Saturday, May 27, 2017

RECAP: Sea Dogs lose 6-3

FINAL: Saint John 3, Erie 6
WINDSOR, Ont. - That's all she wrote for the Saint John Sea Dogs' 2016-17 season.

The Sea Dogs' season came to an end on Friday night in Windsor, falling 6-3 to the OHL champion Erie Otters in the Memorial Cup semifinal.

It was a hard fought game - unlike the first time these two met - in what was arguably the best game of the tournament so far. Saint John's penalty kill was excellent and kept them in the game as the Otters were awarded seven power play opportunities.

Erie's power plays allowed them dominant much of the second period, outshooting Saint John 17-4. Despite the lopsided shot total, the game was tied 2-2 after two periods. But the Otters scored two quick goals in the third period en route to a 6-3 victory.

Taylor Raddysh scored twice for Erie while singles came from Darren Raddysh, Dylan Strome, German Poddubnyi and Warren Foegele. Troy Timpano made 20 saves in the victory.

Joe Veleno, Julien Gauthier and Thomas Chabot all scored for Saint John. Callum Booth made 31 saves in the loss.

To the notes...
  • Saint John nearly opened the scoring while shorthanded early in the first period when Mathieu Joseph fed Simon Bourque in front. But DeBrincat pulled the puck off the goal line to keep it scoreless.
  • Erie opened the scoring at 9:56 when Darren Raddysh made a great play in front, spinning around in front of the net and roofing the puck over a down Booth.
  • Saint John tied things at 1-1 at 14:10 when Veleno batted in a rebound of a Spencer Smallman shot.
  • The Otters were dominant at puck possession at times early in the second, forcing Booth to make some nice saves.
  • Imama went to the box at 10:39 for a check from behind. On the power play at 10:57, an Anthony Cirelli shot was stopped but a rebound was produced. Taylor Raddysh was in the slot to put it in after a scramble, making it 2-1 Otters.
  • Then Chabot headed off for a penalty. Then Highmore. Then Chabot again. Erie had plenty of pressure on all three power plays but could not add to their lead.
  • Then at 18:51, it looked as though the Otters were getting a power play, so Booth skated to the bench. Taylor Raddysh grabbed the puck but no whistle was blown. Raddysh entered the zone and fired the puck past an unprepared Booth, appearing to make it 3-1. But the goal was called off, as there was indeed an Erie penalty.
  • On the ensuing power play, Matthew Highmore was at the dot and fed Joseph down low. Joseph then tapped the puck to Gauthier who beat Timpano, tying the gam at 2-2 at 19:18.
  • Just 2:38 into the third, Strome went around Chase Stewart and beat Booth with a low wrist shot, giving the Otters the lead back.
  • Then at 3:45, Saint John turned the puck over in the corner. Ivan Lodnia grabbed the puck and fed Poddubnyi in front who beat Booth blocker side. 
  • On another power play at 12:31, Taylor Raddysh was near the goal line and slid the puck between a down Booth and the post, making it 5-2 Erie.
  • The Sea Dogs didn't go away, though. At 16:28, Gauthier was along the boards and found Chabot streaking in. Chabot fired the puck past Timpano just before running over the Erie goaltender, making it a 5-3 game.
  • The Dogs had Booth pulled for a while but could not net the equalizer. At 19:26, Foegele hit the empty net to make it a 6-3 final.
  • The first period was a bit different than Monday's match between the two where the Otters were up 5-2 and outshot Saint John 17-4.
  • Erie's power play heavy second period gave them a 17-4 shot advantage over Saint John in the frame.
  • Chabot took three minor penalties in the game.

Friday, May 26, 2017

NOTEBOOK: Otters confident in Timpano heading into tonight's semifinal

WINDSOR, Ont. - Troy Timpano's stats don't look that great at this year's Memorial Cup.

The Erie Otters netminder is sporting a 3.73 goals against average and a .823 save percentage heading into tonight's semifinal contest against the Saint John Sea Dogs.

Otters head coach Kris Knoblauch told reporters Friday morning at WFCU Centre that the numbers aren't representative of Timpano's play so far.

"We've done a good job at keeping the shots down, so that's why his save percentage doesn't look really good," said Knoblauch. "Numbers can be misleading a lot of time."

Knoblauch added that he feels Timpano didn't have much of a chance on the goals he has allowed so far in the tournament.

Timpano has been known to let in the occasional bad goal. He's also very active with the puck, which can create some interesting moments.

The netminder posted a 13-4-1 record to go along with a .895 SV% and 2.73 GAA during the OHL playoffs.

"We changed goalies a little bit throughout the playoffs where (Joseph) Murdaca came in, and he came up big. The players believe that Troy is our goalie. He's the guy that got us here throughout the regular season and playoffs."

The Otters are looking to advance to their first Memorial Cup final tonight.

This is the second ever Memorial Cup appearance for the Otters and their first since 2002. In '02, Erie lost 5-4 in overtime to the Victoriaville Tigres in the tournament semifinal. The Otters blew 3-0 and 4-2 leads in that game, with Victoriaville's Danny Groulx tying the game with five seconds remaining in the third period.

The Kootenay Ice defeated the Tigres 6-3 in the 2002 Memorial Cup final.

The Canadian Press caught up with Jonathan Huberdeau this week to talk about the Sea Dogs' 2011 Memorial Cup win.

"I'm watching them a lot," Huberdeau told CP about this year's Sea Dogs. "It's fun to always follow your team and it's great they have a chance to win this year."

Read the full story here.

Memorial Cup Game Day: at Erie

The Saint John Sea Dogs and Erie Otters meet in the Memorial Cup semifinal tonight at 8 p.m. at Windsor's WFCU Centre. Game time is 8 p.m.

TV/Radio/Webcast: Sportsnet and TVA Sports/96.1 NewSong FM/SN Now and CHL Live

Tournament status: The Sea Dogs are 1-2 following loses to Windsor and Erie and a win over Seattle. Erie is 2-1 following wins over Saint John and Seattle and a loss to Windsor.

Last games: The Sea Dogs are coming off a 7-0 win over the Seattle Thunderbirds on Tuesday at WFCU Centre. Joe Veleno scored twice for Saint John while Chase Stewart, Mathieu Joseph, Spencer Smallman, Cole Reginato and Bokondji Imama added singles. Callum Booth made 31 saves in the shutout victory. The Otters are coming off a 4-2 loss to the Windsor Spitfires on Wednesday. Kyle Maksimovich and Taylor Raddysh scored for Erie. Troy Timpano made 15 saves in the loss.

Head-to-head: The Sea Dogs are 0-1 all-time against the Otters while Erie is 1-0 against Saint John.

Last meeting: You all remember what happened.

Ex-Sea Dogs on the Otters: None.

Random stat: Neither of these teams have ever won a Memorial Cup semifinal game. The Otters lost to Victoriaville in 2002 and Saint John lost to Shawinigan in 2012. The Sea Dogs did not play in the semifinal game in 2011.

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Otters expecting a different Sea Dogs team in Friday's semifinal

WINDSOR, Ont. - The Erie Otters are expecting to see a much different Saint John Sea Dogs team on Friday.

