Shore Lumberjacks last week. The defenceman has a goal and an assist in six MHL games.

Sunday, October 8, 2017

Chabot scores first pro goal; recalled by Senators to NHL

Embed from Getty Images

Thomas Chabot didn't have to wait long to get called up to the NHL.

The Ottawa Senators announced this afternoon that Chabot has been recalled to the big club. The Sens assigned Chabot to Belleville of the American Hockey League on Oct. 1 following a rough final preseason outing with Ottawa.
Chabot appeared in one NHL game with Ottawa last season before being assigned back to Saint John for a final season of junior.

Ottawa begins a western Canada road trip on Tuesday in Vancouver.

Saturday, October 7, 2017

RECAP: Sea Dogs lose 8-1

FINAL: Blainville-Boisbriand 8, Saint John 1
SAINT JOHN - It was a night to forget for the Saint John Dogs.

The Blainville-Boisbriand Armada scored three goals in first period and four in the second in an 8-1 blowout victory of the Sea Dogs on Friday night at Harbour Station. The loss ended Saint John's three-game winning streak and sent the team back below the .500 mark.

The Sea Dogs got off to bad start and were never able to recover in what was the squad's worst loss of the season. The Armada's three goals in the first period came on just eight shots, but it was hard to fault Alex D'Orio on any of them. It was simply a rough, rough night for Saint John.

D'Orio was pulled in the second period after allowing five goals on 15 shots. Matt Williams allowed three goals on 19 shots in relief.

Daniel Hardie scored Saint John's lone goal on the night.

Alexander Katerinakis scored two goals for the Armada while singles came from Ryan DaSilva, Anthony Poulin, Connor Bramwell, Jan Hladonik, Thomas Ethier and Charles-Antoine Giguere. Goaltender Emile Samson, making his QMJHL debut, made 27 saves in his first career victory.

Game Day 8: vs Armada

SAINT JOHN - The Saint John Sea Dogs look to extend their winning streak tonight at Harbour Station.

Winners of three straight, the Sea Dogs host the St. John's Fog Devils Montreal Junior Blainville-Boisbriand Armada this evening at 7 p.m.

This is the first time these expansion cousins have met since the President Cup Final this past May.

TV/Radio/Webcast: Rogers TV/96.1 NewSong FM/QMJHL Live

Records: The Sea Dogs are 3-3-1-0 (7 points, 3rd Maritimes, 7th QMJHL) while the Armada are 3-1-0-0 (6 points, 2nd West Division, 9th QMJHL).

Last games: The Sea Dogs are coming off a 4-0 win in Charlottetown last night. Ostap Safin scored twice while Kevin Gursoy and Daniel Hardie added singles. Cody Porter made 28 saves for his first QMJHL shutout and win. The Armada are coming off a 5-4 overtime win in Bathurst last night. Antoine Crete-Belzile scored twice while singles came from Micheal Kemp, Anthony Poulin and Joel Teasdale. Francis Leclerc made 33 saves in the win.

2016-17 head-to-head: The Sea Dogs were 1-0-1-0 against the Armada in the regular season last year while Blainville-Boisbriand went 1-1-0-0 against Saint John. The two also met in the President Final, which the Sea Dogs won in four straight games.

Last meeting: May 10 in Boisbriand where the Sea Dogs won Game 4 of the President Cup Final 5-1. Spencer Smallman scored twice while singles came from Bokondji Imama, Simon Bourque and Matthew Highmore. Pierre-Luc Dubois scored for the Armada. Callum Booth made 20 saves in the win. Samuel Montembeault made 29 stops in the loss.

Ex-Sea Dogs on the Armada: None.

Friday, October 6, 2017

RECAP: Sea Dogs win 4-0

FINAL: Saint John 4, Charlottetown 0
CHARLOTTETOWN, PEI - The Saint John Sea Dogs solved the Charlottetown Islanders' penalty kill on Friday night at Eastlink Centre.

Charlottetown's penalty kill entered the game with a league best rating of 94.4% but struggled on Friday, giving up four goals in a 4-0 loss to the Sea Dogs.

The Islanders' penalty kill had been one of the few bright spots for the team so far this season. Charlottetown has just one win - and overtime victory in Saint John - and has scored just six goals in six games. They are now 1-5 on the season.

Meanwhile, the Sea Dogs have turned around their early season struggles, winning their third straight. Saint John is now 3-3-1-0 after a 0-4 start.

Saint John's offence was once agin led by Ostap Safin (two goals and an assist) and Daniel Hardie (one goal and one assist). Kevin Gursoy also scored while Joe Veleno and Radim Salda each had two assists.

Cody Porter earned his first QMJHL win and shutout, making 28 saves.

Game Day 7: at Charlottetown

SAINT JOHN - The Saint John Sea Dogs will look for their third straight win tonight in Charlottetown.

The Sea Dogs, after an 0-4 start, have won back-to-back contests heading into this evening's 7 p.m. contest at Eastlink Centre.

The Islanders, meanwhile, have just one win in five tries this year - and that one victory was an overtime win in Saint John.

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

Records: The Sea Dogs are 2-3-1-0 (5 points, 5th Maritimes, 11th QMJHL) while the Islanders are 1-4-0-0 (2 points, 6th Maritimes, 16th QMJHL).

Last games: The Sea Dogs are coming off a 3-1 win over the Titan on Wednesday at Harbour Station. Ostap Safin, Alexis Girard and Cole Reginato scored for Saint John. Alex D'Orio made 34 saves in the win. The Islanders are coming off a 3-0 loss in Halifax on Sunday. Matthew Welsh made 22 saves in the loss.

2017-18 head-to-head: The Sea Dogs are 0-0-1-0 against the Islanders this season while Charlottetown is 1-0-0-0 against Saint John.

2016-17 head-to-head: The Sea Dogs were 6-2-1-0 against the Islanders last season while Charlottetown went 3-6-0-0 against against Saint John.

Last meeting: Sept. 28 at Harbour Station where the Islanders defeated the Sea Dogs 2-1 in overtime. Adam Marsh and Keith Getson scored for Charlottetown. Joe Veleno scored Saint John's lone goal. Matthew Welsh made 20 saves in the win. Alex D'Orio made 46 saves in the loss.

