Monday, January 30, 2017

Game Day: 2017 CHL/NHL Top Prospects Game

QUEBEC CITY - Saint John Sea Dogs goaltender Alex D'Orio will take part in the CHL/NHL Top Prospects Game tonight at Videotron Centre.

D'Orio will suit up for Team Orr at this year's event. Michael DiPietro of the Windsor Spitfires will be the squad's other netminder.
The 17-year-old D'Orio was ranked eighth amongst North American goaltenders in the latest NHL Central Scouting rankings for the 2017 NHL Draft.

D'Orio has put up impressive numbers in his first QMJHL season, going 14-2 with a 2.35 goals against average and a .901 save percentage.

Team Orr will be highlighted by Halifax Mooseheads forward Nico Hischier while Team Cherry is headlined by Nolan Patrick of the Brandon Wheat Kings. Despite missing most of the season with an injury, Patrick is expected to go first overall in this year's draft.

Tonight's game, which features the best draft eligible players from across the CHL, will go on as planned despite Sunday's shooting. Game time is 8 p.m. and can be seen on Sportsnet and TVA Sports.

Shout-out to Sherwin-Williams paints.

Sunday, January 29, 2017

RECAP: Sea Dogs win 5-2

FINAL: Saint John 5, Charlottetown 2
CHARLOTTETOWN - The Saint John Sea Dogs recorded a statement win on Sunday at Eastlink Centre.

Bailey Webster, Mathieu Joseph, Nathan Noel, Cole Reginato and Samuel Dove-McFalls scored while Callum Booth made 24 saves in Saint John's 5-2 road victory over the Charlottetown Islanders.

It was the first meeting between the two teams since both loaded up during the QMJHL's trading period. Playing in front of a playoff-like crowd, the Sea Dogs registered a solid road win and extended their Maritimes Division lead to five points over the third-place Islanders.

The victory also extended Saint John's winning streak to five games.

Pascal Aquin and Filip Chlapik scored for Charlottetown. Matthew Welsh made 30 saves in the loss.

To the notes...

  • The Islanders took an early 1-0 lead at 2:32 of the first period when Aquin made some dangles and beat Booth.
  • Saint John tied the game at 14:29 when Webster fired a wrist shot from the point that went through some traffic and past Welsh, tying the game at 1-1.
  • Charlottetown was applying lots of pressure in the opening half of the second period. At 7:02, Nathan Noel was called for a crosscheck, sending the Isles to the man advantage.
  • But with Noel in the box, Joseph entered the offensive zone and made a beautiful move to get past an Islanders defender and slide the puck past Welsh at 8:31, giving Saint John a 2-1 lead.
  • On a power play with 1:01 left in the second, Noel ripped a shot high glove side and past Welsh to give the Sea Dogs a 3-1 advantage.
  • In the dying seconds of the middle frame, Booth made a big pad save off of a Daniel Sprong break.
  • At 8:31 of the third, Spencer Smallamn sailed a perfect pass through the crease to Reginato who scored to make it 4-1 Saint John.
  • Just 14 seconds later, Chlapik skated into the zone and went into the high slot, firing a hard wrist shot past Booth to get Charlottetown back within two.
  • With 2:16 remaining and the Islanders net empty, Joseph found Dove-McFalls who potted his 10th of the season to make it a 5-2 final.
  • Joseph extended his point streak to a franchise record 25 consecutive games.
  • With five shorthanded goals, Joseph moves into a tie for the league lead.
  • Webster's goal was just his second of the season and third of his career.
  • Reginato has two goals and four assists in his past six games.
  • Kyle Ward wore a full cage after having his face cut on Saturday in Moncton.
  • Four buses of Sea Dogs fans (about 200 people) made the trip to Charlottetown.
  • The Sea Dogs and Islanders meet three more times this season - twice in Charlottetown and once in Saint John.

Game Day 47: at Charlottetown

This is a big one. Two of the QMJHL's most hyped teams meet this afternoon in Charlottetown as the Saint John Sea Dogs (30-12-3-1, 1st Maritimes, 3rd QMJHL) take on the Islanders (29-14-3-0, 3rd Maritimes, 6th QMJHL) at 3 p.m.

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

Last games: The Sea Dogs are coming off a 5-2 win in Moncton last night. Bokondji Imama scored twice while singles came from Matt Green, Kyle Ward and Matthew Highmore. Callum Booth made 18 saves in the win. The Islanders are coming off a 5-4 overtime loss in Sydney on Friday night. Francois Beauchemin, Carl Neill, Adam Marsh and Matthew Grouchy scored for Charlottetown. Mark Grametbauer made 32 saves in the win.

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

Last meeting: Dec. 17 at Harbour Station where the Sea Dogs defeated the Islanders 8-2. Spencer Smallman had a hat trick, Matthew Highmore scored twice and Saint John singles came from Bokondji Imama, Samuel Dove-McFalls and John Warren. Charlottetown goals came from Cody Donaghey and Gregor MacLeod. Alex D'Orio made 23 saves in the win. Matthew Welsh made 31 stops in the loss.

Ex-Sea Dogs on the Islanders: Forward Adam Marsh.

Random stat: Assuming everyone plays, this game will feature a ridiculous 17 NHL drafted players.

Saturday, January 28, 2017

RECAP: Sea Dogs win 5-2

FINAL: Saint John 5, Moncton 2
MONCTON - The Saint John Sea Dogs will carry a four-game winning streak into Sunday's big game in Charlottetown.

With the exception of a small stretch in the second period, the Sea Dogs registered a dominant performance on Saturday night at the Moncton Coliseum, defeating the Wildcats 5-2. Shots on goal ended 52-20 in favour of Saint John.

Bokondji Imama scored twice for Saint John while singles came from Matt Green, Kyle Ward and Matthew Highmore. Callum Booth made 18 saves in the win.

Charles Taillon and Jeremy McKenna scored for the Wildcats, who have now dropped a franchise high 14 straight games. Matthew Waite made 47 saves in the loss.

The Sea Dogs, 30-12-3-1, sit first in the Maritimes Division with 64 points. They sit three points ahead of the Islanders, 29-14-3-0, heading into Sunday's 3 p.m. showdown at Eastlink Centre. A Saint John win would give the Dogs some much need breathing room in the race for the division title.

To the notes...
  • Shots were 8-0 Saint John at the first television timeout, which came less than seven minutes in.
  • Saint John opened the scoring at 15:06 when Alexandre Bernier threw the puck on net. The puck hit Green in front and went in past Waite, giving the Sea Dogs their first lead.
  • The Sea Dogs outshot the Wildcats 20-1 in the first period. It was just the fourth time in the QMJHL this season a team recorded one or fewer shots in a first period.
  • 2:01 into the second period, Joe Veleno sent a perfect pass from the goal line to Ward in front. Ward beat Waite with a one-time shot, giving the Sea Dogs a 2-0 lead.
  • Imama made it 3-0 on a power play at 8:08, firing a hard wrist shots from the slot past Waite.
  • On a Moncton power play at 9:14, Taillon jammed the rebound of a McKenna shot through the legs of Booth, making it 3-1.
  • On another power play at 10:58, McKenna walked into the slot and beat Booth with a wrist shots, making it a 3-2 contest.
  • Just 22 seconds after McKenna's goal, Julien Gauthier sent a perfect pass to Highmore who beat Waite to give the Sea Dogs a 4-2 lead and some momentum back.
  • Imama scored his second of the night at 13:44 of the third on a power play, making it a 5-2 final.
  • Imama's first goal was his 30th of the season.
  • Imama now has eight multi-goal games this season.
  • Mathieu Joseph extended his point streak to a franchise record 24 games.
  • Green has two goals and an assist in his past four games.
  • Gauthier now has three goals and three assists in six games with the Sea Dogs. He also had a big hit in this game.
  • The Wildcats did manage to win 30 faceoffs while the Sea Dogs had 29.
  • Kyle Ward and Bailey Webster both returned to the lineup from injuries.
  • The Sea Dogs and Wildcats meet just one more time this season - March 15 at the Moncton Coliseum.

Game Day 46: at Moncton

The Saint John Sea Dogs (29-12-3-1, 1st Maritimes, 3rd QMJHL) return to action tonight when they travel to Moncton to face the Wildcats (13-30-2-1, 6th Maritimes, 18th QMJHL) at 7 p.m.