The Sea Dogs suffered their worst loss of the 2016-17 season in Monday's round robin game against the Otters, falling 12-5. Erie head coach Kris Knoblauch isn't expecting to see a similar game in Friday's Memorial Cup semifinal.

"It's going to be a completely different team," Knoblauch said on Thursday of the Sea Dogs. "We're not going to be scoring 12 goals. I wouldn't be surprised that, if we're going to win this game, it's going to be a 2-1 game. I expect a completely different team."

Knoblauch spoke to the media a day after the Otters fell 4-2 to the Windsor Spitfires in the final game of the round robin. The loss placed Erie into Friday's semifinal while Windsor earned an automatic berth into Sunday's championship game.

While Erie dominated puck possession at times on Wednesday against Windsor, they were unable to dig themselves out of the hole they got into. The game was much different than Erie's first two of the tournament, which the Otters had a fairly easy time with.

"We're confident. We feel good," said Knoblauch. "We're disappointed in our effort from that last game but we knew when we came here we had to win four games to win the Memorial Cup and we're still in that position."

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Sea Dogs to play Otters in semifinal

WINDSOR, Ont. - The Saint John Sea Dogs will have a rematch with the Erie Otters on Friday.

The OHL champion Otters defeated the Windsor Spitfires 4-2 in the final round robin game of the Memorial Cup on Wednesday at WFCU Centre. The result means the host Spitfires earn a berth in Sunday's championship game while the Otters will play the Sea Dogs in Friday' semifinal.

The Spitfires scored twice in the first period and added another early in the second. While the Otters applied steady offensive pressure several times throughout the game, the result never really felt in doubt for Windsor.

Jeremiah Addison scored a hat trick while Mikhail Sergachev added the other. Kyle Maksimovich and Taylor Raddysh scored Erie's goals. Windsor goaltender Michael DiPietro was excellent in net, making 33 saves in the victory. Erie's Troy Timpano made 15 stops in the loss.

The Windsor victory gives the Spitfires an impressive 11 straight Memorial Cup wins dating back to the team's championship run in 2009.
Most will not forget the previous meeting between the Sea Dogs and Otters, which took place on Monday. Erie had little trouble with Saint John, dominating much of the game in a 12-5 victory.

The winner of Friday's game will, obviously, play the Spits on Sunday.

Game time for Friday's do-or-die semifinal is 8 p.m. The game can be seen coast-to-coast on Sportsnet.

Misspelled Saint John merchandise replaced at Memorial Cup

WINDSOR, Ont. - Saint John Sea Dogs - not St. John Sea Dogs - merchandise could be found around the WFCU Centre on Wednesday.

Earlier in the week, a shirt and puck with the Sea Dogs logo and the misspelling of "Saint John" to "St. John" could be found on the shelves at Memorial Cup merchandise stands.

Here's the puck, which was included in a stack of four featuring each participating team:
Here's the shirt:
Each participating team has this style of shirt available. The St. John ones had, presumably, been pulled from shelves, leaving the team with very little merchandise compared to the other teams.

NOTEBOOK: Sea Dogs will find out semifinal opponent tonight

WINDSOR, Ont. - The Saint John Sea Dogs will find out who their Memorial Cup semifinal opponent is tonight.

The Sea Dogs advanced to Friday's semifinal game with a big 7-0 victory over the WHL champion Seattle Thunderbirds last night at WFCU Centre. Saint John will play the loser of tonight's game between the Erie Otters and Windsor Spitfires. The winner of tonight's match will advance directly to Sunday's championship game.

Tonight's game will be a heavyweight tilt between the two teams that have been by far the best at this year's tournament. Both are 2-0 with Erie outscoring opponents 16-7 and Windsor outscoring teams 10-3.

Erie and Windsor met four times during the regular season. Here are the results:

Sept. 22: Erie 1, Windsor 4
Dec. 16: Windsor 3, Erie 4
Feb 12: Windsor 4, Erie 5 (SO)
March 9: Erie 4, Windsor 2

Although the game will played in the Spitfires' building, the Otters will be the home team tonight.

RECAP: Sea Dogs win 7-0

FINAL: Seattle 0, Saint John 7
WINDSOR, Ont. - That's more like it.

The Saint John Sea Dogs looked a lot more like the Saint John Sea Dogs on Tuesday at the Memorial Cup in Windsor, defeating the WHL champion Seattle Thunderbirds 7-0. The result moves Saint John into Friday's semifinal game where they'll play the loser of Wednesday's match between the Erie Otters and Windsor Spitfires.

After a scoreless first period, the Sea Dogs cranked up the offence in the second, scoring six goals on just 14 shots. That included three goals in a 53-second span.

Joe Veleno scored twice for Saint John while singles came from Chase Stewart, Mathieu Joseph, Spencer Smallman, Cole Reginato and Bokondji Imama all scored for the Sea Dogs. Callum Booth stopped all 31 shots he faced in the win.

The Thunderbirds' loss ends their season. They went 0-3 at the Memorial Cup.

Seattle goaltender Carl Stankowski was pulled after allowing four goals on 14 shots. Rylan Toth allowed three goals on 14 shots in relief.

To the notes...
  • Saint John had their best start of the tournament - by far. On his first shift of the game, Chabot nearly opened the scoring but hit the crossbar.
  • Eansor had Seattle's best chance of the period during some four-on-four play, taking the puck away from Saint John and entering the zone all alone. Eansor managed to get the puck through Booth but it trickled just wide of the post.
  • Veleno opened the scoring at 1:14 of the second period. After Seattle failed to clear the puck, Veleno fired a wrist shot that beat Stankowski clean, giving Saint John a 1-0 lead.
  • Saint John made it 2-0 at 14:04 when Jakub Zboril skated behind the net and fed Stewart in front. Stewart jammed the puck past Stankowski for his fourth goal of the entire season.
  • Then at 14:19, Joseph ripped a wrist shot past past the Seattle netminder's blocker, making it 3-0. The goal was reviewed for offside but called a good goal.
  • Saint John quickly made it 4-0 at 14:57 when, after some nice work from Julien Gauthier behind the net, Smallman backhanded the puck past the Seattle netminder.
  • The Sea Dogs' fourth goal ended Stankowski's night. He was replaced by Toth for the second straight game.
  • At 16:29, Saint John scored to make it 5-0. Simon Bourque was along the wall and threw the puck in front for Reginato. The Saint John captain had an empty net to keep the Dogs' downpour coming.
  • Then at 17:13, Imama was in the slot and got spun around. The veteran forward was still able to get a hard wrist shot off while falling to a knee, making it 6-0 Saint John.
  • At 6:21 of the third, Matthew Highmore drove to the net but was stopped by Toth. Veleno was there though and put in the rebound, making it 7-0 Sea Dogs.
  • Veleno's goal came on his first shot of the Memorial Cup.
  • There was an issue with the glass in the second period which caused a delay.
  • This is the most goals Saint John has ever scored in a Memorial Cup game.
  • Seattle didn't use their timeout until Saint John scored their fifth goal.
  • Imama and Matthew Highmore each had two assists.
  • The CHL did not suspend Zboril after he was given a game misconduct during Monday's game.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

NOTEBOOK: Sea Dogs look for big rebound in do or die game tonight

WINDSOR, Ont. - Saint John Sea Dogs head coach Danny Flynn tried to explain his team's 12-5 loss to the Erie Otters following the game last night.