Ex-Sea Dogs on the Islanders: Forward Adam Marsh

Thursday, October 5, 2017

RECAP: Sea Dogs win 3-1

FINAL: Bathurst 1, Saint John 3
SAINT JOHN - The Saint John Sea Dogs are on a winning streak.

After an 0-4 start to the season, the Sea Dogs won their second straight QMJHL contest on Wednesday night, defeating the Acadie-Bathurst Titan 3-1 at Harbour Station.

Ostap Safin, Alexis Girard and Cole Reginato all scored for the Sea Dogs. Alex D'Orio was once again terrific in net, making 34 stops in a first star performance.

Like Sunday's win in Cape Breton - Saint John's first victory of the season - the Sea Dogs had a great first period. The Dogs opened the scoring less than two minutes in and led 3-0 after the opening frame.

Dominik Tmej allowed three goals on nine shots in the first. Reilly Pickard came on in relief and stopped all 17 shots he faced.

The Titan had their moments, outshooting Saint John 35-26. But D'Orio was the big difference maker, making several timely stops.

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Game Day 6: vs Titan

SAINT JOHN - Coming off their first victory of the season, the Saint John Sea Dogs will look to make it two-in-a-row tonight when they host the Acadie-Bathurst Titan at Harbour Station.

This is the first meeting of the season between the Sea Dogs and Titan, who split a pair of games in the preseason.

Puck drop tonight is at 7 p.m.

TV/Radio/Webcast: Rogers TV/96.1 NewSong FM/QMJHL Live

Records: The Sea Dogs are 1-3-1-0 (3 points, 5th Maritimes, 14th QMJHL) while the Titan are 2-1-1-1 (6 points, 3rd Maritimes, 7th QMJHL).

Last games: The Sea Dogs are coming off a 3-1 win in Cape Breton on Sunday. Daniel Hardie, Radim Salda and Landon Quinney all scored for Saint John. Alex D'Orio made 22 saves in the win. The Titan are coming off a 4-3 loss in Halifax on Saturday. Samuel L'Italien, Jeffrey Truchon-Viel and Justin Ducharme scored for Bathurst. Reilly Pickard made 29 stops in the loss.

2017-18 head-to-head: This is the first meeting of the season between the two.

2016-17 head-to-head: The Sea Dogs were 4-4-1-0 against the Titan last season while Bathurst went 5-4-0-0 against Saint John.

Last meeting: Aug. 25 at the KC Irving Regional Centre where the Titan defeated the Sea Dogs in preseason play. Ethan Crossman had four goals for the Titan while singles came from Domenic Malatesta, Jordan Maher, Dawson Theede, Jeffrey Truchon-Viel and Antoine Morand. Ian Smallwood, Cedric Pare, Aiden MacIntosh and Samuel Leblanc scored for Saint John. Matthew Williams was pulled after allowing four goals on 10 shots in the first period. Joel Goguen made 16 saves in relief. For Bathurst, Dominik Tmej made 11 saves through two periods. Simon Boudreault-Belzile made eight saves in relief.

Monday, October 2, 2017

Deakin-Poot joining Sea Dogs?

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Are the Saint John Sea Dogs bringing in another Ontario forward?

Long-time Guelph Storm reporter Tony Saxon tweeted on Monday that there are rumblings of forward Nick Deakin-Poot joining the Sea Dogs.
Deakin-Poot, a third-round pick of the Storm in 2015, has spent the past two seasons with the club but has not produced a whole lot offensively. In 112 career OHL games, the centre has 10 goals and 21 points.

The Georgetown, Ont. native has appeared in two games with Guelph this season, recording one assist. He is also listed on the active roster for the Brampton Jr. B 99ers of the GOJHL.

The Sea Dogs have added a number of Ontario-born players over the past few weeks as they try to retool their roster without giving up assets. The signings include Kevin Gursoy, Robbie Burt and Samuel Duchesne.

If Deakin-Poot signs with the Dogs, he would immediately crack the list of top names in team history.

Sunday, October 1, 2017

RECAP: Sea Dogs win 3-1

FINAL: Saint John, Cape Breton
SYDNEY, NS - The Saint John Sea Dogs earned their first win of the season on Sunday at Centre 200.

Radim Salda's first QMJHL goal at 15:36 of the third period ended up being the game-winner as the Sea Dogs defeated the Cape Breton Screaming Eagles by a score of 3-1.

Salda, Daniel Hardie and Landon Quinney all scored in the win. Alex D'Orio had another strong game, making 22 saves.

The victory comes after several close loses for the Sea Dogs, who were no doubt getting frustrated by their final results. Given D'Orio's reaction to the final horn sounding, the win is no doubt a relief for the team.

Drake Batherson had Cape Breton's lone goal in what was a very entertaining, back-and-forth affair. Kevin Mandolese made 33 stops in the loss.

Chabot assigned to AHL Belleville

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Thomas Chabot was assigned to the American Hockey League by the Ottawa Senators on Sunday.

Chabot had a rough outing in the Senators' final preseason match on Saturday, posting a -5 rating in 16:59 of ice time in Ottawa's 9-2 loss to the Montreal Canadiens.

The 20-year-old defenceman will start the 2017-18 with the Senators' new AHL affiliate, the Belleville Senators, where he'll be reunited with former Sea Dogs assistant coach Paul Boutilier. The team begins regular season play on Friday in Laval against the Rocket.

Chabot will likely see some NHL action at some point this season, whether that be as a call up or a full time member of the Sens.

A 2015 first-rounder, Chabot started last season with Ottawa, appearing in one game before being sent back to Saint John.

In 34 regular season games with the Sea Dogs last year, Chabot had 10 goals and 45 points. He had another five goals and 23 points in 18 playoff games.

Game Day 5: at Cape Breton

SYDNEY, NS - The Saint John Sea Dogs will try once again to get their first win of the season.

Saint John is one of just three teams without a win yet this season, joining Shawinigan and Chicoutimi. They'll look to change that this afternoon when they take on the Cape Breton Screaming Eagles in Sydney. Game time is 4 p.m.