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

Last games: The Sea Dogs haven't played since last Saturday at Harbour Station where they defeated the Baie-Comeau Drakkar 5-3. Bokondji Imama scored twice for Saint John while singles came from David Comeau, Simon Bourque and Mathieu Joseph. Alex D'Orio made 18 saves in the win. The Wildcats are coming off a 5-4 shootout loss to the Quebec Remparts last night at the Moncton Coliseum. Alexandre Renaud had a hat trick for the Wildcats - who blew a 4-0 third period lead - while Connor Senken added a single. Matthew Waite made 44 saves in the loss.

2016-17 head-to-head: The Sea Dogs are 5-1-0-1 against the Wildcats this season while Moncton is 2-5-0-0 against Saint John.

Last games: Jan. 17 at Harbour Station where the Sea Dogs defeated the Wildcats 7-2. Spencer Smallman and Samuel Leblanc each scored twice for Saint John while singles came from Julien Gauthier, Matt Green and Cole Reginato. Axel Simic and Adam Capannelli scored for Moncton. Callum Booth made 18 saves in the win. Moncton's Dominik Tmej was pulled after allowing three goals on nine shots. Matthew Waite allowed four goals on 35 shots in relief.

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

Random stat: Matthew Highmore has five goals and eight assists in seven games against Moncton this season.

Friday, January 27, 2017

Friday notes: Records update

Matthew Highmore continues to inch closer to several Saint John Sea Dogs franchise records.

After recording two assists against the Baie-Comeau Drakkar last Saturday, Highmore moved into second all-time in assists by a Sea Dog with 145. He is just eight back of Jonathan Huberdeau's franchise record.
Highmore now has 227 points in his Sea Dogs career, good for third all-time. With 23 Sea Dogs games remaining in the regular season, the 20-year-old forward sits behind Michael Kirkpatrick (251) and Huberdeau (257). It's not impossible for Highmore to take the franchise lead, but he'll have to steadily produce for the rest of the season.
Highmore and Mathieu Joseph are also inching up the Sea Dogs' all-time goal scoring list. It will take an impressive second half for one of them to surpass Kirkpatrick's record, though.
A record that should be broken - knock on wood - is the all-time games played mark, which is currently held by Mike Thomas (288). Spencer Smallman is currently second (273) while Highmore is third (270).

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Tuesday/Wednesday notes: OHL west is real good

I was cruising through Twitter on Tuesday night and came across this tweet:
That's quite crazy.

The Erie Otters are, once again, a very good hockey team. They improved to 22-0-1-1 at Erie Insurance Arena (which is a very good building) with a dominant 5-0 win over the Kitchener Rangers on Tuesday. The Rangers had just four shots through the first two periods and ended the night with 13.

The Otters' home record looks a lot like the Saint John Sea Dogs' 2010-11 mark, when the team went a remarkable 32-0-1-1 at Harbour Station.

The Otters joined the Sea Dogs in a significant statistical mark last season, becoming the fifth Canadian Hockey League franchise to record three straight 50-win seasons. The Otters have a very good chance of making it four consecutive seasons, which would be a CHL first.

The biggest difference between the Otters and the other members of the 50-win threepeat club is that Erie hasn't won a championship. Here's a look at the members, via the OHL website:

Canadian Hockey League – Three consecutive 50-win seasons:
Erie Otters (2013-16)
Kelowna Rockets (2012-15) (1 WHL title)
Edmonton Oil Kings (2011-14) (2 WHL titles, 1 Memorial Cup)
Saint John Sea Dogs (2009-12) (2 QMJHL titles, 1 Memorial Cup)
Kamloops Blazers (1989-92) (2 WHL titles, 1 Memorial Cup)

Unfortunatly for the Otters, they play in the same league - and division - as the London Knights, who derailed the team last year and could do so again this season. The OHL's Western Conference is ridiculous with the Knights, Otters and Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds all tied at the top. The Memorial Cup hosting Windsor Spitfires are two points back.

Whoever makes it out of the OHL and into the Memorial Cup should be well battled tested.

Sea Dogs begin road stretch Saturday

They're not going too far, but the Saint John Sea Dogs will not be playing at home again until Feb. 10.

The Sea Dogs will play their next five contests on the road - all within the Maritimes Division. The team will visit each city in the division once during the span, which begins on Saturday in Moncton.

Saint John will have the week to prepare for what will be interesting mental test for the squad. The Sea Dogs, 29-12-3-1, should easily beat the Moncton Wildcats, 13-30-2-0, but with a big Sunday showdown in Charlottetown looming, Saint John will have to stay focused and not look past Saturday's match.

Sunday's game in Charlottetown, which begins at 3 p.m. at Eastlink Centre, is getting a lot of hype - and rightfully so.
Just two points separate Saint John and Charlottetown for top spot in the Maritimes Division. That could change by the time the two meet though, with the Islanders visiting the Cape Breton Screaming Eagles on Friday and Sea Dogs travelling to Moncton on Saturday.

There are four regular season meetings left between the Sea Dogs and Islanders: Sunday in Charlottetown, Feb. 14 in Charlottetown, March 10 in Saint John and March 17 in Charlottetown.

Saint John's other contests during this five-game road stretch will be Feb. 3 in Halifax, Feb. 4 in Sydney and Feb. 8 in Bathurst.

The Sea Dogs return home to host the Drummondville Voltigeurs on Feb. 10.

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Sea Dogs attendance up significantly

Let's talk about crowd size.

After 24 home games, the Saint John Sea Dogs are averaging 3,816 fans per game, which is good for fourth most in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League. After 24 home games last year, the Sea Dogs were averaging 3,324 fans per game. An increase of 492 fans is fairly significant.

While it's difficult to compare attendance figures at mid-season (due to factors such as the amount of weekday games), we've gone ahead and done it anyway.

SeasonAvg. after 24 GPAvg. after 34 GP
2010-114,063 (4th)4,478 (4th)
2011-124,117 (3rd)4,561 (3rd)
2012-133,797 (4th)3,992 (4th)
2013-143,158 (5th)3,423 (5th)
2014-15*3,582 (5th)
2015-163,324 (4th)3,629 (4th)
2016-173,816 (4th)- - -
*The QMJHL's LeagueStat page won't allow us to change dates for 2014-15, for some reason.

The Sea Dogs have 10 home games remaining - seven of which will be played on a Friday, Saturday or Sunday. The other three will be held on a Tuesday (one) or Wednesday (two).

Also good news for the Sea Dogs is that seven of their 10 remaining games at Harbour Station will be against Maritimes Division rivals. Another one of those games will be against rival Shawinigan. Divisional games typically outdraw Quebec games - although this past weekend saw a couple of great crowds.

The Sea Dogs should draw well down the stretch given the quality of this year's team, meaning Saint John will likely surpass the 4,000 fans per game mark, which the team has done four times previously. They haven't averaged more than 4,000 since the 2011-12 season when they set a team record of 4,561 fans per match at Harbour Station.

RECAP: Sea Dogs win 5-3

FINAL: Baie-Comeau 3, Saint John 5
SAINT JOHN - It wasn't easy, but the Saint John Sea Dogs managed to edge one of the league's worst team's on Saturday night at Harbour Station.

Bokondji Imama had two goals while David Comeau, Simon Bourque and Mathieu Joseph also scored in Saint John's 5-3 victory over the Baie-Comeau Drakkar. Alex D'Orio made 18 saves in the win.

Saint John outshot the Drakkar for the entire game but never led by more than two goals. Even when the Dogs went up two, they still weren't able to pull away, keeping life in the Drakkar. The Sea Dogs also had trouble staying out of the box, giving Baie-Comeau seven power play chances - which saw two goals scored.

On a positive note, a win is a win. Fans should expect even the league's basement dwellers to bring their top game when they play a loaded Saint John team.

Simon Chevrier, Jordan Martel and Xavier Bouchard scored for Baie-Comeau. Antoine Samuel made 30 saves in the win.