"We knew how tough it would be," said Flynn. "Our passing and our decisions with the puck have been well below average. In a tournament like this you've got to make good reads and you've got to move the puck. We've turned pucks over we've mishandled pucks. They must have stolen 30 pucks from us tonight.

"It was a strange game. They got five on the power play. We got five (goals) throughout the game. Usually when you score five goals at a Memorial Cup you're in the game - we weren't in the game."

Flynn said the team will try and throw that game away and move on from it as quickly as possible. The team will have to move on quickly from it, playing a do or die game this evening against the Seattle Thunderbirds.

"We've got a sudden death game (Tuesday)," said Flynn. "We've got a great group of kids. They hate to lose. I think we were a little surprised at how good the teams are in this tournament. I think we've been on our heels a little bit, especially when they scored first shot today. We've got to regroup. Those two games are gone. We have to do what Windsor did in Rimouski when they went 0-2, win that third game and live to fight another die."

Game time tonight is 8 p.m. The winner will play in Friday's semifinal against the loser of tomorrow's Erie/Windsor game.

When Alex D'Orio took over for Callum Booth in the Saint John net, it was his first game action since March 18. D'Orio did not play at all in the QMJHL playoffs.

It looked as though D'Orio was going to come in earlier than he did, but Booth quickly retook the net. Flynn explained the move after the game.

"I was trying to buy a little time," the coach said. "By putting the backup goalie in - young guy, good goalie - who hasn't played for quite a while, I was going to try to put him in, slow the game down. Then I elected just to call a time out and talk to them at length rather than put the goalie in and try and get a quick message. I knew the game was slipping as it was and I wasn't worried about the time out late in the game or anything like that. I wanted a longer time to talk to them so I put Callum back in."

Last night's game was the first time Booth had been pulled since allowing four goals on 21 first period shots on Feb. 22 against Bathurst. Saint John ended up losing that game 8-7 in overtime.

Memorial Cup Game Day: vs Thunderbirds

It's do or die for the Saint John Sea Dogs (0-2) and Seattle Thunderbirds (0-2) tonight at the Memorial Cup. The winner of tonight's 8 p.m. match will advance to Friday's semifinal while the loser will head home.

TV/Radio/Webcast: Sportsnet and TVA Sports/96.1 NewSong FM/SN NOW and CHL Live

Tournament status: The Thunderbirds and Sea Dogs are both 0-2 at this year's Memorial Cup. The winner tonight will advance to Friday's semifinal while the loser will be eliminated. The winner will play the loser of Wednesday's Windsor/Erie game in the semifinal.

Last games: The Sea Dogs are coming off a disastrous 12-5 loss to the Erie Otters last night at the WFCU Centre. Cedric Pare scored twice for Saint John while singles came from Mathieu Joseph, Spencer Smallman and Julien Gauthier. Callum Booth was pulled after allowing five goals on 14 shots. Alex D'Orio allowed seven goals on 25 shots in relief. The Thunderbirds are coming off a rough 7-1 loss to the Windsor Spitfires on Sunday. Keegan Kolesar scored Seattle's lone goal. Carl Stankowski was pulled after allowing three goals on six shots. Rylan Toth allowed four goals on 18 shots in relief.

Head-to-head: This is the first ever meeting between the two teams.

Ex-Sea Dogs on the Thunderbirds: None.

Random stat: Saint John's penalty kill, which has been so good all year, has allowed six goals on 11 chances so far in this tournament. Five of Erie's goals last night came on the power play.

RECAP: Sea Dogs lose 12-5

FINAL: Erie 12, Saint John 5
WINDSOR, Ont. - The Saint John Sea Dogs were on the wrong side of history.

The Sea Dogs suffered one of the worst loses in Memorial Cup history on Monday at the WFCU Centre, losing 12-5 to the OHL champion Erie Otters. The loss drops the QMJHL champion Sea Dogs to 0-2 at this year's tournament while the Otters improved to 2-0.
It's difficult to put the Sea Dogs' performance into words. The team has underperformed at this year's tournament and has not at all looked like the squad that cruised (for the most part) through the QMJHL post-season.

Like Friday's tournament opener, Saint John got off to a rough start. It looked like the team might rebound this time, quickly tying the game after an early Erie goal, but the Otters kept grabbing momentum and never let go. Even when it looked like the Dogs might have a chance to get back into it in the first frame, Erie kept pouncing.

If there is good news for the Sea Dogs it's that they are still very much alive in the tournament. A 12-5 loss or 2-1 overtime loss on Monday would have put them in the same position tomorrow. A win Tuesday against the Seattle Thunderbirds will book them a trip to the Friday's semifinal game. A loss, however, would mean an end to their season.

Dylan Strome had four goals for Erie while Darren Raddysh and Taylor Raddysh each had twice. Singles came from Kyle Maksimovich, Alex DeBrincat, Anthony Cirelli and Ivan Lodnia. Troy Timpano made 18 saves in the loss.

Cedric Pare scored twice for Saint John while singles came from Julien Gauthier, Spencer Smallman and Mathieu Joseph. Callum Booth was pulled after allowing five goals on 14 shots. Alex D'Orio allowed seven goals on 25 shots in the loss.

To the notes...
  • Just 1:06 in, Taylor Raddysh scored on Erie's first shot of the game, making it 1-0 Otters.
  • Saint John tied the game at 5:43 on their first shot. Matt Green fed Pare down low and the Sea Dogs' rookie beat Timpano upstairs to tie it at 1-1.
  • Erie quickly retook the lead at 6:40. A Darren Radddysh point shot went off a Saint John stick and deflected past Booth's glove.
  • Then at 8:33, a Maksimovich shot beat Booth glove side, making it 3-1 Otters.
  • Erie made it 4-1 at 10:11 when Strome finished off a two-on-one, blasting a one-timer past an outstretched Booth. The goal was reviewed for offside but ruled a good goal.
  • Joseph got Saint John back on the board at 13:32, firing a shot past Timpano thanks to a nice feed from Chabot.
  • Just when it looked like Saint John would gain some momentum, Cirelli scored on a wraparound at 16:27, making it 5-2 Otters.
  • That would end Booth's night, who allowed five goals on 14 shots. D'Orio took over and made three saves in the final few minutes of the period.
  • Saint John got off to a good start in the second, creating a couple of quality chances. But Erie quickly got good chances of their own, forcing D'Orio to make some big pad saves.
  • Erie went to a five-on-three power play at 6:40 when Saint John was called for too many men. At 6:48, Taylor Raddysh made it 6-2 Otters.
  • Then at 8:26, Taylor Raddysh fed Strome who was streaking in, making it 7-2 Otters.
  • With 10:05 remaining in the period, Joseph was awarded a penalty shot. On his attempt, Joseph made a nice move to his backhand but was denied by Timpano.
  • Smallman made it a 7-3 game at 17:52, scoring with a wrist shot from the bottom of the circle.
  • Chabot was called for holding at 18:00. On a power play at 18:47, DeBrincat scored to make it an 8-2 game.
  • Then with eight seconds remaining in the period and Erie still on the power play, Darren Raddysh ripped a shot from the top of the circle that beat D'Orio upstairs, making it a 9-3 Erie lead after two periods.
  • Strome scored his third of the game at 5:32 of the third, ripping a hard shot from the slot past D'Orio. That made it 11-3.
  • Strome then scored his fourth at 13:20, making it 12-3.
  • Saint John got a couple goals late. Pare scored at 14:29 and Gauthier at 15:22, making it a 12-5 final.
  • Erie had more goals (five) than Saint John had shots (four) in the first period.
  • As bad as Saint John was defensively in the opening period, the Dogs managed to score two goals on their first three shots on the game.
  • Saint John allowed 11 first period goals in the entire QMJHL playoffs.
  • The 17 total goals scored was a Memorial Cup record.
  • There were six players from the Canadian world junior team in this game: Thomas Chabot, Julian Gauthier, Mathieu Joseph, Anthony Cirelli, Taylor Raddysh and Dylan Strome.
  • There were 18 NHL drafted or signed players in this game.