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

Records: The Sea Dogs are 0-3-1-0 (1 point, 6th Maritimes, 17th QMJHL) while the Screaming Eagles are 3-0-0-0 (6 points, 1st Maritimes, 3rd QMJHL).

Last games: The Sea Dogs are coming off a 6-4 loss in Moncton on Friday night. Alexis Girard, Anthony Boucher, Daniel Hardie and Cedric Pare all scored for Saint John. Cody Porter made 29 saves in the loss. The Screaming Eagles are coming off a 4-3 overtime win over the Acadie-Bathurst Titan on home ice on Friday. Ryan Francis, Egor Sokolov, Mathias Laferriere and Declan Smith scored for Cape Breton. Kyle Jessiman made 21 saves in the win.

2016-17 head-to-head: The Sea Dogs were 6-2-1-0 against the Screaming Eagles last season while Cape Breton went 3-6-0-0 against Saint John.

2017-18 head-to-head: The Sea Dogs are 0-1-0-0 against the Screaming Eagles this season while Cape Breton is 1-0-0-0 against Saint John.

Last meeting: Sept. 23 at Harbour Station where the Screaming Eagles defeated the Sea Dogs 3-1. Drake Batherson, Sacha Roy and Egor Sokolov all scored for Cape Breton. Isiah Campbell scored Saint John's lone goal. Kevin Mandolese made 28 saves in the win. Alex D'Orio made 31 stops in the loss.

Ex-Sea Dogs on the Screaming Eagles: None

Saturday, September 30, 2017

Notes: Sea Dogs sign Burt

Embed from Getty Images

SYDNEY, NS - The Saint John Sea Dogs announced a long rumoured roster move before Friday's game in Moncton.

The Sea Dogs officially announced the signing of 18-year-old forward Robbie Burt. The Hillsburgh, Ont. native has been with the club for a bit and made his QMJHL debut on Friday in Moncton.

Burt, wearing No. 26, finished Friday's 6-4 Sea Dogs loss in Moncton with a -2 rating, two hits and two penalty minutes.

Burt, selected 11th overall in the 2015 OHL Draft, has spent the past two seasons in the OHL, playing with the Oshawa Generals and Kingston Frontenacs. In 46 games with the Generals last season, Burt recorded seven goals and four assists.

In other news...

  • Burt is listed at 6'1" and 230 lbs. The QMJHL released some stats on Friday listing the Sea Dogs as the heaviest team in the league, on average. They are also the tallest.
  • Alexis Girard and Anthony Boucher both scored their first goals as Sea Dogs on Friday.
  • The Sea Dogs scored four goals in their loss to the Wildcats. They had scored three goals in their previous three games combined.
  • Daniel Hardie's power play goal was the first man advantage marker the Wildcats have allowed this year.
  • The Sea Dogs made a curious decision in the late moments of Friday's contest, pulling goaltender Cody Porter with a little over three minutes remaining - this with the team down just one goal. Moncton scored shortly after, making it 6-4.
  • Moncton's Brady Pataki was given a five-minute major and game misconduct for a nasty looking boarding penalty on Ostap Safin. The Czech forward had his head come down on the top of the boards in front of the benches.
  • The Sea Dogs are back in action on Sunday when they face the Cape Breton Screaming Eagles at 4 p.m. in Sydney.

RECAP: Sea Dogs lose 6-4

FINAL: Saint John 4, Moncton 6
MONCTON - The Saint John Sea Dogs lost yet another close game on Friday in Moncton.

The Sea Dogs are off to a 0-3-1-0 start following a 6-4 loss to the Wildcats. There were certainly some positives from the game - Saint John scored more than one goal and even led for a brief period. But the 'Cats proved to be too strong.

Alexis Girard, Anthony Boucher and Cedric Pare all netted their first goals of the season. Daniel Hardie scored his second. Cody Porter, making his QMJHL debut, made 29 saves in the loss.

Mika Cyr scored twice for Moncton while singles came from Simon Le Coultre, Jakob Pelletier, Jonathan Aspirot and Jeremy McKenna. Mark Grametbauer made 30 saves in the victory.

Following Thursday's offensive struggles against Charlottetown, the Sea Dogs have to be happy with Friday's showing despite the loss. They'll look for their first win of the season on Sunday in Sydney.

More on Friday's game tomorrow on SN.

Friday, September 29, 2017

Game Day 4: at Moncton

MONCTON - The Saint John Sea Dogs are still looking for their first win of the 2016-17 season.

They'll try again tonight when they face the Moncton Wildcats at 7 p.m. Tonight's contest is the final season opener in Moncton Coliseum history.

The Sea Dogs have held each of their first three games close but have been unable to score enough goals to secure a victory. Through three games, the Dogs have scored just three times.

TV/Radio/Webcast: Rogers TV/96.1 NewSong FM/QMJHL Live

Records: The Sea Dogs are 0-2-1-0 (1 point, 6th Maritimes, 18th QMJHL) while the Wildcats are 1-1-0-0 (2 points, 4th Maritimes, 11th QMJHL)

Last games: The Sea Dogs are coming off a 2-1 overtime loss on home ice to the Charlottetown Islanders last night. Joe Veleno scored Saint John's goal while Alex D'Orio made 46 saves in the loss. The Wildcats are coming off a 7-4 loss in Bathurst on Sunday. Anderson MacDonald scored a pair for the Wildcats while Jaxon Bellamy and Nicholas Welsh added singles. Matthew Waite made 38 stops in the loss.

2016-17 head-to-head: The Sea Dogs were 7-1-0-1 against the Wildcats last season while Moncton went 2-7-0-0 against Saint John.

Last meeting: These two met for a preseason game on Sept. 14 in Fredericton, which the Wildcats won 4-3. Jeremy McKenna, Julien Tessier, Anderson MacDonald and Jacob Hudson scored for Moncton. Kevin Gursoy, Ben Reid and Daniel Hardie scored for Saint John. Matthew Waite made 27 saves in the win. Matthew Williams made 38 stops in the loss.