To the notes...
  • The Sea Dogs made it 1-0 on a power play at 2:13 when Imama wired a bullet of a wrist shot past Samuel.
  • Imama struck again on a power play at 10:36. Nathan Noel fired a shot that was blocked but found its went to Imama, who then redirected it past Samuel to make it 2-0 Saint John.
  • The Drakkar got on the board at 17:28 when Vincent Deslauriers fired a shot on net that went off Chevrier and in, making it 2-1.
  • At 10:28 of the second, Comeau's first QMJHL goal made it 3-1 Sea Dogs. The defenceman fired a shot through a screen that beat Samuel upstairs.
  • Spencer Smallman nearly made it 4-1 Sea Dogs five minutes into the third but hit the crossbar.
  • Martel scored on a power play at 7:01, firing a knuckler (or something) from the slot and under the arm or D'Orio. That made it 3-2.
  • Bourque got Saint John's two-goal lead back at 10:33 when he blasted a shot from the line past Samuel.
  • The Drakkar quickly got back within one with another power play goal - this one from Bouchard - at 11:31.
  • Saint John finally put the game away with 28 seconds left when Joseph beat Samuel, making it a 5-3 final.
  • Joseph's goal extended his point streak to a franchise record setting 23 games. He passed Zack Phillips who held the previous record of 22.
  • Joseph took two minor penalties in the first period while Thomas Chabot took two in the third.
  • Imama's goals ended a four-game goalless drought. He also retook the team goal scoring lead with 29.
  • Imama now has seven multi-goal games this season.
  • Joseph is now tied for fifth all-time in Sea Dogs franchise goal scoring with 83.
  • With two helpers, Matthew Highmore is now second in franchise assists with 145. He is just eight back of Jonathan Huberdeau for the franchise lead.
  • The Sea Dogs have now won three straight games.
  • Solid crowd of 4,465 in the house for this one.
  • Saint John doesn't play at Harbour Station again until Feb.10.

Saturday, January 21, 2017

Game Day 45: vs Drakkar

The Saint John Sea Dogs (28-12-3-1, 1st Maritimes, 3rd QMJHL) are back in action tonight when they host the Baie-Comeau Drakkar (16-21-3-3, 6th East, 17th QMJHL) at 7 p.m. at Harbour Station.

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

Last games: The Sea Dogs are coming off a 1-0 victory over the Chicoutimi Sagueneens last night at Harbour Station. Mathieu Joseph scored Saint John's lone goal while Callum Booth made 22 saves in the shutout win. The Drakkar are coming off a 7-4 win in Halifax last night. Jordan Martel scored twice for the Drakkar while singles came from Simon Chevrier, D'Artagnan Joly, Jean-Simon Belanger, Christopher Benoit and Ivan Chekhovich. Justin Blanchette made 36 saves in the win.

2016-17 head-to-head: This is the first meeting of the season between the two. They meet again on Feb. 19 in Baie-Comeau.

2015-16 head-to-head: The Sea Dogs were 1-1-0-0 against the Drakkar last season while Baie-Comeau went 1-1-0-0 against Saint John.

Last meeting: Feb. 13, 2016 at Harbour Station where the Sea Dogs defeated the Drakkar 5-1. Adam Marsh had two goals for Saint John while singles came from Spencer Smallman, Mathieu Joseph and Sam Povorozniouk. Matt Jones scored for Baie-Comeau. Alex Bishop made 27 saves in the win. Antoine Samuel made 37 saves in the loss.

Ex-Sea Dogs on the Drakkar: None.

Random stat: Despite putting up seven last night in Halifax, the Drakkar have scored the fourth fewest goals in the QMJHL this season (129).

Friday, January 20, 2017

RECAP: Sea Dogs win 1-0

FINAL: Chicoutimi 0, Saint John 1
SAINT JOHN - Mathieu Joseph's second period goal was all the Saint John Sea Dogs needed in a 1-0 victory over the Chicoutimi Sagueneens on Friday night at Harbour Station.

The goal gives Joseph points in 22 straight games, which is the longest streak in the QMJHL this season and also ties a Sea Dogs franchise record. Zack Phillips had points in 22 straight contests during the 2011-12 season.

Callum Booth earned his first shutout as a Sea Dog, making 22 saves in the win.

Xavier Potvin had a strong game in the Chicoutimi net, making 33 saves in the loss.

To the notes...
  • Chicoutimi's Zachary Lavigne had a good shorthanded chance early but hit the outside of the post. Late in the period, Matthew Highmore fired a shot from a sharp angle that beat Potvin but not the post.
  • Less than a minute into the second period, Bokondji Imama had a great chance but wired his shot off the crossbar.
  • At 8:21, Thomas Chabot fed Joseph who broke in past the Chicoutimi defence and beat Potvin blocker side to make it 1-0 Saint John.
  • The Sea Dogs had a lengthy five-on-three power play in the second but could not score.
  • Both teams applied pressure at moments in the third period but could not connect. Saint John was the better team late, and when Frederic Allard slashed Joseph with 1:40 to play, that basically ended the game.
  • Both Nathan Noel and Samuel Dove-McFalls returned from upper body injuries. Chabot was also back in Saint John's lineup after being given Tuesday's game off.
  • Imama has not scored in four straight games.
  • Chabot now has assists in seven straight home games.
  • Highmore's 11-game home point streak came to an end.
  • German Rubtsov, a Philadelphia Flyers first-rounder and a member of Team Russia at the world juniors, appeared in his second career QMJHL game.
  • The game featured 14 NHL drafted players, including four Carolina Hurricanes prospects.
  • Former NHLer Glenn “Chico” Resch was in the house for Faith and Family Night.
  • The Sea Dogs and Sagueneens meet again on Feb. 18 in Chicoutimi. 

Game Day 44: vs Sagueneens

The Chicoutimi Sagueneens (23-18-2-1, 3rd East, 9th QMJHL) make their lone regular season visit to Harbour Station tonight, taking on the Saint John Sea Dogs (27-12-3-1, 1st Maritimes, 3rd QMJHL) at 7 p.m.

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

Last games: The Sea Dogs are coming off a 7-2 win over the Moncton Wildcats on Tuesday at Harbour Station. Spencer Smallman and Samuel Leblanc each scored twice while singles came from Julien Gauthier, Matt Green and Cole Reginato. Callum Booth made 18 saves in the win. The Sagueneens are coming off a 4-3 shootout win in Halifax last night. Nicolas Roy scored twice while Frederic Allard added a solo marker. Julio Billia made 23 saves in the win.

2016-17 head-to-head: This is the first meeting of the season between the Sea Dogs and Sagueneens. They meet again on Feb. 18 in Chicoutimi.

2015-16 head-to-head: The Sea Dogs were 2-0-0-0 against the Sagueneens last season while Chicoutimi went 0-0-1-1 against Saint John.

Last meeting: Feb. 14, 2016 at Harbour Station where the Sea Dogs defeated the Sagueneens 6-5 in overtime. Sam Povorozniouk and Samuel Dove-McFalls each scored twice for Saint John while singles came from Spencer Smallman and Mathieu Joseph. Nicolas Roy, Antoine Marcoux, Dmitry Zhukenov, Taylor Cooper and Mark Bzowey scored for Chicoutimi. Marc-Antoine Turcotte made 15 saves in the win. Xavier Potvin made 37 stops in the loss.

Ex-Sea Dogs on the Sagueneens: None.

Random stat: This game could feature four Carolina Hurricanes prospects: Nicolas Roy of the Sagueneens and Julien Gauthier, Spencer Smallman and Callum Booth of the Sea Dogs.

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Thursday notes: Joseph's streak still going

After returning to the Saint John Sea Dogs from the World Junior Hockey Championship, Mathieu Joseph picked up right where he left off.

Joseph's final game with the Sea Dogs before departing for Team Canada camp was on Dec. 8, leaving with an 18-game point streak. The Tampa Bay Lightning prospect has points in all three games since his return, giving him a goal or an assist in 21 consecutive contests.

If Joseph can get a point on Friday night against the Chicoutimi Sagueneens, he'll have the longest point streak in the QMJHL this year, surpassing Filip Chlapik and Francois Beauchemin.
Joseph has collected 36 of his 52 points during the streak.

Joseph's point streak is the second longest in Sea Dogs history. The longest belongs to Zack Phillips, who had points in 22 consecutive matches in 2011-12 - a record Joseph can tie on Friday.
Game time on Friday is 7 p.m. at Harbour Station.

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Pare, D'Orio make Central Scouting midterm rankings

Two Saint John Sea Dogs cracked NHL Central Scouting's midterm rankings for the 2017 draft, which were released Tuesday afternoon.

Forward Cedric Pare was ranked 203rd amongst North American skaters while Alex D'Orio was ranked eighth amongst North American goaltenders.