Monday, May 22, 2017

Saint John Library catches Memorial Cup fever

WINDSOR, Ont. - The Saint John Free Public Library is showing its support for the Sea Dogs' Memorial Cup run in a unique way.

Taking a chapter (ha!) out of the Toronto library's Blue Jays playoff tweets, the Saint John Library has been tweeting pictures of appropriately titled books in an effort to support the Dogs - and chirp opposing cities.

Here's the library's tweet from Friday, when the Sea Dogs were set to face the Windsor Spitfires:
And here's their tweet from today ahead of the Sea Dogs' 8 p.m. game against the Erie Otters:
These tweets are fire, as the kids say.

Neither rival library has responded to the tweets.

Toronto area libraries have gone viral over the past couple years for its book spine tweets about Blue Jays playoff games.

Shout out to all the libraries out there.

Memorial Cup Game Day: vs Otters

WINDSOR, Ont. - The Saint John Sea Dogs (0-1) look to rebound against the OHL champions, the Erie Otters (1-0), tonight at 8 p.m. at the 2017 Memorial Cup in Windsor.

TV/Radio/Webcast: Sportsnet and TVA Sports/96.1 NewSong FM/SN NOW and NeuLion

Tournament status: The Otters are 1-0 at this year's tournament while the Sea Dogs are 0-1.

Last games: The Sea Dogs are coming off an ugly 3-2 loss to the host Windsor Spitfires on Friday at WFCU Centre. Nathan Noel and Thomas Chabot scored for Saint John while Callum Booth made 20 saves in the loss. The Otters are coming off a 4-2 win over WHL champion Seattle Thunderbirds on Saturday. Alex DeBrincat, Jordan Sambrook, Dylan Strome and Christian Girhiny scored for Erie. Troy Timpano made 18 stops in the victory.

Head-to-head: This is the first ever meeting between the two teams.

Ex-Sea Dogs on the Otters: None.

Random stat: The Sea Dogs are 2-0 all-time in their second game at Memorial Cups. They defeated Owen Sound 3-2 in overtime in 2011 and Edmonton 5-2 in 2012.

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Windsor cruises past Thunderbirds

WINDSOR, Ont. - The Seattle Thunderbirds are in trouble heading into Tuesday's contest against the Saint John Sea Dogs.

The Thunderbirds fell behind 3-0 less than six minutes into their second game of the 2017 Memorial Cup tournament on Sunday at the WFCU Centre, ultimately losing 7-1 to the host Windsor Spitfires.

The loss drops the WHL champions to 0-2 at this year's tournament and puts them on the brink of elimination. The Thunderbirds must win on Tuesday just to force a tiebreaker scenario on Thursday. A loss Tuesday would move them to 0-3 and end their season.

Seattle goaltender Carl Stankowski was pulled after allowing three goals on six shots - although his defence did not help matters. It's unclear who will get the start on Tuesday with their season on the line.
OHL teams are now 3-0 at this year's tournament following Windsor's wins over Saint John and Seattle along with Erie defeating the Thunderbirds, as well.

Saint John will take on the 1-0 Otters on Monday night at 8 p.m.

Sea Dogs stuff at this year's HHOF exhibit

WINDSOR, Ont. - There are once again several Saint John Sea Dogs items on display at the Memorial Cup's Hockey Hall of Fame exhibit.

Below are some bad photos of what is featured this year.

A Jonathan Huberdeau jersey from the 2011 Memorial Cup tournament:

NOTEBOOK: Spits got off to great start

WINDSOR, Ont. - The Windsor Spitfires couldn't have asked for a much better start to their Memorial Cup tournament.

The Spitfires came flying out of the gate on Friday at WFCU Centre, going on to defeat the QMJHL champion Saint John Sea Dogs 3-2.

"I thought I had a really good start," said Windsor goaltender Michael DiPietro on Saturday. "We came out strong and we came out fast. I think it was all of the excitement we built up inside of us. As the game progressed we just kept it at that level and then translated it into a win."

The only real significant issue for the Spits was closing the game out. Saint John applied some steady offensive pressure in the final five minutes, scoring twice and nearly tying the game in the final minute.

"We haven't really been in that situation in a while and I think it was good for us that we did finally close it out," said DiPietro, who made 20 saves in the victory. "It was a good learning experience. We move on from it. Our focus is on Seattle."

The Spits take on the WHL champion Seattle Thunderbirds tonight at 8 p.m.


Getty Images has some cool photos from Friday's Sea Dogs Memorial Cup opener against Windsor. Check them out here.

The Spitfires are on a serious roll when it comes to Memorial Cup games. The team has now won nine straight games at the tournament, dating back to 2009 in Rimouski. Windsor went 4-2 at the '09 event and then went 4-0 in 2010 to win back-to-back titles.

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Nerves hurt Sea Dogs in opener

WINDSOR, Ont. - The Saint John Sea Dogs aren't afraid to admit they were nervous in their 2017 Memorial Cup opener on Friday night.

"I think we came out nervous and we were uncharacteristic of ourselves," said overage forward Matthew Highmore on Saturday. "We gave ourselves a chance at the end but it was just a little bit too late."

The nerves hit Saint John early as the team got off to a rough start, allowing the host Windsor Spitfires to have several quality scoring opportunities. The Spits carried that momentum for much of the game, defeating the QMJHL champions 3-2.

"It’s just kind of the moment. I think we were so excited, looking forward to this for the past week and half, the build up… it’s just one of those things that you can’t really explain," said Highmore. "It just kind of happens. We’ll learn from it and we’ll be much, much better on Monday."

Sea Dogs head coach Danny Flynn also felt the team got off to a nervous start - and it cost his team.

"We started nervous. Windsor won the first five minutes and it gave them confidence," said Flynn. "We started on our heels. Having said that, it was only 1-0 after one. But they did a good job at hemming us up in our own end and working us hard. They had a lot of offensive zone time and we didn’t."

If there was any team at this year's tournament that seemed prepared to beat the nerves, it was Saint John. The team has players with Memorial Cup and World Junior Hockey Championships experience.

RECAP: Sea Dogs lose 3-2

FINAL: Saint John 2, Windsor 3
WINDSOR, Ont. - The Saint John Sea Dogs didn't get their Memorial Cup tournament off to the start they wanted.