Ex-Sea Dogs on the Wildcats: Forward Julien Tessier

Thursday, September 28, 2017

RECAP: Sea Dogs lose 2-1 (OT)

FINAL: Charlottetown 2, Saint John 1 (OT)
SAINT JOHN - Alex D'Orio was terrific in the Saint John Sea Dogs' 2-1 overtime loss to the Charlottetown Islanders on Thursday night at Harbour Station.

The Sea Dogs netminder made 46 stops - including 18 in the second period alone - as he kept his team in the game. Saint John was heavily outshot all game long and were behind 1-0 until Joe Veleno tied it up late in the third, sending the match to overtime and getting the Sea Dogs their first point of the season.

Saint John's offence definitely needs some adjusting. Even though the Dogs juggled their lines for much of the game, nothing was working. The team has scored just three goals in its first three games of the season.

Charlottetown, who earned their first win of the year, had goals from veterans Adam Marsh and Keith Getson. Goaltender Matthew Welsh had a quiet night, stopping 20 shots in the win.

Game Day 3: vs Islanders

SAINT JOHN - Two winless Maritimes Division teams meet tonight at Harbour Station.

The Saint John Sea Dogs and Charlottetown Islanders - the division's top teams a year ago that have both taken big steps back - meet for the first time this season tonight at Harbour Station. Puck drop is scheduled for 7 p.m.

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

Records: The Sea Dogs are 0-2-0-0 (0 points, 6th Maritimes, 18th QMJHL) while the Islanders are also 0-2-0-0 (0 points, 5th Maritimes, 17th QMJHL).

Last games: The Sea Dogs are coming off a 3-1 loss to the Cape Breton Screaming Eagles on Saturday at Harbour Station. Isiah Campbell scored Saint John's lone goal while Alex D'Orio made 31 stops in the loss. The Islanders are coming off a 3-2 loss at home to the Halifax Mooseheads on Saturday. Saku Vesterinen and Taylor Egan both scored for Charlottetown. Matthew Welsh made 33 saves in the loss.

2016-17 head-to-head: The Sea Dogs were 6-2-1-0 against the Islanders last season while Charlottetown went 3-6-0-0 against against Saint John.

Last meeting: March 17 at Eastlink Centre where the Islanders defeated the Sea Dogs 6-3. Nicolas Meloche, Pascal Aquin, Filip Chlapik, Daniel Sprong, Chris Chaddock and Alex Dostie scored for Charlottetown. Bokondji Imama scored twice for Saint John while Isiah Campbell added a single. Mark Grametbauer made 30 stops in the win. Alex D'Orio made 31 saves in the loss.

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Notebook: Games are coming

SAINT JOHN - The Saint John Sea Dogs have a few days to prepare for their next stretch of games.

The Sea Dogs will play three games in four days beginning on Thursday at home when they host the Charlottetown Islanders. Expectations for the Islanders are very low this season as they begin a significant rebuild. Like Saint John, they are off to an 0-2 start.

On Friday, the Sea Dogs will play in the last ever Wildcats home opener at the Moncton Coliseum. Moncton is 1-1 and is coming off a 7-4 loss in Bathurst on Sunday afternoon. This will be Saint John's first road game of the year.

On Sunday, Saint John will head to Sydney to face the Screaming Eagles for the second time this season. The two teams met on Saturday at Harbour Station with Cape Breton winning a close contest, 3-1.

Green signs with Jets

Former Sea Dogs defenceman Luke Green has signed an entry-level deal with the Winnipeg Jets.

The Jets are one of the rare teams that disclose financial details. According to the Jets, Green's deal is a three-year, entry-level contract with an average annual value of $846,700.

Green, who the Sea Dogs traded to the Sherbrooke Phoenix last season, was a third-round pick of the Jets in the 2016 NHL Draft.

The 19-year-old suffered a dislocated shoulder at Jets camp and is expected to miss four to five months.

Sunday, September 24, 2017

Saint John's special teams off to rough start

SAINT JOHN - The Saint John Sea Dogs' special teams are off to a rough start this season.

Through two games, the Sea Dogs have allowed seven goals - which isn't awful for the QMJHL - with just one of those goals coming at even strength. Saint John has given up four power play goals and two shorthanded markers (although one of those power play goals came at five-on-five with the net empty).

Here's a breakdown of Saint John's goals against:

Friday vs Halifax
2nd period, 5:23: Power play goal
2nd period, 12:16: Power play goal
2nd period, 17:25: Even strength goal
3rd period, 2:28: Power play goal

Saturday vs Cape Breton
1st period, 15:57: Shorthanded goal
3rd period, 7:01: Shorthanded goal
3rd period: Power play goal, empty net

On the flip, Saint John's power play has scored just one goal on 13 opportunities.

The good news is that Saint John has allowed just one even strength marker. If the team can get its power play and penalty kill sorted out, there's certainly potential for this squad. It's also incredibly early - even last year's team had some rough patches on special teams. Saint John could definitely turn things around - but this is a rough start, no question.

The Sea Dogs will no doubt make some adjustments heading into next week's game. With a new head coach and so many new faces, it'll be interesting to see what changes are made.

RECAP: Sea Dogs lose 3-1

FINAL: Cape Breton 3, Saint John 1
SAINT JOHN - Special teams have been the early story of the Saint John Sea Dogs' season - and not in a good way.

After giving up three power play goals in Thursday's loss to the Halifax Mooseheads, the Sea Dogs allowed two shorthanded goals in a 3-1 loss to the Cape Breton Screaming Eagles on Saturday at Harbour Station.

Through two games, the Sea Dogs have scored just two goals while giving up seven. Of those seven goals, four have come on the power play, two have been shorthanded and one has been at even strength (although one of Saturday's power play goals was at five-on-five with the net empty).

The special teams' struggle doesn't come as a huge surprise given how many new faces are in the lineup. Hopefully the Dogs can gain better chemistry and get things turned around quick with two winnable games coming up: Thursday against Charlottetown and Friday in Moncton.