Both Pare and D'Orio were first round picks of the Sea Dogs in the 2015 QMJHL Entry Draft and are in their first full seasons with the club.

Pare has five goals and eight assists in 42 games with Saint John this season. D'Orio, meanwhile, has put up some of the QMJHL's best goaltending numbers with a 13-1-0-1 record to go along with a 2.31 goals against average and a .902 save percentage.

D'Orio will take part in the CHL/NHL Top Prospects Game in Quebec City later this month.

Sea Dogs prospect Shane Bowers was ranked 13th by Central Scouting. Saint John draft picks Ben Mirageas (48th) and Morgan Barron (88th) were also ranked. Bowers is committed to Boston University (2017-18), Mirageas to Providence College (2018-19) and Barron to Cornell University (2017-18).

Charlottetown Islanders defenceman Pierre-Olivier Joseph, the brother of Mathieu Joseph, was ranked 42nd.

The 2017 NHL Draft takes place June 23-24 in Chicago.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

RECAP: Sea Dogs win 7-2

FINAL: Moncton 2, Saint John 7
By Kevin Chambers | SN Staff

SAINT JOHN – The Saint John Sea Dogs scored early and never look back as they cruised to a 7-2 victory over the Moncton Wildcats on Tuesday night at Harbour Station.

The goal scorers for the Sea Dogs were Samuel Leblanc (two), Spencer Smallman (two), Julien Gauthier, Matt Green and Cole Reginato. Callum Booth picked up the win, stopping 18 shots.

Replying for the Wildcats were Axel Simic and Adam Capannelli. Taking the loss was Dominik Tmej who stopped six of the nine shots he faced before being relieved by Matthew Waite, who stopped 31 of 35 shots sent his way.

To the notes…

  • The Sea Dogs got on the board first just 54 seconds into the game as Smallman was able to tap a loose puck past Tmej.
  • Leblanc made it 2-0 at 5:03 of the opening period. After catching a nice pass from Jakub Zboril, he was able to break in and wrist a shot past Tmej.
  • The Sea Dogs wouldn’t take long to make it 3-0 as Gauthier tapped home another rebound at 5:52, which ended the night for Tmej. Waite would come in to take over the reigns.
  • Simic would get the Wildcats on the board at 15:12 of the first period, one timing a shot past Booth.
  • The Sea Dogs would get the goal right back as Green deked to his backhand and slid a shot past Waite at 15:46, extending the lead to 4-1 for the Dogs.
  • Smallman picked up his second of the game on a power play at 11:35 of the second to make it 5-1.
  • Reginato would get in on the scoring summary at 9:57 of the third when he turned and fired a loose puck in the slot past Waite. That made it 6-1.
  • Leblanc was awarded a penalty shot at 10:28 and he would make no mistake, wristing a shot over the glove of Waite for his second of the game.
  • Capannelli would pick up another power play goal at 15:14 - almost a carbon copy of the first Wildcat goal - on a feed from behind the net.
  • The late start for tonight’s game (8 p.m.) due Rogers TV's commitment to broadcast… Bingo!
  • Mathieu Joseph extended his point to 21 games, tying the league high for this season.

Game Day 43: vs Wildcats

The Saint John Sea Dogs (26-12-3-1. 1st Maritimes, 3rd QMJHL) continue their four-game homestand tonight when they host the Moncton Wildcats (13-27-2-0, 6th Maritimes, 18th QMJHL) at 8 p.m.

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

Last games: The Sea Dogs are coming off a wild 7-6 loss to the Cape Breton Screaming Eagles on Monday. Matthew Highmore, Joe Veleno, Alexandre Bernier, Julien Gauthier, Samuel Dove-McFalls and Mathieu Joseph all scored in the loss. Alex D'Orio was pulled after allowing five goals on 23 shots. Callum Booth allowed two on seven shots in relief. The Wildcats are coming off a 3-2 overtime loss to the Drummondville Voltigeurs at the Coliseum on Saturday. Louis-Philip Fortin and Jeremy McKenna scored for Moncton. Dominik Tmej made 34 saves in the loss.

2016-17 head-to-head: The Sea Dogs are 4-1-0-1 against the Wildcats this season while Moncton is 2-4-0-0 against Saint John.

Last meeting: Dec. 30 at the Moncton Coliseum where the Sea Dogs defeated the Wildcats 7-2. Bokondji Imama had a hat trick for Saint John while singles came from Joe Veleno, Ian Smallwood, Cole Reginato and Kyle Ward. Moncton goals came from Liam Murphy and Simon Le Coultre. Alex D'Orio made 19 saves in the win. Matthew Waite made 34 saves in the loss.

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

Random stat: Bokondji Imama has five goals and an assist in six games against the Wildcats this season.

Monday, January 16, 2017

Alumdate: Former Dogs in the QMJHL

Luke Green is off to a good start with the Sherbrooke Phoenix.

Green, traded by Saint John to Sherbrooke during the holiday trade period, has 11 assists in his first nine games with the Phoenix. The 19-year-old defenceman had two goals and 15 points in 27 games with Saint John in the first half.

With the Sea Dogs being so active during the holiday trading period, there are even more alumni playing throughout the QMJHL (and OHL).

Although not traded this year, the play of former Dog Dawson Theede is quite notable. The 19-year-old forward had three goals and four assists in 49 games with Saint John and Bathurst in 2015-16. This year he has found his scoring touch, posting 20 goals and 16 assists in 41 games with the Titan.

Here's a look at how former Sea Dogs have performed in the CHL this season (let us know if we forgot someone):

PlayerTeamGPGoalsAssistsPoints
Dawson TheedeBAT41201636
Daniel Del PaggioSJ/GAT41102434
Olivier LeBlancCAP4272734
Luke GreenSJ/SHE3622426
Jason BellVDO3821517
Adam MarshVDO/CHA196814
Will ThompsonCHA/GAT4021113
Julien TessierCHI/MON13347
Jack Van Boekel*VDO36066
Nico BlachmanRIM18325
Austin ClaphamNIA25044
Olivier MathieuSJ/QUE13123
Vincent MartineauSJ/RIM25033

PlayerTeamW-LGAASV%
Blade Mann-DixonCHA/HAL12-72.84.910
Alex BishopSJ/QUE/VDO12-92.87.889
*No longer in league

Sunday, January 15, 2017

RECAP: Sea Dogs lose 7-6

FINAL: Cape Breton 7, Saint John 6
SAINT JOHN - The coaching staffs may not have liked it, but the Saint John Sea Dogs and Cape Breton Screaming Eagles played a very entertaining, back-and-forth hockey game on Sunday afternoon at Harbour Station.

Unfortunately for the Sea Dogs, they came out on the losing end of the high-scoring affair, falling 7-6 to the Screaming Eagles.

Giovanni Fiore, the league's leading goal scorer, netted a natural hat trick in the second period. Drake Batherson, Olivier LeBlanc, Adam McCormick and Declan Smith also scored for Cape Breton. Kevin Mandolese made 32 saves in the victory.

Saint John goals came from Matthew Highmore, Joe Veleno, Alexandre Bernier, Julien Gauthier, Samuel Dove-McFalls and Mathieu Joseph. Alex D'Orio was pulled after allowing five goals on 23 shots through the first two periods. Callum Booth allowed two goals on seven shots in relief.