The Sea Dogs came out flat against a fired up and well rested host team, falling 3-2 to the Windsor Spitfires on Friday night at the WFCU Centre.

Jeremiah Addison, Jeremy Bracco and Aaron Luchuk all scored for Windsor. Michael DiPietro made 20 saves in the victory.

Windsor, coming off a long layoff, got off to a strong start and carried that momentum for the first two periods. The Sea Dogs had moments where they looked like their usual selves, but it wasn't until the final half of the third period when they seemed to find their mojo. By that time it was too late to complete a comeback.

The loss could certainly make the road to winning the Memorial Cup more difficult, but it's far from impossible.

To the notes...
  • Saint John weathered an early storm and got some strong goaltending from Booth to keep it scoreless in the opening few minutes of the contest.
  • Saint John started to get things going near the midway mark of the period, applying some sustained pressure in the Windsor zone - but they were unable to score.
  • Addison opened the scoring on a power play at 15:53, beating Booth five-hole with a quick wrist shot.
  • Not long after, while Saint John was on a power play, Mikhail Sergachev fired a shot past Booth but hit the crossbar.
  • Bracco made it 2-0 Windsor at 18:13 of the second period, beating Jakub Zboril to enter the zone and then putting in his own rebound.
  • Saint John had moments of offensive pressure in the middle frame but they still looked off for much of the period, allowing Windsor to have some dangerous scoring opportunities.
  • Windsor got the third period off to a good start when Luchuk scored just 4:48 in.
  • Saint John finally got on the board at 16:50 with a wrist shot from the circle that beat DiPietro up high.
  • Then at 17:14, Chabot scored with a shot from the line to get Saint John within one.
  • The Sea Dogs had some pressure on and created a few good chances in the final couple minutes - including an unreal chance for Matthew Highmore - but were unable to net the equalizer.
  • Simon Bourque had five shots while Chabot and Samuel Dove-McFalls each had four.
  • The WFCU Centre was probably 90% full or so. There were pockets of empty seats throughout the place and a few empty rows in the upper corner.

Friday, May 19, 2017

Memorial Cup previews and links

WINDSOR, Ont. - Here are a bunch of Memorial Cup previews and links to check out before tonight's tournament opener between the Saint John Sea Dogs and Windsor Spitfires.

Memorial Cup Game Day: at Windsor

The Saint John Sea Dogs begin Memorial Cup play tonight at 8 p.m. against the host Windsor Spitfires. Puck drop is expected to be around 8:20 p.m. at the WFCU Centre.

TV/Radio/Webcast: Sportsnet and TVA Sports/96.1 NewSong FM/SN NOW and NeuLion

Last games: The Sea Dogs are coming off a 5-1 win over the Blainville-Boisbriand Armada in Game 4 of the President Cup Final on May 10. Spencer Smallman scored twice while singles came from Bokondji Imama, Simon Bourque and Matthew Highmore. Callum Booth made 20 saves in the win. The Spitfires' last game was on April 4 against the London Knights, a Game 7 first round loss. Jeremy Bracco and Aaron Luchuk scored for Windsor. Michael DiPietro made 23 stops in the loss.

Head-to-head: This is the first ever meeting between the two teams.

Ex-Sea Dogs on the Spitfires: None.

Random stat: The two teams have a combined 20 NHL drafted or signed players on their rosters.

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Five things to know for Dogs/Spits

WINDSOR, Ont. - The Saint John Sea Dogs begin the 2017 Memorial Cup on Friday against the host Windsor Spitfires.

Game time is 8 p.m. with puck drop expected to happen around 8:20 p.m. at the WFCU Centre. The game can be watched on Sportsnet and heard on 96.1 NewSong FM.

Here are five things to know/watch for in Saint John's tournament opener.

Windsor's rest or rust
No doubt one of the biggest storylines of this tournament is how the Windsor Spitfires will perform following their lengthy layoff. The Spitfires haven't played a game since April 4 when they were eliminated in the first round by the London Knights. Will the Spitfires be rested and ready or show signs of rust?

Starting off right
Momentum can be critical in a short tournament like the Memorial Cup. The team that gets off to a good start tomorrow could be setting themselves up for not only a good game but a good tournament. Let's not forget how important Tomas Jurco's goal, which came 1:44 into Saint John's first ever Memorial Cup game in 2011, seemed to give a young Dogs team confidence on the big stage.

Welcome back
Neither of these teams are strangers to playing in - or winning - the Memorial Cup, but it's the first time in some time that either are playing this late in May. The Spitfires' last Memorial Cup tournament was in 2010 (which they won) while Saint John's was in 2012 (they placed third).

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

NOTES: Sea Dogs get send off

WINDSOR, Ont. - The Saint John Sea Dogs touched down in Windsor on Wednesday afternoon following a large showing of support from their fans.

The team left Saint John following a crowded and lively send off at Market Square, where captain Spencer Smallman, head coach Danny Flynn, president Trevor Georgie and mayor Don Darling all spoke.

The team flew to Windsor following the rally and will practice on Thursday morning.

Flynn, along with the rest of tournament's head coaches, spoke at a press conference on Wednesday evening at the WFCU Centre.
Here are a few other notes and links...

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

VIDEO: Sea Dogs' President Cup win

Because it's been nearly a week since it happened, here's a few videos to help you remember the Saint John Sea Dogs' President Cup celebration.

And another:
And one more:
The Sea Dogs will celebrate again on Wednesday at 11 a.m. in the Market Square Atrium prior to departing for the Memorial Cup in Windsor, Ont.

Monday, May 15, 2017

2017 Memorial Cup schedule now confirmed

Now that the four teams are confirmed for the 2017 Memorial Cup, the schedule has been confirmed as well.

Here is the full tournament schedule (all the games Saint John will or could be involved in are in bold):

Friday, May 19: Saint John vs Windsor, 8 p.m.
Saturday, May 20: Erie vs Seattle, 8 p.m.
Sunday, May 21: Windsor vs Seattle, 8 p.m.
Monday, May 22: Erie vs Saint John, 8 p.m.
Tuesday, May 23: Seattle vs Saint John, 8 p.m.
Wednesday, May 24: Windsor vs Erie, 8 p.m.
Thursday, May 25: Tiebreaker, 8 p.m.
Friday, May 26: Semifinal, 8 p.m.
Sunday, May 28: Final, 8 p.m.

This is the same scheduling format as the 2011 Memorial Cup in Mississauga, which the Sea Dogs won. Saint John defeated the host St. Michael's Majors in the tournament opener and then defeated Owen Sound to clinch a spot in the final. The team lost to the Kootenay Ice in overtime in their final round robin game, but the Dogs opted to rest many of their regulars for that contest.

The Sea Dogs have never played Windsor, Erie or Seattle previously. Saint John is 3-1 all-time against OHL teams (defeating Mississauga twice, Owen Sound once and losing to London)  and 1-1 against WHL squads (defeating Edmonton and losing to Kootenay).

All tournament games will be broadcast nationally on Sportsnet.

Seattle clinches Memorial Cup berth

The 2017 Memorial Cup field is set.