Like Thursday's game, the Sea Dogs didn't play too bad and had a chance to win. But a few bad breaks - in Saturday's case, a disallowed first period goal and an unfortunate bounce on the game-winner - proved to be costly.

On Saturday, Drake Batherson, Sacha Roy and Egor Sokolov scored for Cape Breton. Kevin Mandolese made 28 stops in the win.

Isiah Campbell scored Saint John's lone goal. Alex D'Orio made 31 saves in the loss.

Saturday, September 23, 2017

Game Day 2: vs Screaming Eagles

SAINT JOHN - The Cape Breton Screaming Eagles visit Harbour Station tonight to take on the Saint John Sea Dogs at 7 p.m.

The Sea Dogs dropped their season opener 4-1 to the Halifax Mooseheads on Thursday night at home. The Screaming Eagles, meanwhile, defeated the Acadie-Bathurst Titan 3-2 in a shootout last night.

TV/Radio/Webcast: Rogers TV/96.1 NewSong FM/QMJHL Live

Records: The Sea Dogs are 0-1-0-0 (0 points, 17th QMJHL, 6th Maritimes) while the Screaming Eagles are 1-0-0-0 (2 points, 9th QMJHL, 3rd Maritimes).

Last games: The Sea Dogs are coming off a 4-1 loss to the Halifax Mooseheads on Thursday. Daniel Hardie scored Saint John's lone goal while Alex D'Orio made 24 saves in the loss. The Screaming Eagles are coming off a 3-2 shootout win in Bathurst last night. Olivier Bourret and Phelix Martineau scored for the Screaming Eagles. Kyle Jessiman made 40 saves in the win.

2016-17 head-to-head: The Sea Dogs went 6-2-1-0 against the Screaming Eagles last season while Cape Breton went 3-6-0-0 against Saint John.

Last meeting: Aug. 20 at the Superior Propane Centre in Moncton where the Screaming Eagles defeated the Sea Dogs 5-1 in the fifth-place game of the of the QMJHL's Rookie Showcase.

Friday, September 22, 2017

RECAP: Sea Dogs lose 4-1

FINAL: Halifax 4, Saint John 1
SAINT JOHN - On the strength of three power play goals, the Halifax Mooseheads defeated the Saint John Sea Dogs 4-1 on opening night at Harbour Station.

Maxime Fortier netted a pair of goals while singles came from Filip Zadina and Xavier Parent. Alexis Gravel was solid in the Halifax net, making 31 saves in the win.

Daniel Hardie's first goal as a Sea Dog would be Saint John's only marker of the night. Alex D'Orio made 24 saves in the loss.

Neither teams looked spectacular in the CHL's first game of the 2017-18 season. Neither were awful, either, but there's certainly plenty to improve upon on both sides. If the Sea Dogs had been able to capitalize on more on their scoring chances, the score - or the result - could have been different.

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Game Day 1: vs Mooseheads

SAINT JOHN - A new season - and a new era - begins tonight for the Saint John Sea Dogs.

After losing the majority of their core this off-season due to graduation, the Sea Dogs will have plenty of new faces in the lineup when the team hits the ice this evening against the Halifax Mooseheads. Puck drop is scheduled for 7 p.m.

This will be the first match of the 2017-18 CHL season. The Sea Dogs will raise their 2017 President Cup championship banner to the rafters before the game.

TV/Radio/Webcast: Rogers TV/96.1 NewSong FM/QMJHL Live

Records: This is the first game of the regular season for both clubs. The Sea Dogs were 1-6-1-0 in preseason play while the Mooseheads were 6-3-0-0.

Last games: The Sea Dogs and Mooseheads met last Friday at Scotiabank Centre for a preseason game, which Halifax won 4-3. Benoit-Olivier Groulx, Filip Zadina, Xavier Parent and Kyle Petten all scored for Halifax. Saint John goal scorers were Anthony Boucher, Alexandre Lafreniere and William Poirier. Alexis Gravel made 39 stops in the win. Joel Goguen made 19 stops in the loss.

2016-17 head-to-head: The Sea Dogs were 6-2-0-0 against the Mooseheads last season while Halifax went 2-6-0-0 against Saint John.

Last meeting: This past Friday. See above.

Ex-Sea Dogs on the Mooseheads: Goaltender Blade Mann-Dixon

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Sea Dogs sign overage goaltender

Embed from Getty Images

The Saint John Sea Dogs made a bit of an unexpected move on Monday, signing free agent goaltender Cody Porter.

The overage netminder - he'll turn 20 on Saturday - comes to Saint John after spending his entire junior career in the Western Hockey League. According to a team press release, he's expected to be available for Thursday's season opener at Harbour Station.

Porter has appeared in 117 career WHL games with the Vancouver Giants and Calgary Hitmen, recording a 52-42-5-4 record to go along with a 3.30 goals-against average and a .887 save percentage.

Last season, Porter appeared in 34 games with the Hitmen, posting a 14-16-2-1 record with a 3.46 GAA and a .888 SV%.

Goaltender Alex D'Orio was reassigned to the Sea Dogs by the Pittsburgh Penguins this week. D'Orio's backup would, presumably, have been Matthew Williams. Now, it appears the team's duo will be D'Orio and Porter, but we'll see what happens.

Update: Williams was injured during the preseason, according to a source.

If the plan is to have Porter backup or platoon with D'Orio, it will no doubt take a bit of pressure off D'Orio, who will enter his first season as a No. 1 goaltender.

Porter joins defenceman Bailey Webster and forward Cole Reginato as overage players on this year's team.

Saint John begins regular season play on Thursday night at 7 p.m. against the Halifax Mooseheads.

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Harbour Station raises cost of parking

Parking at Saint John Sea Dogs games just got a bit pricier.

In an email sent out this afternoon, Harbour Station announced it would be raising the price of event parking by $1. The price increase begins this Thursday when the Sea Dogs begin regular season play against the Halifax Mooseheads.

Here's the full email:

The cost of special event parking on Harbour Station lots is going up by one dollar. The increase becomes effective with the Saint John Sea Dogs home opener this Thursday night (September 21). 
It’s been almost 20 years since the event parking price was last increased. The change reflects increases in labour and maintenance costs.