To the notes...
  • Just like on Friday night in Sydney, Batherson got the scoring started. On a two-on-one, Mathias Laferriere fed Batherson who made a move to his backhand and beat D'Orio, making it 1-0 Eagles at 9:21.
  • Tyler Hylland scored a few minutes later, but the goal was immediately called off due to a high stick deflection.
  • Thomas Chabot had a rare shorthanded breakaway chance in the first period but could not score.
  • Just eight seconds into the second period, Highmore carried the puck into the zone and fired an innocent looking wrist shot on net that snuck through Mandolese's pads and in, tying the game at 1-1.
  • LeBlanc put Cape Breton back in front with a power play goal at 7:11, beating D'Orio with a wrist shot.
  • Veleno tied the game with a shorthanded goal at 10:00, going in all alone and beating Mandolese with a nice move.
  • Bernier put Saint John in front, 3-2, just 59 seconds later. With some bodies in front of the net, Bernier fired a shot that got past Mandolese and just over the goal line.
  • Fiore tied the game at 3-3 at 15:45, netting his league high 33rd of the year.
  • Fiore scored again at 16:25, this time on a delayed penalty call. The puck came to Fiore in front and he beat D'Orio with a quick shot, making it 4-3 Cape Breton.
  • Fiore completed a natural hat trick at 19:17, putting Cape Breton in front 5-3.
  • Saint John quickly got back within one at 19:51. Joseph carried the puck into the zone and fed Gauthier who fired a shot high glove side on Mandolese.
  • Booth replaced D'Orio in the Sea Dogs net to start the third period. The five goal total D'Orio allowed was the most of his QMJHL career.
  • Dove-McFalls tied the game at 5-5 at 6:00 of the third, cutting into the crease area and sliding the puck past Mandolese.
  • The Eagles went up 6-5 at 7:59. After Booth stopped Fiore, McCormick beat the Sea Dogs netminder to regain the lead.
  • Then at 10:52, Payton Hoyt fed Smith through the crease. The former Dogs prospect beat Booth, making it 7-5 Eagles.
  • Saint John, once again, got back within one at 14:17 as Joseph was able to jam the puck past Mandolese. That made it 7-6.
  • The Sea Dogs pulled Booth with 1:25 left but Saint John had a difficult time keeping the puck in the offensive zone. Gauthier had a chance in the dying seconds but was stopped.
  • There was a ceremony before the game honouring all of Saint John's international participants from the past few months.
  • Some good news: Saint John scored six goals, five of which were at even strength or shorthanded. 
  • Saint John has scored a league high 14 shorthanded goals.
  • Joseph extended his point streak to 20 games, which is the longest active streak in the QMJHL. The longest streaks in the league this season have been 21 games, done by Filip Chlapik and Francois Beauchemin. The longest point streak in Sea Dogs history belongs to Zack Phillips at 22 games.
  • Joseph also has goals in seven straight home games.
  • Highmore now has points in 10 straight home games.
  • Fiore has goals in seven straight road games.
  • Happy birthday shout out to Tim Roszell.

Game Day 42: vs Screaming Eagles

The Saint John Sea Dogs (26-11-3-1, 1st Maritimes, 3rd QMJHL) begin a four-game homestand tonight against the Cape Breton Screaming Eagles (24-17-2-1, 3rd Maritimes, 6th QMJHL). Game time is 3 p.m. at Harbour Station.

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

Last games: The Sea Dogs and Screaming Eagles met on Friday night at Centre 200. Matthew Highmore had a pair of goals for Saint John while singles came from Joe Veleno and Julien Gauthier. Drake Batherson had Cape Breton's lone goal. Callum Booth made 20 saves in the win. Kyle Jessiman made 29 stops in the loss.

2016-17 head-to-head: Saint John is 4-1-0-0 against Cape Breton this season while the Screaming Eagles are 1-4-0-0 against the Sea Dogs.

Last meeting: See above.

Ex-Sea Dogs on the Screaming Eagles: Defenceman Olivier LeBlanc.

Random stat: Mathieu Joseph is on a 19-game point streak, the longest active streak in the league. There have been two 21-game point streaks in the QMJHL this year.

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Saturday notes: Veleno good at hockey

WATERLOO, Ont. - Nolan Patrick made a triumphant return to the Brandon Wheat Kings lineup on Friday night, recording two goals and two assists.

The 2017 NHL Draft's top prospect has played in just seven games this season due to injury. Last night was his first game action since Oct. 11.

Despite missing so much time - and despite Halifax Mooseheads import Nico Hischier having a strong first half and World Junior tournament - Patrick is still projected to go first overall.
Like Patrick, Saint John's Joe Veleno has missed much of his season due to injury. Despite missing a lot of time, Veleno, who turned 17 yesterday, is having a good campaign with the Sea Dogs, recording four goals and 13 assists in 18 games. He has been held pointless in just five of those games.

Following Saint John's Oct. 21 game, Veleno didn't play again until Dec. 17. He quickly found his game though and has registered three goals and seven assists in the nine games following his return.

Averaging just under a point-per-game, Veleno's strong numbers have gone under the radar on a stacked Sea Dogs team - and that's probably an okay thing since there will be plenty of attention on him next season, which is his draft year.

During a World Junior broadcast last month, TSN's Bob McKenzie mentioned that Veleno is in the conversation for the first overall pick in 2018. Elite Prospects has a list of players categorized as top prospects for next year's draft, which, along with Veleno, features local talent Anderson MacDonald of the Sherbrooke Phoenix and Halifax rookies Benoit-Olivier Groulx and Jared McIsaac.

RECAP: Sea Dogs win 4-1

FINAL: Saint John 4, Cape Breton 1
SYDNEY - The new-look Saint John Sea Dogs looked pretty good on Friday night.

Matthew Highmore scored twice while Joe Veleno and Julien Gauthier added singles in a 4-1 victory over the Cape Breton Screaming Eagles at Centre 200. Callum Booth made 20 saves in the win.

Gauthier, along with Team Canada teammates Thomas Chabot and Mathieu Joseph, joined the rest of the Sea Dogs' stacked post-deadline lineup for the first time. The team looked decent, scoring three quick goals in the third period to secure the win.

While the new and returning players took a lot of the spotlight, it was fifth-year forward Highmore that once again led the Dogs to victory, recording three points and eight shots.

Drake Batherson scored Cape Breton's lone goal. Kyle Jessiman made 29 saves in the loss.

To the notes...
  • Batherson opened the scoring at 8:24, firing a wrist shot from the circle that beat Booth up high.
  • The Sea Dogs quickly tied the game at 1-1 at 10:20. On a power play, Joseph sent a perfect pass to Highmore who had an open net to get Saint John on the board.
  • Dove-McFalls and Highmore both had great shorthanded chances in the first period.
  • There was no scoring in a second period that saw the two teams combine for just 10 shots.
  • At 5:07 of the third, Oliver Felixson - of all people - delivered a nice pass to Veleno who netted his fourth of the year to put Saint John in front.
  • Then at 6:20, Gauthier scored his first as a Sea Dog, beating Jessiman from a sharp angle.
  • The Sea Dogs weren't done there. At 9:52, Highmore scored a bit of a strange one straight off a faceoff, making it 4-1.
  • The Eagles pulled Jessiman with roughly a million hours left in the game but couldn't score.
  • Chabot and Joseph made their returns to the Sea Dogs lineup while Gauthier made his debut. Gauthier and Joseph played on the team's top line with Highmore up the middle. Chabot was on the top pairing with Simon Bourque.
  • Gauthier recorded his first point as a Sea Dog in the first period, assisting on Highmore's goal.
  • Matt Green made his return to the Saint John lineup, playing in his first contest since Nov. 12.
  • Veleno celebrated his 17th birthday by centering the team's second line.
  • The Screaming Eagles held a pre-game ceremony to honour Chabot, Joseph and Gauthier for their performance with Team Canada.
  • Saint John's top power play unit consisted of Joseph, Gauthier, Chabot, Highmore and Spencer Smallman. My goodness!
  • Joseph extended his point streak to 19 games.
  • Bourque took two minor penalties in the first period while Saint John was called for too many men twice in the second period.
  • Highmore moved into third in Sea Dogs franchise scoring.
  • Good crowd of 3,093 at this game.

Friday, January 13, 2017

Game Day 41 - at Cape Breton

The Saint John Sea Dogs (25-11-3-1, 1st Maritimes, 2nd QMJHL) are on the road in Sydney tonight to take on the Cape Breton Screaming Eagles (24-16-2-1, 2nd Maritimes, 5th QMJHL) at 7 p.m.

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

Last games: The Sea Dogs are coming off a 2-1 home win over the Halifax Mooseheads on Sunday. Samuel Dove-McFalls and Bokondji Imama scored for Saint John while Callum Booth made 20 saves in the victory. The Screaming Eagles are coming off a 7-3 win over the Drummondville Voltigeurs on Wednesday at Centre 200. Vasily Glotov had two goals for Cape Breton while singles came courtesy of Massimo Carozza, Logan O'Neil, Jordan Ty Fournier, Sacha Roy and Olivier LeBlanc. Kevin Mandolese made 32 saves in the victory.

2016-17 head-to-head: The Sea Dogs are 3-1-0-0 against the Screaming Eagles this season while Cape Breton is 1-3-0-0 against Saint John.