The Seattle Thunderbirds became the fourth and final team to clinch their spot, winning the Western Hockey League championship with a 4-3 overtime win over the Regina Pats on Sunday night. The Thunderbirds won the series in six games.

Here's the goal, which came from Alexander True at 12:36 of overtime.
It's the first WHL title for the Thunderbirds. They'll now join the Windsor Spitfires (host), Saint John Sea Dogs (QMJHL champion) and Erie Otters (OHL champion) at this year's Memorial Cup tournament in Windsor.

Seattle finished the regular season fourth overall in the WHL standings with a record of 46-20-4-2 for 98 points. They were not included in the final CHL Top 10 ranking.

Seattle swept their first two playoff series before beating the Kelowna Rockets in six games in the conference final. They then defeated the Pats, the No. 1 ranked team in the CHL for much of the regular season, in six games to win the WHL title.

The most notable player on Seattle's roster is Matthew Barzal, the New York Islanders prospect who played with Team Canada at this year's World Junior Hockey Championships. Barzal was named the WHL's playoff MVP with seven goals and 18 assists in 16 games.

The Thunderbirds' victory means there will be two American teams in the Memorial Cup tournament for the first time since 2007 when Lewiston (RIP) and Plymouth (RIP) were involved. Ironically, this year's tournament will take place a short drive from the US (Detroit) border.

The Memorial Cup begins on Friday with the host the Spitfires taking on the Sea Dogs. The Thunderbirds will face the Otters the following day.

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Comparing the three championship years

There were plenty of similarities between this year's President Cup win and the Saint John Sea Dogs' previous two.

Like 2011 and 2012, the Sea Dogs suffered very few loses, playing well at both home and away. The team was also strong defensively this year, sporting the league's best penalty kill just as they did in 2011 and 2012. This year though, the team allowed just 31 goals compared to 39 in past championship seasons.

Here's a statistical look at each President Cup winning playoff run:

PP27.4 (3rd)28.2 (2nd)17.6 (8th)
PK92.6 (1st)88.2 (1st)89.7 (1st)
PointsHuberdeau - 30Galiev - 34; Coyle - 34Joseph - 32
GoalsHuberdeau - 16Galiev - 16Joseph - 13
AssistsGaliev - 17Phillips - 23Joseph - 19

Looking back now, some of those offensive numbers in 2012 seem absurd (an average of 5.75 goals per game!). Some of those numbers got a boost from Saint John's very lopsided first round series with Cape Breton.

It's also interesting that the Sea Dogs' biggest challenge in this year's playoffs came in the third round against the Chicoutimi Sagueneens - just like in 2012. The Sea Dogs lost just once to the Sags in 2012 (an overtime defeat) but twice this year (one being in overtime and the other on a late third period goal).

It'll be interesting to debate in the coming years how these three teams should be ranked. No doubt the team's performance in Windsor this week and next will have an impact on that.

The Sea Dogs begin Memorial Cup play on Friday against the host Spitfires.

Saturday, May 13, 2017

NOTES: Sea Dogs send off on Wednesday

The Saint John Sea Dogs will have a send off on Wednesday before leaving for the 2017 Memorial Cup tournament.

From the Sea Dogs' Facebook:

Join us for a Memorial Cup send off on Wednesday, May 17th at 11am in the Market Square Atrium. Cheer on the entire Saint John Sea Dogs team before they head to Windsor, ON for the 2017 Mastercard Memorial Cup. The President Cup will be front and center, as we hear from Mayor Don Darling, Coach Danny Flynn, Captain Spencer Smallman and more! 
We can't wait to see the best fans in the CHL!

The Memorial Cup begins on Friday for the Sea Dogs when they face the host Windsor Spitfires at 8 p.m.

Here are a few other links...

Otters advance to Memorial Cup

Anthony Cirelli has done it again.

The man who scored the overtime winner for the Oshawa Generals in the 2015 Memorial Cup final scored another championship-clinching goal on Friday, winning the Erie Otters the 2017 OHL title.

Cirelli scored on a power play at 2:41 of the first overtime frame, giving the Otters a 4-3 win and 4-1 series win over the Mississauga Steelheads in the OHL final.
The Otters join the Saint John Sea Dogs (QMJHL champions) and Windsor Spitfires (host) as teams who have clinched berths for the 2017 Memorial Cup tournament. The WHL championship between the Seattle Thunderbirds and Regina Pats was tied 2-2 at the time of this writing.

This is the tail end of an incredible run for the Erie franchise, who set a CHL record with a fourth straight 50-win season this year. The Otters finished first overall in the OHL regular season standings with a record of 50-15-2-1.

The Otters have had a challenging playoff run, needing seven games to defeat the powerhouse London Knights in the Western Conference semifinal and then six games to eliminate the dark house Owen Sound Attack in the conference final. The Steelheads put up a good fight in the league final, but as expected, the Otters were simply too powerful.

Erie has a stacked lineup, headlined by Alex DeBrincat, Dylan Strome, Warren Foegele, and the Raddyshs.

The Otters begin Memorial Cup play on Saturday, May 20 against the WHL champions. They will play the Sea Dogs on Monday, May 22.

Friday, May 12, 2017

Dubois played Final with separated shoulder

A reason for the Blainville-Boisbriand Armada's offensive struggles in the President Cup Final may have been the health of one of their top forwards.

It was revealed yesterday that Armada forward Pierre-Luc Dubois had been playing with a separated shoulder, which he suffered during Game 1 of the series.
Dubois finished the series with just one point - a goal - which came in Wednesday's Game 4.

Blainville-Boisbriand scored just four goals in the four-game series loss to the Saint John Sea Dogs, which set a league record.
The 18-year-old finished the playoffs with nine goals and 13 assists in 19 games. He had 15 goals and 22 assists in 28 games with the Armada in the regular season, who he joined following a trade after playing with Team Canada at the World Junior Hockey Championships.

Dubois was selected third overall by the Columbus Blue Jackets in last year's NHL Draft, two spots after Auston Matthews and one after Patrik Laine.

Thursday, May 11, 2017

NOTES: Sea Dogs dominant on defence

We all knew heading into the President Cup Final the Saint John Sea Dogs were dominant on defence and the Blainville-Boisbriand Armada were not built on offence. But even knowing that, this stat Sportsnet showed following last night's game is really something.
Three of the Armada's four goals in the series came in Game 1. The other was in last night's Game 4.

Saint John simply shutdown the Armada's offence, which, although certainly not as high powered as the Sea Dogs', had been decent in the playoffs up until this point.

Blainville-Boisbriand scored just one power play goal in the entire series, finishing 1/16. Alex Barre-Boulet, who entered the final as the league's leading scorer, recorded just two points (both assists) while Pierre-Luc Dubois had just one goal (which came last night).

Best D core ever?
We'll wait and see how the Memorial Cup goes, but there is certainly an argument to be made that this is the best defence core the Sea Dogs have ever had.

Saint John allowed just 31 goals in 18 games this post-season for an average of 1.67. They allowed 21.79 shots against per game.

In 2011, the team allowed 39 goals in 19 games while giving up an average of 25.53 shots against per game. In 2012, the Dogs allowed 39 goals in 17 games and allowed an average of 26.11 shots against.