No specific prices were included, so, presumably, the main lot will now cost $4 and long wharf $3.

Coincidently, the Saint John Parking Commission tweeted this recently:
Safe travels.

Monday, September 18, 2017

Pare, D'Orio reassigned to Saint John

It appears the Saint John Sea Dogs will have their full roster available for Thursday's season opener at Harbour Station.

A day after the Edmonton Oilers reassigned Ostap Safin to Saint John, the Boston Bruins have sent Cedric Pare back to the Sea Dogs and the Pittsburgh Penguins have returned Alex D'Orio to the Port City as well.

All three will likely be available when the Sea Dogs begin regular season play on Thursday night, hosting the Halifax Mooseheads.

Pare was a sixth-round pick of the Bruins in this year's NHL Draft. The 18-year-old will be entering his second full season with the Sea Dogs and will be a much more prominent figure on the team with the departure of so many veterans.

D'Orio recently signed with the Penguins as a free agent after joining the team for development and rookie camps. Like Pare, he'll be entering his second full season in Saint John - but this time as the No. 1 netminder.

Safin, Pare and D'Orio will be the only NHL affiliated players on the Sea Dogs to start the season, which is pretty good considering the amount of roster turnover. The team also features Joe Veleno of course, a likely first round pick in the 2018 NHL Draft.

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Oilers return Safin to Saint John

Ostap Safin is Saint John bound.

The Edmonton Oilers announced on Sunday that Safin has been reassigned to his junior club, the Sea Dogs. The Czech forward skated briefly at Harbour Station before departing for Oilers camp but has not seen any game action - regular or preseason - with Saint John.

Safin is expected to make his Sea Dogs debut this Thursday when the team hosts the Halifax Mooseheads to begin the 2017-18 regular season.

The 18-year-old was selected 53rd overall by Saint John in this year's CHL Import Draft. He was also a fourth-round pick of Edmonton in this year's NHL Draft.

Safin will join fellow Czech Radim Salda to make up the Sea Dogs' import duo.

Safin will likely suit up for the Czech Republic at this year's world junior tournament in Buffalo.

The Sea Dogs are still without goaltender Alex D'Orio (Pittsburgh) and forward Cedric Pare (Boston) due to NHL training camps. There's a good chance both will be returned to junior for Thursday's season opener.

Photo: Edmonton Oilers Twitter

Veleno ranked 5th by Bob McKenzie

Saint John Sea Dogs forward Joe Veleno will start the season as the top ranked Canadian player for the 2018 NHL Draft, at least according to TSN's Bob McKenzie.

McKenzie's preseason rankings, which are usually fairly accurate come June, ranks Veleno as the fifth best player for the 2018 draft.

The Sea Dogs forward sits behind Rasmus Dahlin (Sweden), Andrei Svechnikov (Russia), Brady Tkachuk (United States) and Adam Boqvist (Sweden). 

Filip Zadina (seventh), Jared McIsaac (11th) and Benoit-Olivier Groulx (17th), who all play for the Halifax Mooseheads, were the only other QMJHL players to make McKenzie's rankings.
TSN's Craig Button released his latest draft rankings a couple weeks ago, placing Veleno ninth.

"Has great determination and desire to make a difference," Button wrote of Veleno. "His abilities are very good and he makes it hard for opponents to defend him."

Veleno was ranked eighth in The Bloggers' Tribune's September rankings.

Something to prove

By Craig Eagles | Special to SN

What did you do this summer?

Cedric Pare had something to prove.

The Boston Bruins sixth-round selection worked extremely hard over the summer months and is now anxiously awaiting the start of main camp.

“I was in the gym five days a week for two hours, I worked all summer to get ready for my season and Bruins camp,” said Pare.

The Bruins organization keyed in on Pare’s skating as one area that needed to improve.

“They told me to work on my explosiveness, and build strength and that’s what I focused on all summer,” added Pare. “I power skated three times a week, and followed a nutritional plan, that’s helped me a lot this off season,” Pare said.

Pare thoroughly enjoyed the B’s Development Camp in July and credits that experience with added incentive for the off-season.

“I really saw what I need to do to become a professional, from a nutrition plan, stretching, and what I needed to work on and improve during the summer,” explained Pare.

Don Sweeney’s main directive from the beginning of his tenure as GM has been to draft well and develop players. A subtle but key addition to the Bruins organization was Jamie Langenbrunner. The two-time Stanley Cup Champion joined the Bruins organization in September 2015 as the Player Development Coordinator.

“Jamie is a good guy, he knows what all the players need to work on, he’s fun to talk to and knows the game very well,” Pare said. “The Bruins have given me a lot of feedback and they are very close with their players. We have a lot fun with the coaches on and off the ice,” explained Pare.

Pare wants to make a great impression at main camp and to continue to build on the momentum from a great off season and solid performance at Development Camp and Prospects Challenge Tournament this past week.

“I’m expecting a competitive camp with a lot speed. I’m going to play my game and have some fun,” said Pare.

Saturday, September 16, 2017

Rogers TV broadcast schedule announced

Rogers TV New Brunswick has unveiled its QMJHL broadcast schedule for the 2017-18 season.

The cable provider's broadcasts will begin this Thursday when the Sea Dogs host the Halifax Mooseheads at 7 p.m. at Harbour Station. It will be the first of 25 Sea Dogs games to air on channel 10 this season. Only six of those games will be broadcast away from Harbour Station.