Last meeting: Jan. 4 at Harbour Station where the Screaming Eagles defeated the Sea Dogs 6-3. Massimo Carozza had a hat trick for Cape Breton, Phelix Martineau scored twice and Giovanni Fiore added a solo marker. Matthew Highmore, Nathan Noel and Joe Veleno scored for Saint John. Kevin Mandolese made 32 saves in the win. Callum Booth allowed five goals on 24 shots before getting replaced by Alex D'Orio, who stopped all four shots he faced.

Ex-Sea Dogs on the Screaming Eagles: Defenceman Olivier LeBlanc.

Random stat: The Screaming Eagles have been one of the league's best home teams this season, going 14-4-2-1 at Centre 200 and outscoring opponents 85-67. They enter tonight's contest on a six-game home winning streak.

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Thursday notes: Dogs in Sydney

The Saint John Sea Dogs are set to play the first game of a home-and-home series with the Cape Breton Screaming Eagles on Friday night at Centre 200.

The second game of the two-game set will take place on Sunday at 3 p.m. at Harbour Station.

The Sea Dogs have had success against Cape Breton this season, going 3-1-0-0.

While the Screaming Eagles were classified as sellers during the trade period (notably dealing Team Canada's Pierre-Luc Dubois to the Blainville-Boisbriand Armada), the team still has a respectable lineup, including former Sea Dogs defenceman Olivier LeBlanc and ex-Dogs prospect Declan Smith. The Eagles could very much cause some upsets down the stretch, currently sitting second in the Maritimes Division.

Giovanni Fiore is also still with the Eagles post-deadline. The 20-year-old has 32 goals in 36 games to lead the league.

While it's not official, it appears the Sea Dogs will welcome back Thomas Chabot and Mathieu Joseph and welcome Julien Gauthier to the team's lineup on Friday. There are still some injuries, but Saint John is inching closer to having its full lineup in place (knock on wood).

Some other notes...
  • Over at Sportsnet, Sam Cosentino lists the Sea Dogs as one of the things to watch in the CHL's second half. Cosentino writes that Saint John president and general manager Trevor "Georgie has been very active in the trade market and owner Scott McCain feels he has one of the brightest young hockey minds in the business." 
  • Cataractes beat writer Steve Turcotte ranks the top teams in the QMJHL post-deadline.
  • Former Sea Dogs defenceman Jack Van Boekel has indeed left the Val-d'Or Foreurs to join the LaSalle Vipers of the GOJHL. “He’s a big body that defends extremely well,” Vipers head coach Bill Bowler told the Windsor Star.
  • The Charlottetown Islanders have picked up just one point in three games since loading up at the deadline. It's early, but it's not the start they wanted. They are four points back of Saint John for the Maritimes Division lead.
  • With the Mooseheads, Blade Mann-Dixon is now 3-2 with a 1.97 GAA and .946 SV%. That is quite good.
  • The Sea Dogs will be hosting Faith and Family Night on Jan. 20.

Three Dogs draft picks appear in USHL Top Prospects Game

Three Saint John Sea Dogs prospects recently took part in the USHL/NHL Top Prospects Game.

Like the CHL/NHL Top Prospects Game, the the game featured the best draft eligible prospects from around the league.

Despite not recording a point, Shane Bowers of the Waterloo Black Hawks was one of the stars of the show. According to NHL.com, Bowers was the lone A-rated prospect (going by NHL Central Scouting's rankings) to play in the game.

From NHL.com:

"He is a difference maker because he is a highly skilled power forward who has an excellent work ethic," Central Scouting's David Gregory said. "He handles the puck very well and is an effective passer. He plays a power-forward game and can create turnovers and scoring chances using his size and strength. He has deceiving speed when carrying the puck on the attack. When combining this with his work ethic and puck skills he can have an impact on every shift and projects very well as a NHL prospect."

Bowers, who has 10 goals and 12 assists in 30 games in his second USHL season, is projected to be a mid to late first-round pick in the 2017 NHL Draft. He was a second-round pick of the Sea Dogs in the 2016 QMJHL Entry Draft. He is committed to Boston University for next season.

17-year-old defenceman Ben Mirageas, a ninth-round pick of Saint John in the 2015 draft, was also held pointless in the game. He has seven assists in 29 games with the Bloomington Thunder this season, his first full year in the USHL.

Mirageas is committed to Providence College for 2018-19.

Lastly, 17-year-old forward Marc McLaughlin, a sixth-round pick of Saint John in 2015, took part in the game and was held pointless as well. A Boston College commit for 2018-19, McLaughlin has one goal and four assists in 31 games with the Cedar Rapids RoughRiders this year.

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Tuesday notes: Aces acquire Lafreniere

Alexandre Lafreniere is on the move in the Maritime Hockey League.

On Monday, the St. Stephen Aces announced that they had acquired the Saint John Sea Dogs prospect from the Amherst Ramblers in exchange for a 2017 fifth-round pick and Pierre Bourgoin.

Lafreniere had five goals and 10 assists in 18 games with the Woodstock Slammers this season, according to Elite Prospects, and was pointless in four games with the Ramblers. He has played in 13 games with Saint John this year, recording one goal and two assists.

The 17-year-old forward will be reunited with fellow Sea Dogs prospect Ben Reid in St. Stephen. The two were linemates during the Saint John Vito's Telus Cup run in 2015-16.

“Alex is a dynamic young player who has a huge upside,” Aces head coach and general manager Josh Hepditch said in an article on the team's website.

Meanwhile, defenceman David Comeau, who is sticking with the Sea Dogs for the remainder of the season, had his MHL rights traded from Woodstock to Miramichi.

MHL trades can be tracked here. The trade deadline is tonight (Jan. 10) at 10 p.m.

Monday, January 9, 2017

Highmore nearing Sea Dogs history

Records are meant to be broken, they say. Some Saint John Sea Dogs records could soon be broken, says the numbers.

Matthew Highmore recorded his 218th career point as a Sea Dog on Sunday, giving him sole possession of fourth place in franchise all-time scoring. He'll now doubt pass Zack Phillips, who sits third with 219 career points, soon.

But how much higher could Highmore get on the list? Could Highmore become Highmost (oh yeah, I wrote that)?

Jonathan Huberdeau is Saint John's franchise points leader with 257. Michael Kirkpatrick is second with 251.
To surpass Huberdeau, Highmore would need to finish the year with 100 points. He currently has 60 with 28 games left to play. It's certainly doable, especially with Saint John's loaded offence.

Highmore would become just the second player in Sea Dogs history to reach the 100-point mark in a single season. Huberdeau scored 105 in 2010-11, which is the franchise record.

Sunday, January 8, 2017

RECAP: Sea Dogs win 2-1

FINAL: Halifax 1, Saint John 2
Lorne Webster | SN Staff Writer 

SAINT JOHN – Callum Booth came up with his best game as a Sea Dog to lead Saint John to a 2-1 over the Halifax Mooseheads in a goaltending duel at Harbour Station Sunday afternoon.

The win resulted in a split of the home-and-home series between the two Maritimes Division rivals. Booth turned in a 20-save performance, while Mooseheads rookie Alexis Gravel turned aside 32 shots in defeat.

Samuel Dove-McFalls and Bokondji Imama scored for the hosts while Maxime Fortier replied for the visitors.

NOTES
  • Dove-McFalls opened the scoring, while shorthanded at 2:45 of the first, when he intercepted a pass in his own zone, chipped the puck past a defender, broke away and - after faking a deke - snapped the puck to the top corner over Gravel's glove.
  • The Mooseheads got in the board at 10:09 of the second when Fortier stole the puck in the neutral zone, skated to the slot and - using a defender as a screen - fired a quick snap shot that found its way through Booth's legs.
  • Only 38 seconds into the third period, the Sea Dogs regained the lead. Joe Veleno created a turnover near the Mooseheads' goal which allowed Matthew Highmore to slip the puck to Imama in the slot. The Sea Dogs' leading goal scorer fired a bullet to the top shelf.
  • It was generally a rough and tumble affair between two tired teams - each of whom were playing their third game in three days. The Sea Dogs and Mooseheads were assessed 60 minutes in penalties (30 each), not counting misconduct penalties. 
  • With seven Sea Dogs out of the lineup, Matthew Pietroniro made his QMJHL regular season debut for Saint John. The rookie from the Lac St. Louis Lions Midget AAA program was acquired from the Quebec Remparts in the same trade as Callum Booth.
  • The Sea Dogs announced earlier in the day that defenceman Bryson Michel had been reassigned to the OJHL. Also, defenceman David Comeau is going to remain with the team through the end of the season.
  • Mooseheads import star Nico Hischier was given the day off to rest after the heavy workload he carried for Team Switzerland at the recent World Juniors.
  • For those keeping count, here are the point totals of the Sea Dogs who played in the World Juniors: Thomas Chabot (Canada) - 10; Julien Gauthier (Canada) - 7; Mathieu Joseph (Canada) - 5; Jalub Zboril (Czech Republic) - 4.