Chabot named playoff MVP

Thomas Chabot has, unsurprisingly, been named the QMJHL's playoff MVP.

Chabot was awarded the Guy Lafleur Trophy as the playoff's most valuable player following the Saint John Sea Dogs' President Cup clinching 5-1 win over the Blainville-Boisbriand Armada on Wednesday.

The defenceman finished the post-season with five goals and 18 assists in 18 games. He also finished the playoffs with a +29 rating, an impressive number even if you're not a fan of the stat.

A big story of the final two games was the amount of ice time being logged by Chabot, which was tracked by RDS' Stephane Leroux.
Chabot is the first defenceman to win the award since Danny Groulx in 2002 and just the fourth all-time.

Saint John's Jonathan Huberdeau won the award in 2011 and Charlie Coyle did so in 2012.

Earlier this year, Chabot was named the MVP of the World Junior Hockey Championship.

RECAP: Sea Dogs win 5-1

RECAP: Saint John 5, Blainville-Boisbriand 1
BOISBRIAND, Que. - The Saint John Sea Dogs are President Cup champions once again.

The Sea Dogs clinched the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League championship with a a 5-1 win over the Blainville-Boisbriand Armada on Wednesday at the Arena With A Really Long Name, completing a four-game sweep.

It's the third President Cup title for Saint John and the first since 2012.

Even though the Armada got within a goal in the second period, the game never felt in doubt. The victory capped off an impressive performance in the President Cup Final, a performance that saw the Sea Dogs allow just four goals.

Spencer Smallman scored twice for Saint John while singles came from Bokondji Imama, Simon Bourque and Matthew Highmore. Mathieu Joseph had four assists in the contest. Callum Booth was solid once again, making 20 saves in the win.

The Armada's lone goal came from Pierre-Luc Dubois, which was his first and only point of the series. Samuel Montembeault allowed five goals on 34 shots in the loss.

To the notes...

  • The game started out quite differently than Game 3. The Sea Dogs were buzzing early and created several solid scoring chances. Joe Veleno had the best chance on a power play when he wasn't able to connect on an open net.
  • Imama opened the scoring at 7:29. After accepting a pass from Matthew Highmore in the corner, Imama fired a quick wrist shot past Montembeault to make it 1-0 Saint John.
  • The Armada finally started pressuring offensively near the six-minute mark, which got Booth flopping around in his crease a bit but the puck stayed out.
  • Smallman made it 2-0 Saint John at 17:38 on a power play. Joseph fed Highmore down low who then fired a lovely backhand pass to a wide open Smallman. The Saint John captain had an open net to double the Sea Dogs' lead.
  • The first half of the second period was a nasty one with both teams slashing and hacking away at each other.
  • The Armada came close to scoring near the midway point of the second, beating Booth but not the post.
  • Dubois got the Armada on the board at 13:53, beating a screened Booth on a power play to make it 2-1.
  • But not long after after at 15:21, Bourque scored to restore Saint John's two-goal lead.
  • Smallman scored another power play goal at 5:16 of the third, this time during a five-on-three, firing into an empty net after another nice Saint John passing play.
  • At 15:07 of the third, Highmore rounded out the scoring by fooling Montembeault with a long wrist shot. It was that kind of night for the Armada. That made it a 5-1 final.
  • With Julien Gauthier serving the second game of his two-game suspension, the Sea Dogs went with the same lineup they went with in Game 3.
  • Imama's goal was his first of the series and first since Game 6 of the semifinals.
  • The Armada finished the series 1/16 on the power play.
  • Joseph took over the league's playoff scoring lead with 32 points.

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Sea Dogs look to clinch on the road again

It was five years ago on this day that Jonathan Huberdeau lifted the President Cup above his head on Rimouski Oceanic ice.

On May 10, 2012, the Sea Dogs completed a four-game sweep of the Oceanic with a convincing 8-0 road victory, giving Saint John their second straight QMJHL championship. Saint John will look to repeat that success tonight when they take on the Blainville-Boisbriand Armada in Game 4 of the 2017 President Cup Final. Like 2012, the Dogs enter Game 4 with a 3-0 series lead.

Saint John has won both of its previous President Cup titles on the road, winning in Gatineau in 2011 and Rimouski in 2012. The Sea Dogs, it seems, have a long history of winning big playoff games on the road. Of all the series wins Saint John has had over the years, only five have been decided on Harbour Station ice.

YearSeries WinGamesDeciding Game
20081st round vs PEI4Road
20082nd round vs BAT6Road
20101st round vs PEI5Home
20102nd round vs GAT4Road
20103rd round vs VIC6Home
20111st round vs CAP4Road
20112nd round vs VIC5Road
20113rd round vs LEW4Road
20114th round vs GAT6Road
20121st round vs CAP4Road
20122nd round vs BAC4Road
20123rd round vs CHI5Home
20124th round vs RIM4Road
20161st round vs BAT5Home
20162nd round vs CAP7Home
20171st round vs RIM4Road
20172nd round vs VAL4Road
20173rd round vs CHI6Road

If the Sea Dogs clinch the President Cup on the road this year, they will have clinched all four rounds away from Harbour Station, which they previously did in 2011.

Unlike the 2011 and 2012 championships, Saint John has not played any teams from within their division to get to this point. A President Cup championship would give the Sea Dogs franchise three titles, the most by any Maritimes team (we're not including the Laval Titan's titles). 

A win by the Dogs tonight would also be the first sweep in a President Cup final since Saint John did so in 2012.

Playoffs Game Day: Game 4 at Boisbriand

The Saint John Sea Dogs can win the President Cup with a victory tonight over the Blainville-Boisbriand Armada. Game time is 8:30 p.m. at the Arena With A Really Long Name.

TV/Radio/Webcast: Sportsnet 360 and TVA Sports 2/96.1 NewSong FM/QMJHL Live

Series status: The Sea Dogs lead the best-of-seven President Cup Final series 3-0 over the Armada.

Last game: The Sea Dogs won Game 3 of the series last night in Boisbriand, defeating the Armada 2-0. Samuel Dove-McFalls scored both Saint John goals. Callum Booth made 22 saves in the shutout victory. Samuel Montembeault made 17 stops in the loss.

2016-17 head-to-head: The Sea Dogs were 1-0-1-0 against the Armada during the regular season while Blainville-Boisbriand went 1-1-0-0 against Saint John.

Ex-Sea Dogs on the Armada: None.

Random stat: The Sea Dogs completed a sweep of the Rimouski Oceanic to win the 2012 President Cup exactly five years ago today.

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

RECAP: Sea Dogs win 2-0

FINAL: Saint John 2, Blainville-Boisbriand 0
BOISBRIAND, Que. - Playing without one of their top offensive players, the Saint John Sea Dogs got it done with their defence in Game 3 of the President Cup Final on Tuesday.

The Sea Dogs allowed just 22 shots on goal and Callum Booth stopped all of them in a 2-0 win over the Blainville-Boisbriand Armada at the Arena With A Really Long Name. The victory gives Saint John a 3-0 lead in the series and puts them one win away from a President Cup title.

Both teams put on defensive displays in this game. Shots on goal were just 22-19 in favour of Blainville-Boisbriand while dangerous shots favoured the Dogs at 11-7.