Here's is the full Sea Dogs broadcast schedule:

Thursday, Sept. 21: Halifax at Saint John
Saturday, Sept. 23: Cape Breton at Saint John
Friday, Sept. 29: Saint John at Moncton
Wednesday, Oct. 4: Bathurst at Saint John
Saturday, Oct. 7: Blainville-Boisbriand at Saint John
Sunday, Oct. 15: Saint John at Moncton
Sunday, Oct. 22: Cape Breton at Saint John
Wednesday, Oct. 25: Saint John at Bathurst
Saturday, Oct. 28: Val-d'Or at Saint John
Sunday, Oct. 29: Rouyn-Noranda at Saint John
Wednesday, Dec. 6: Drummondville at Saint John
Saturday, Dec. 9: Saint John at Bathurst
Sunday, Dec. 10: Gatineau at Saint John
Friday, Dec. 15: Saint John at Moncton
Friday, Jan. 19: Bathurst at Saint John
Saturday, Jan. 20: Quebec at Saint John
Friday, Jan. 26: Saint John at Bathurst
Wednesday, Feb. 7: Cape Breton at Saint John
Friday, Feb. 9: Halifax at Saint John
Saturday, Feb. 10: Shawinigan at Saint John
Wednesday, Feb. 21: Moncton at Saint John
Saturday, March 3: Victoriaville at Saint John
Sunday, March 4: Bathurst at Saint John
Friday, March 9: Bathurst at Saint John
Saturday, March 10: Moncton at Saint John

The Sea Dogs had two preseason games aired this year - one from Bathurst and the other from Fredericton.

Friday, September 15, 2017

RECAP: Sea Dogs lose 4-3

FINAL: Saint John 3, Halifax 4
HALIFAX - The Saint John Sea Dogs have ended the 2017-18 QMJHL preseason with just one victory.

The Sea Dogs dropped their final exhibition contest on Friday night in Halifax, falling 4-3 at Scotiabank Centre. The loss means Saint John finishes the preseason with a record of 1-6-1-0 with their only victory coming against the Acadie-Bathurst Titan - a game that saw the Sea Dogs dress a stacked lineup compared to the Titan's.

Fortunately for the Sea Dogs, preseason results are ultimately meaningless. At the very least, a lot of Saint John's loses were close. Their final three games were all decided by one goal.

On Friday, Anthony Boucher, Alexandre Lafreniere and William Poirier all scored for Saint John. Joel Goguen made 19 saves in the loss.

Halifax goals came courtesy of Benoit-Olivier Groulx, Filip Zadina, Xavier Parent and Kyle Petten. Alexis Gravel made 39 stops in the loss.

Groulx opened the scoring at 9:05 of the first period. Halifax doubled their lead at 10:47 of the second thanks to Zadina's second of the preseason.

Saint John got on the board at 13:00 of the middle frame when Boucher scored a shorthanded goal. But the Mooseheads would regain their two-goal lead at 19:16 when Parent netted a power play marker.

Lafreniere scored at 8:19 of the third but the momentum was short lived. At 9:18, Petten scored to give the Moose a 4-2 lead.

Poirier scored with 27 seconds remaining in regulation, but the Sea Dogs would get no closer to tying things up.

Saint John outshot Halifax 42-23.

NEXT GAME: The Sea Dogs begin regular season play this Thursday at Harbour Station. Game time is 7 p.m. against the Mooseheads.

Preseason Game Day: at Halifax

SAINT JOHN - The preseason comes to an end for the Saint John Sea Dogs tonight in Halifax.

The Sea Dogs and Mooseheads will meet for a rare exhibition tilt at Scotiabank Centre. Game time is 7 p.m.

TV/Radio/Webcast: None/None/None

Records: The Sea Dogs are 1-5-1-0 this preseason while Halifax is 5-3-0-0.

Last games: The Sea Dogs are coming off a 4-3 loss to the Moncton Wildcats last night in Fredericton. Kevin Gursoy, Ben Reid and Daniel Hardie all scored for Saint John. Matthew Williams made 38 stops in the loss. The Mooseheads are coming off a 3-2 overtime win over the Wildcats on Sept. 9 in Springhill. Connor Moynihan, Raphael Lavoie and Filip Zadina all scored for Halifax. Blade Mann-Dixon made 35 saves in the win.

Last meeting: Aug. 27 in Quispamsis where the Mooseheads defeated the Sea Dogs 3-2. Justin Barron, Jared McIsaac and Brett Crossley all scored for Halifax. Samuel Leblanc and William Poirier had Saint John goals. Blade Mann-Dixon made 34 saves in the win. Alex D'Orio made 15 saves while Matthew Williams made seven.

2016-17 head-to-head: The Sea Dogs were 6-2-0-0 against the Mooseheads last season while Halifax went 2-6-0-0 against Saint John.

Notes: Isiah Campbell leads Saint John in scoring with a goal and five points... Ben Reid leads the team in goals with three... Justin Barron, Caleb Rich and Xavier Parent all have six points this preseason for Halifax... Barron, Rich and Gavin Hart each have three goals... Parent has four assists.

Next game: The Sea Dogs begin regular season play this Thursday at Harbour Station, hosting the Mooseheads at 7 p.m.

RECAP: Sea Dogs lose 4-3

FINAL: Saint John 3, Moncton 4
FREDERICTON – The Saint John Sea Dogs blew a two-goal third lead in a 4-3 preseason loss to the Moncton Wildcats on Thursday night.

Jeremy McKenna, Julien Tessier, Anderson MacDonald and Jacob Hudson all scored in the third period for Moncton, who trailed 2-0 entering the final frame. Matthew Waite made 27 saves in the win.

Kevin Gursoy, Ben Reid and Daniel Hardie all scored for Saint John. Matthew Williams made 38 stops in the loss.

The Wildcats had quite a few bounces not go their way in the opening 40 minutes, while the Sea Dogs had the good fortune of a few good bounces. Saint John will hopefully be able to hang on to leads in the future - but it'll likely be a struggle at times for the rebuilding squad.

The Sea Dogs got on the board first at 11:50 of the opening stanza. Isiah Campbell made a nice feed to Gursoy who was coming quickly down the wing. Gursoy then ripped a wrist shot from near the side boards and beat Waite glove side, making it 1-0.

The Sea Dogs had a terrific chance to make it 2-0 moments later when Reid and Landon Quinney went in on a two-on-one. Reid ended up with the puck last but had his shot denied by the pad of Waite.

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Preseason Game Day: vs Wildcats

FREDERICTON - The Saint John Sea Dogs finally return to action tonight, taking on the Moncton Wildcats at Fredericton's Aitken Centre.

This will be Saint John's first preseason contest since Aug. 27 in Quispamsis. The team will begin the regular season one week from tonight.