Dogs make moves on backend


The Saint John Sea Dogs announced this morning that defenceman David Comeau will stay with the club through the end of the season.

Comeau, who was acquired by the Sea Dogs from the Victoriaville Tigres on Dec. 28 in exchange for a 2018 11th-round pick, has one assist in five games with Saint John.

The 19-year-old has spent most of the season with the MHL's Woodstock Slammers, recording three goals and 11 assists in 26 games. He also appeared in five games with the Tigres.

“David earned his way onto our hockey club with a strong work ethic and solid play in his brief time with us,” said Sea Dogs president and general manager Trevor Georgie in a press release. “He provides much-needed depth to our blueline and we’re happy to have him stay in Saint John this season.”

Comeau, a Fredericton native, has appeared in 36 career QMJHL games, most of which were with the Charlottetown Islanders.

The Sea Dogs also announced that 17-year-old defenceman Bryson Michel has been reassigned to the Wellington Dukes of the OJHL.
Michel, who was the only rookie on the Sea Dogs' backend, has appeared in just 13 games with Saint John after signing with the club in September. When playing, he was often the teams seventh defenceman.

According to the Sea Dogs, Michel will remain on the Sea Dogs' 55-man roster.

The moves leave eight defenceman on Saint John's active roster. Thomas Chabot is expected to rejoin the team next week while Chase Stewart is still recovering from an upper body injury.

Saint John takes on the Halifax Mooseheads this afternoon at 3 p.m. at Harbour Station.

Game Day 40: vs Mooseheads

The Saint John Sea Dogs (24-11-3-1, 1st Maritimes, 2nd QMJHL) look to avenge yesterday's loss in Halifax this afternoon against the Mooseheads (18-18-1-2, 5th Maritimes, 12th QMJHL). Game time is 3 p.m. at Harbour Station.

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

Last games: The Sea Dogs and Mooseheads met yesterday in Halifax where the Mooseheads defeated the Sea Dogs 4-1. Otto Somppi, Maxime Fortier, Frederic Aube and Nico Hischier all scored for Halifax. Spencer Smallman had Saint John's lone goal. Blade Mann-Dixon was sensational in the Halifax crease, making 46 saves in the win. Callum Booth made 13 saves in the loss.

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

Last meeting: Yesterday. See above.

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

Random stat: The very talented Nico Hischier has one goal and two assists in two games against Saint John this season.

Saturday, January 7, 2017

RECAP: Sea Dogs lose 4-1

FINAL: Saint John 1, Halifax 4
Lorne Webster | SN Staff Writer 

HALIFAX – It was "The Blade-Mann Dixon Show" on Saturday as the diminutive goaltender led the Halifax Moosheads to a 4-1 victory over the Saint John Sea Dogs in a nationally televised game from the Scotiabank Centre.

Mann-Dixon turned aside 46 of 47 shots to earn the win. Otto Somppi, Maxime Fortier, Frederic Aube and Nico Hischier all scored for the Mooseheads. Spencer Smallman was the only Sea Dog able to beat Mann-Dixon on this day. Callum Booth had 13 saves for Saint John.

NOTES
  • While shorthanded early in the first, Smallman found Matthew Highmore all alone in front of Mann-Dixon but Highmore's backhander slid past the right post.
  • The Mooseheads would strike first at 5:05 when Somppi deflected a point shot past Booth. 
  • Just 1:14 later, a turnover inside the Mooseheads zone went to Hischier who broke down the left side and wired a wrist shot. The rebound of Booth's toe save went to Fortier - who made no mistake in ripping the puck into the open cage. 
  • Danny Flynn called a time out immediately after Fortier's goal to regroup his squad. While the Sea Dogs responded very well, Mann-Dixon did his best brick wall impression to keep the game 2-0 with a 15-save first period performance.
  • The Sea Dogs got on the board at 1:37 of the second period - seconds after Booth made a big save - when Smallman broke down the left wing and fired a bullet over Mann-Dixon's shoulder.
  • Aube restored Halifax's two-goal lead at 8:26 as his shot from the side wall caromed off something in front of Booth and bounced just over the goal line.
  • The Sea Dogs dominated the third period with 19 shots on goal but they could not find a crack in the Mann-Dixon wall. In fact, Halifax's lone shot on goal in the final frame was not until the 18:03 mark, when Hischier stole the puck in the neutral zone and lofted a shot into an empty net.
  • Fortier and Hirchier have combined for the most points by a pair of line mates in the QMJHL thus far this season. Mathieu Joseph and Highmore are second in that category. 
  • A Sportsnet reporter spoke with David 'DK' Kelly about the large following around of the world for #TeamDK. DK mentioned that he is still recovering after 20 rounds of radiation but he hopes to return to the Sea Dogs bench in early February.

Saturday notes: Auger makes FISU team

MONTREAL - Former Saint John Sea Dogs goaltender Sebastien Auger has been named to the team that will represent Canada at the upcoming FISU Winter Universiade in Almaty, Kazakhstan.

Auger and former London Knight Kevin Bailie will make up Canada's goaltending tandem for the tournament, which will open on Jan. 30 with Canada taking on the United States.

Auger is 8-3 with a 2.49 GAA and .927 SV% with the UQTR Patriotes this season.

The team is made up entirely of OUA players. Former Dogs defenceman David Weckworth, now with the Carleton Ravens, was invited to the Canadian camp but did not make the team.

Former Sea Dog Michael Kirkpatrick helped Canada win gold at the 2013 Winter Universiade.

Some other notes...
  • Speaking of former Sea Dogs goaltenders, Marc-Antoine Turcotte made his debut with the OUA's Concordia Stingers this past week. He had a game to forget last night against the University of Toronto though, allowing three goals on six shots in the first period.
  • According to a Quebec newspaper report, the Sea Dogs inquired about acquiring Olympiques import forward Vitalii Abramov. The 18-year-old Columbus Blue Jackets prospect has 28 goals and 56 points in 37 games with Gatineau this season.
  • According to another report, the Sea Dogs tried to acquire 19-year-old forward Samuel Laberge from the Rimouski Oceanic right up until the deadline. Now the captain of the Oceanic, Laberge has 10 goals and 23 points in 19 games.
  • From CHL stats man Geoffrey Brandow on Twitter: Alex D'Orio improves to 5-0 in last five starts with a 1.00 GAA and .945 SV% rejecting 103 of 109. 
  • Saturday's Sea Dogs - Mooseheads game in Halifax will be broadcast nationally on Sportsnet and TVA Sports. Note that game time is 4 p.m. Atlantic.
  • Bokondji Imama was named Saint John's player of the month for December. Kyle Ward was named the student of the month.
  • Mike Zeisberger of the Toronto Sun had some real nice words about Mathieu Joseph's goal in Thursday's gold medal game.
  • 17-year-old forward Kallum Muirhead, an eighth-round pick of the Sea Dogs in the 2015 QMJHL Entry Draft, has been named the MHL's Rookie of the Month for December. He had seven goals and two assists in seven games with the Summerside Western Capitals.
  • This is neat:

Game Day 39: at Halifax

The Saint John Sea Dogs (24-10-3-1, 1st Maritimes, 2nd QMJHL) are in Halifax today to face the Mooseheads (17-18-1-2, 5th Maritimes, 12th QMJHL) at 4 p.m.

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

Last games: The Sea Dogs are coming off a 5-1 win over the Acadie-Bathurst Titan last night at Harbour Station. Matthew Highmore had a pair of goals while singles came from Samuel Dove-McFalls, Simon Bourque and Bokondji Imama. Alex D'Orio made 30 saves in the win. The Mooseheads are coming off a 6-2 win over the Wildcats last night at Scotiabank Centre. Frederic Aube and Nico Hischier each scored twice while Maxime Fortier and Raphael Lavoie added singles. Blade Mann-Dixon made 24 stops in the victory.