Samuel Dove-McFalls, who moved up to Saint John's second line to replace the suspended Julien Gauthier, scored what proved to be the game-winner midway through the second period. He added an empty net goal late in the third to secure the victory.

It was the second straight shutout for Booth and his fourth of the post-season. Armada goaltender Samuel Montembeault, although not tested a whole lot, was named third star for his 17-save performance.

To the notes...
  • Saint John's fourth line had the first quality scoring chance of the game when Kyle Ward fired a quick shot from the slot that was stopped by the arm of Montembeault.
  • There weren't a whole lot of scoring chances for either side in a closely fought first period.
  • Pierre-Luc Dubois took two minor penalties in the opening frame.
  • Shortly after killing off an Armada power play, Dove-McFalls opened the scoring at 12:28 of the second. Mathieu Joseph entered the zone, put on the brakes and fed a streaking Dove-McFalls in the slot. The Philadelphia Flyers prospect wired a wrist shot past Montembeault's glove to make it 1-0 Saint John.
  • Miguel Picard had the Armada's first good scoring chance in forever near the 12-minute mark of the third, beating Booth but not the post.
  • The Armada were able to apply some strong offensive pressure in the final minutes of the third period, but could only get a few good shots on net.
  • At 19:44, Dove-McFalls secured the win with an empty net goal.
  • Samuel Leblanc drew back into the Saint John lineup and was on the team's fourth line.
  • Joel Teasdale, who was the victim of the Gauthier hit on Saturday, did not play. He is out with a reported concussion.
  • According to Tim Roszell, Cole Reginato broke a skate blade just before the start of the second period.
  • The Armada are now 0/13 on the power play in this series.
  • Dubois was held off the scoresheet for a third straight game.
  • Great atmosphere in Boisbriand. The place can get loud.

Playoffs Game Day: Game 3 at Boisbriand

The Saint John Sea Dogs look to take a commanding 3-0 series lead tonight against the Blainville-Boisbriand Armada in the President Cup Final. Game time is 8:30 p.m. in Boisbriand.

TV/Radio/Webcast: TVA Sports 2/96.1 NewSong FM/QMJHL Live

Series status: The Sea Dogs lead the Armada 2-0 in the best-of-seven President Cup Final series.

Last game: The Sea Dogs shutout the Armada 4-0 in Game 2 on Saturday night at Harbour Station. Julien Gauthier scored a pair of goals while singles came from Mathieu Joseph and Spencer Smallman. Callum Booth made 27 saves in the shutout. Samuel Montembeault made 33 stops in the loss.

2016-17 head-to-head: The Sea Dogs were 1-0-1-0 against the Armada during the regular season while Blainville-Boisbriand went 1-1-0-0 against Saint John.

Ex-Sea Dogs on the Armada: None.

Random stat: Callum Booth recorded his third shutout of the playoffs on Saturday. Booth allowed four goals following his first shutout and five following his second.

Monday, May 8, 2017

Gauthier "disappointed" to be missing next two games

Julien Gauthier released a statement shortly after the QMJHL announced his two-game suspension.

Here's what Gauthier had to say, via the Sea Dogs website:

“I am disappointed I will not be able to play the next two games,” Gauthier began. “I will be working hard this week, and doing everything I can to be ready for my next opportunity to be back in the lineup.”

Gauthier was given a two-game ban for his check to the head on Blainville-Boisbriand Armada's Joel Teasdale in the third period of Saturday's Game 2. The Carolina Hurricanes prospect will miss Games 3 and 4 of the President Cup Final in Boisbriand.

The Sea Dogs' release said no further comments would be made on the suspension, although the team will have media availability tomorrow morning.

The good news for Gauthier is that he will be playing again this season at some point. With the Dogs up 2-0 in the series, the forward will either return for Game 5 or the team's first Memorial Cup game.

Gauthier has plenty of playoff experience but is having the best post-season of his QMJHL career this year, recording 11 goals and six assists in 16 games. The 19-year-old has been scoring at big moments - he has four goals in this President Cup Final - which is something he struggled with in 2015 when he did not score in the Val-d'Or Foreurs' final six playoff games en route to a third round elimination.

The Armada also requested a revision of a play involving Nathan Noel. No suspension came from the play, meaning the Armada received a $250 fine.

Game 3 of this year's President Cup Final takes place Tuesday night in Boisbriand.

QMJHL suspends Gauthier for two games

Saint John Sea Dogs forward Julien Gauthier has been suspended two games for a check to the head during the Saturday's Game 2 of the President Cup Final.
Gauthier was given a five-minute major and game misconduct for this hit on Blainville-Boisbriand Armada's Joel Teasdale in the third period.
Teasdale was down for a while and did not return to the game, according to Sportsnet.

The suspension means Gauthier will miss Games 3 and 4 on Tuesday and Wednesday, respectively, in Blainville-Boisbriand. The Sea Dogs lead the series 2-0, but this suspension gives the Armada a big boost heading into a crucial Game 3.

Gauthier has scored four of Saint John's 10 goals in this series, scoring twice in each game. The Carolina Hurricanes prospect has 11 goals and six assists in 16 games this post-season.

The Sea Dogs have been scoring

SAINT JOHN - The Saint John Sea Dogs didn't have a whole lot of trouble with Samuel Montembeault and the Blainville-Boisbriand Armada defence this past weekend.

Before the President Cup Final, the Armada goaltender had allowed 27 goals in 14 playoff matches. In Games 1 and 2 of the Final, the Sea Dogs were able to get a total on nine goals past the Florida Panthers prospect.

The five goals Montembeault allowed in Game 1 were the most he had allowed in a game since Dec. 30.

Montembeault and the Armada are used to playing teams with high powered offences, playing Bathurst (third in goals scored during the regular season) in round two and Charlottetown (first in goals scored) in round three. Saint John had the second best offence in the regular season.

Blainville-Boisbriand has been able to rebound from rough loses and bad stretches throughout the post-season, and they'll need to do so again if they want to edge the Dogs. The team has lost three straight games just once post-season, allowing four or more goals in each of those loses.

The Armada are no doubt happy to be heading home where they've lost just once in these playoffs. On the flip side, Saint John has lost just once on the road.

While the Armada defence will no doubt try and improve for Tuesday's Game 3, their offence has also had a difficult time in this series. Alex Barre-Boulet, the league's leading playoff scorer, has just one assist while Pierre-Luc Dubois has been held pointless. The team's power play, which had been so good in this post-season, is 0/10.

Some other notes...
  • Julien Gauthier has been on fire in the President Cup Final, scoring four goals and adding two assists in the first two games. Meanwhile, Matthew Highmore has two goals and two assists and Mathieu Joseph has two goals and three assists.
  • As mentioned on the Sportsnet broadcast, Joseph has scored seven shorthanded goals in the regular season and playoffs combined. The Armada have scored five as a team this year.
  • An update on Callum Booth's playoff numbers: 14-1-1, 1.81 GAA, .917 SV%.
  • The league has not updated its suspensions and fines list yet, but there are no doubt a few plays up for review. Along with the Gauthier hit, Joseph took a pretty bad elbow to the face that went uncalled for.