TV/Radio/Webcast: Rogers TV/None/None

Records: The Sea Dogs are 1-4-1-0 overall in preseason play this year while the Wildcats are 6-0-2-0.

Last games: The Sea Dogs are coming off a 3-2 loss to the Halifax Mooseheads on Aug. 27 at the qplex. Samuel Leblanc and William Poirier scored for Saint John. Alex D'Orio made 15 saves in the loss while Matthew Williams made seven. The Wildcats are coming off a 3-2 overtime loss to the Mooseheads on Sept. 9 in Springhill. Simon Le Coultre and Jacob Hudson scored for Moncton. Matthew Waite made 30 saves in the loss.

Last meeting: Aug. 19 at this year's Rookie Challenge where the Wildcats defeated the Sea Dogs 7-1.

2016-17 head-to-head: The Sea Dogs were 7-1-0-1 against the Wildcats last season while Moncton went 2-7-0-0 against Saint John.

Notes: Isiah Campbell leads Saint John in preseason scoring with a goal and four points... Cedric Pare, Samuel Leblanc and Ben Reid each have two goals... Jakob Pelletier and Daniil Kuzmin lead the Wildcats in scoring with 10 points each... Pelletier has a team high six goals... Kuzmin has a team high six assists... the Wildcats are the only club without a regulation loss this preseason... this is Saint John's first game at the Aitken Centre since 2006 when they faced the Lewiston Maineiacs.

Next game: The Sea Dogs take on the Mooseheads tomorrow night in Halifax to wrap up preseason play.

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

D'Orio signs with Penguins

According to Alex D'Orio, Alex D'Orio has signed with the Pittsburgh Penguins.

The Saint John Sea Dogs nerminder tweeted this afternoon that he has signed - presumably a standard entry-level deal - with the reigning Stanley Cup champions.
D'Orio, despite being ranked to be selected by many publications and experts, went unpicked in this year's NHL Draft. The 18-year-old was invited to Penguins development camp over the summer and joined the club again last week for rookie camp.

D'Orio saw playing time this weekend with the Penguins rookie squad at a tournament in Buffalo.

The major reason D'Orio went undrafted was likely due to his limited major junior playing time. He spent his 16-year-old season in midget AAA and was Callum Booth's backup last season. This year, he'll have the No. 1 job.

The Sherbrooke native was selected ninth overall by Saint John in the 2015 QMJHL Entry Draft.

The Penguins have not released their training camp roster but, with today's news, there's certainly a chance D'Orio will be on that list.

Monday, September 11, 2017

It's September

Did you know that it's September?

Regular season Saint John Sea Dogs hockey finally returns this month after what feels like nearly a full month of training camp (probably because it nearly has been!).

The Sea Dogs will begin regular season play in just over a week on Thursday, Sept. 21 at Harbour Station when they host the very skilled Halifax Mooseheads. Saint John's 2017 President Cup championship banner will be raised to the rafters before the game.

The Dogs and Mooseheads also meet this Friday in Halifax for a preseason game.

Here's a full look at what's on the Sea Dogs' schedule this month:

Thursday, Sept. 14: Preseason vs Moncton (Aitken Centre)
Friday, Sept. 15: Preseason at Halifax (Scotiabank Centre)
Thursday, Sept. 21: vs Halifax (Harbour Station)
Saturday, Sept. 23: vs Cape Breton (Harbour Station)
Thursday, Sept. 28: vs Charlottetown (Harbour Station)
Friday, Sept. 29: at Moncton (Moncton Coliseum)

A few notes on the schedule:

  • The Sea Dogs will play at UNB Fredericton's Aitken Centre for just the second time in team history this week. Their last visit came all the way back in 2006 when they took on the Lewiston Maineiacs in a game that was attended by roughly seven people.
  • Preseason games at Scotiabank Centre are rare.
  • As mentioned in previous posts, there will be plenty of 2018 NHL Draft talent on the ice when the Mooseheads and Sea Dogs meet this season. Veleno, McIsaac, Zadina, etc.
  • The Sea Dogs will play in the final Wildcats home opener to ever take place at the Moncton Coliseum. If you're coming to the game, dress for beach weather.

Meanwhile, the first annual "Sea Dogs Day" will take place this Sunday in King's Square. The fan festival is weather permitting.

Photo: Marc Henwood

Sunday, September 10, 2017

Several Sea Dogs taking part in NHL rookie camps

Several current and former Saint John Sea Dogs are taking part in NHL rookie camps this year.

Most NHL clubs held their rookie camps this past weekend, which included major tournaments in Traverse City, Toronto, Buffalo and Penticton.

Here's a look at all the current/former Sea Dogs taking part in rookie camps:

Boston Bruins - Cedric Pare
Boston Bruins - Jakub Zboril
Calgary Flames - Samuel Dove-McFalls
Carolina Hurricanes - Callum Booth
Carolina Hurricanes - Julien Gauthier
Carolina Hurricanes - Spencer Smallman
Chicago Blackhawks - Matthew Highmore
Chicago Blackhawks - Nathan Noel
Edmonton Oilers - Ostap Safin
Los Angeles Kings - Bokondji Imama
Montreal Canadiens - Simon Bourque
Ottawa Senators - Thomas Chabot
Phoenix Coyotes - Adam Marsh
Pittsburgh Penguins - Alex D'Orio
Tampa Bay Lightning - Mathieu Joseph
Winnipeg Jets - Luke Green

The Bruins and Penguins are playing in a tournament in Buffalo with the Sabres and Devils. In Traverse City, the Red Wings are hosting the Hurricanes, Rangers, Blackhawks, Blue Jackets, Wild, Stars and Blues. The Penticton tournament features the Oilers, Canucks, Flames and Jets. In Toronto, the Senators, Maple Leafs and Canadiens are all playing.

The Florida rookie tournament was cancelled for obvious reasons. The Lightning rookies headed to Nashville to play the Predators rookies as an alternative.

The Kings, meanwhile, will host the Vegas Golden Knights rookies for a pair of games this week. The Coyotes are playing in the Prospect Showcase with the Sharks, Ducks and Avalanche.