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

Last meeting: Sept. 24 in Halifax where the Mooseheads defeated the Sea Dogs 4-3. Benoit-Olivier Groulx scored twice in that game for Halifax while singles came courtesy of Cooper Jones and Arnaud Durandeau. John Warren, Gabriel Bettez and Matthew Highmore had Saint John goals. Kevin Resop made 33 saves in the win. Alex Bishop made 23 stops in the loss.

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

Random stat: This is, surprisingly, just the second meeting of the season between the Sea Dogs and Mooseheads. Including today's match, the two teams will face each other seven times between now and March 18.

RECAP: Sea Dogs win 5-1

FINAL: Bathurst 1, Saint John 5
Lorne Webster | SN Staff Writer 

SAINT JOHN – The Saint John Sea Dogs avenged a pair of recent losses to their provincial rivals from Bathurst on Friday evening at Harbour Station, posting a convincing 5-1 win over the Titan.

The win was even more impressive in light of a Sea Dogs lineup which was missing 10 players, including five who have been drafted by NHL teams (i.e. Chabot, Joseph, Gauthier, Smallman and Noel).

Matthew Highmore turned in yet another outstanding performance with two goals and one assist to lead the Sea Dogs. Bokondji Imama, Samuel Dove-McFalls and Simon Bourque added singles to the Sea Dogs tally. Joe Veleno chipped in with two assists and rookie Alex D'Orio was rock solid in goal with 30 saves.

Christophe Boivin replied for Bathurst while Reilly Pickard and Anthony Dumont-Bouchard combined to make 22 saves for the Titan.

NOTES
  • Dove-McFalls scored the opening goal, while short handed at 5:20 of the first period, when he intercepted a cross ice pass high in his own zone, broke away and rifled a wrist shot past Pickard.
  • Bourque scored his first goal as a Sea Dog - while on a power play at 8:52 - when he pinched in from the point, corralled a rebound near the goal line and snapped the puck into the top of the cage from a sharp angle.
  • Boivin brought the Titan back to within one - less than a minute later - as he crashed the net during a scramble and banged the puck past D'Orio. 
  • At 13:55 of the first, Highmore took a lead pass from Veleno, broke down the right wing and unleashed a laser to the top corner over Pickard's glove to put the hosts back in front by two.
  • Barely over three minutes later, Highmore finished off a lovely dish from Veleno with a deke to the backhand to put the Sea Dogs up 4-1 after the opening frame.
  • Dumont-Bouchard replaced Pickard to start the second period.
  • Imama moved into the team lead - one ahead of Mathieu Joseph - with his 26th goal of the season at 13:51 of the second when his thunderous wrist shot from the high slot beat Bouchard just inside the right post. 
  • The highlight of a relatively quiet third period - and the hit of the night - was a huge open ice hip check from Jakub Zboril on Dawson Theede, which sent the former Sea Dog power forward cartwheeling through the air. 
  • Highmore's three-point performance allowed him to move into a fourth place tie with Ryan Sparling on the Sea Dogs' all-time scoring list with 217 points. Also - per a tweet on Friday from David ('DK') Kelly - with the passing of the trade deadline, Highmore and captain Spencer Smallman have joined Mike Thomas as the only players in Sea Dog history to play their full five-year QMJHL careers in Saint John. 
  • Jakub Zboril returned to the Sea Dogs lineup after a strong performance for Team Czech Republic at the world juniors. The presence of 'Big Z' along with recently acquired star defenceman Simon Bourque was significant in this contest.
  • Affiliates Ben Reid, Alex Lafreniere, Liam Conrad, David Comeau and Ian Smallwood were called upon to help fill the void in the Sea Dogs line-up. 
  • Elsewhere in the Maritimes Division, the Cape Breton Screaming Eagles beat the Charlottetown Islanders 4-2. That surely was not the huge start the Islanders Twitterverse and message boardies were expecting after the massive reload executed by Jim Hulton during the just completed trade period. Also, Halifax defeated Moncton 6-2. 

Friday, January 6, 2017

Gauthier deal ends eventful trade period


MONTREAL - Julien Gauthier is officially a Saint John Sea Dog.

The long awaited deal (a few days, anyways) was finally made official on Friday, the final day of the QMJHL's trading period. The trade went as expected, with Saint John acquiring Gauthier from the Val-d'Or Foreurs in exchange for a 2017 third-round pick (Val-d’Or), two 2018 second-round picks (Val-d’Or and Sherbrooke), a 2019 first-round pick and prospect Nathan Cyr-Trottier.

Note that this deal is slightly different than what the Foreurs posted on their Instagram account this morning.

The Carolina Hurricanes prospect is one of the premier goal scorers in junior hockey, recording 41 goals in 2015-16 and 38 in 2014-15. In 207 career QMJHL games, Gauthier has 94 goals and 186 points.

The 19-year-old hasn't had his greatest goal scoring season so far, recording seven goals and 20 assists in 23 games with Val-d'Or. He had a strong World Junior Hockey Championship with Team Canada though, recording five goals and two assists in seven games.

“He’s another weapon, a goal-scorer that brings us size and skill," said Sea Dogs president and general manager Trevor Georgie in a press release. "He has also won before at this level and has experience at the MasterCard Memorial Cup. That was important to us, as it was with Simon Bourque and Callum Booth. Julien has continued to add to his toolbox and is coming off a strong, silver-medal performance at the World Juniors where he led Team Canada with five goals. He is excited to be here and will be a key player on our team this season.”

Game Day 38: vs Titan

The Saint John Sea Dogs (23-10-3-1, 1st Maritimes, 2nd QMJHL) look to end a two-game losing skid tonight against the Acadie-Bathurst Titan (19-16-2-2, 4th Maritimes, 9th QMJHL). Game time is 7 p.m. at Harbour Station.

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

Last games: The Sea Dogs are coming off a 6-3 home loss to the Cape Breton Screaming Eagles on Wednesday. Matthew Highmore, Nathan Noel and Joe Veleno all scored for Saint John. Callum Booth was pulled after allowing five goals on 24 shots. Alex D'Orio made four saves in relief. The Titan are coming off a 3-2 shootout loss to the Charlottetown Islanders on Tuesday in Bathurst. Dawson Theede and Antoine Morand had Bathurst goals. Anthony Dumont-Bouchard made 33 saves in the loss.

2016-17 head-to-head: The Sea Dogs are 1-4-0-0 against the Titan this season while Bathurst is 4-1-0-0 against Saint John.

Last meeting: These two met on New Year's Eve at Harbour Station with the Titan winning 7-5. Bokondji Imama had two goals for Saint John while singles came from Matthew Highmore, Alexandre Lafreniere and Alexandre Bernier. Bathurst goals came from Jeffrey Truchon-Viel, Vladimir Kuznetsov, Zachary Malatesta, Christophe Boivin, Noah Dobson, Antoine Morand and Jordan Maher. Callum Booth made 29 saves in the loss. Anthony Dumont-Bouchard made 37 stops in the win.

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

Random stat: This is the third meeting between the Sea Dogs and Titan since Dec. 28. They don't meet again until Feb. 8 in Bathurst.

Julien Gauthier traded to Saint John


MONTREAL - It's Instagram official, folks.

The Val-d'Or Foreurs have made the Julien Gauthier trade official, announcing the deal on their Instagram this morning.


The league website has yet to post the trade.

The QMJHL's trading period comes to a close today.

More to come.

UPDATE: This deal has been made official.

Canada takes silver at WJC


MONTREAL - What a heartbreaker.

The dream of World Junior Hockey Championship gold in Montreal ended in a shootout on Thursday night at the Bell Centre as Canada fell 5-4 to the United States.

Troy Terry, who was the shootout hero for the Americans in the semifinals, scored the only goal of the five-round breakaway contest, giving the US the victory.

The shootout was a sour ending to what was a fantastic hockey game. Canada led 2-0 and 4-2 at times only to have the Americans claw back. Both teams had great chances in overtime - and Canada even had a power play - but could not connect in an action packed 20 minutes of sudden victory (the IIHF's words, not mine).

It was a memorable night for the QMJHL with Thomas Chabot, Jeremy Lauzon, Nicolas Roy and Mathieu Joseph all scoring in regulation time. Unfortunatly for Roy, he had the last Canadian shootout attempt but could not score.