Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Sea Dogs' offence comes back to life

After going quiet for a few games, the Saint John Sea Dogs' big offensive guns returned to firing this past weekend.

Saint John's leading goal scorer, Bokondji Imama, had been held pointless for five straight games between Feb. 4 and Feb. 14. Imama returned to doing what he has done best this season, scoring twice and adding an assist in Saint John's trio of road games this past weekend.

Julien Gauthier scored twice in Friday's game. Before that contest, Gauthier hadn't scored in four straight games and had just one goal in his past 10. Unfortunatly for the Sea Dogs, Gauthier didn't play on Saturday or Sunday due to an injury. Fortunately for the Sea Dogs, it's not believed to be serious.

Nathan Noel, who was held pointless in five straight games between Feb. 3 and Feb. 11, has now registered two goals and two assists in his past three games.

Mathieu Joseph ended a rare four-game goalless drought on Friday. He has a goal and two assists in the four games since his point streak came to an end.

Some other notable offensive numbers from this weekend's road trip:

  • Spencer Smallman had five assists - including a three-assist game on Friday.
  • Joe Veleno continued his very underrated season, recording two goals and two assists.
  • Thomas Chabot, named the QMJHL's second star of the week, had a goal and five assists.
  • With a goal and two assists this weekend, Simon Bourque now has six goals and 19 points in 20 games with Saint John.

Monday, February 20, 2017

RECAP: Sea Dogs win 4-1

FINAL: Saint John 4, Baie-Comeau 1
Kevin Chambers | SN Staff

BAIE-COMEAU, Que. – The Saint John Sea Dogs completed the sweep of their Quebec road trip on Sunday, picking up a 4-1 win over the Baie-Comeau Drakkar

The win gives the Sea Dogs three wins in as many days and extends their winning streak to four games.

Goal scorers for the Sea Dogs on Sunday were Thomas Chabot, Nathan Noel, Joe Veleno and Simon Bourque. Alex D’Orio was very good for the Dogs, stopping 23 of 24 shots.

Replying for the Drakkar was Gabriel Fortier while Antoine Samuel was solid in net, making 32 saves.

To the notes…

  • The Sea Dogs picked up the lone goal of the first period at 19:41. After making a beautiful toe drag around a Drakkar defender, Chabot fired a wrist shot past Samuel to give the Dogs a 1-0 lead after one period.
  • The second period didn’t wait as long for a goal as the Sea Dogs would strike just 1:15 in. Noel was able to find an opening from a bad angle to make it 2-0 Dogs.
  • Veleno extended Saint John's lead to 3-0 at 5:29 of the middle frame, hammering home a one time shot past Samuel after some furious pressure by the Dogs.
  • The Drakkar got one goal on a major power play chance when Fortier beat out the hybrid icing call and tapped the bounce off the boards by a somewhat surprised D’Orio.
  • Bourque would lock it down at 17:26 of the third when he took a slap shot from his own goal line, catching Samuel on his way to the bench.
  • In the second period, Spencer Smallman went crashing into a goal post and did not return.
  • There was a scary moment late in the second period when Kyle Ward delivered a hit to Christopher Benoit. The Drakkar forward had to be taken out on a stretcher. Ward was given a five-minute major for interference and the play will no doubt be reviewed by the league for a possible suspension.
  • Every player that recorded points for the Sea Dogs earned two points - except Chabot who had three.
  • Chabot now has 142 career points, 10 shy of the Sea Dogs franchise defencemen scoring record held by Nathan Beaulieu.
  • According to his son on Twitter, Sea Dofs head coach Danny Flynn picked up his 300th career QMJHL win in this game.
  • The Drakkar held a short ceremony prior to the game, recognizing Bokondji Imama for his time as a member of the Drakkar.

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Game Day 56: at Baie-Comeau

The Saint John Sea Dogs (38-13-3-1, 1st Maritimes, 1st QMJHL) complete their three-game road trip today with a 5 p.m. contest against the Drakkar (19-27-5-4, 6th East, 16th QMJHL) in Baie-Comeau.

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

Last games: The Sea Dogs are coming off a 4-2 win in Chicoutimi last night. Matthew Highmore scored twice while singles came from Bokondji Imama and Joe Veleno. Callum Booth made 17 saves. The Drakkar are coming off a 2-1 shootout loss on home ice to the Sagueneens on Friday. Antoine Girard scored Baie-Comeau's lone regulation time goal. Justin Blanchette made 24 stops in the loss.

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

Last meeting: Jan. 21 at Harbour Station where the Sea Dogs edged the Drakkar 5-3. Bokondji Imama scored twice for Saint John while singles came from David Comeau, Simon Bourque and Mathieu Joseph. The Drakkar had goals from Simon Chevrier, Jordan Martel and Xavier Bouchard. Alex D'Orio made 18 saves in the win. Antoine Samuel made 30 saves in the loss.

Ex-Sea Dogs on the Drakkar: None.

Random stat: Saint John enters tonight's contest on a nine-game road winning streak - the longest such streak in the QMJHL this season.

Saturday, February 18, 2017

RECAP: Sea Dogs win 4-2

FINAL: Saint John 4, Chicoutimi 2
Kevin Chambers | SN Staff

CHICOUTIMI, Que. – The Saint John Sea Dogs improved to 2-0 on their Quebec road trip with a 4-2 victory over the Chicoutimi Sagueneens on Saturday.

Picking up goals for the Sea Dogs were Matthew Highmore (two), Bokondji Imama and Joe Veleno. Callum Booth picked up the win, stopping 17 shots.

Answering for the Sags were Vincent Tremblay-Lapalme and Nicolas Roy. Julio Billia settled in after a tough first period, managing to make 17 saves.

To the notes…

  • The Sea Dogs opened the scoring just 1:25 into the game when Imama fired a wrist shot past Billia to make it 1-0.
  • The Sagueneens would reply a short time after at 2:55 when Tremblay-Lapalme threw a shot on net that found it’s way past Booth, evening things at a goal a piece.
  • Veleno would regain the lead for the Sea Dogs at 13:33 when he tipped a Bailey Webster point shot past Billia to make it 2-1 Dogs.
  • Saint John extended their lead to 3-1 when Highmore banged a loose puck past Billia at 19:36, sending the Dogs to the first intermission with a two-goal cushion.
  • There were no goals in the second period - although Booth did make a huge save off a penalty shot attempt by Tremblay-Lapalme, flashing some leather on the stop.
  • Roy got the Sags back within a goal at 17:23 after he picked the pocket of Veleno and fired a shot past Booth, making it 3-2.
  • Highmore would seal the deal for the Sea Dogs at 19:38. After taking a feed from Samuel Dove-McFalls he tapped the puck into the yawning empty cage to secure the 4-2 victory.
  • Highmore is now in sole possession of fifth overall in Sea Dogs franchise goal scoring with 86. 
  • The Sags pulled Billia during a power play chance with about seven minutes to play, only to return him to the team’s net on the next line change - on the fly.
  • The final shots on goal in the game were just 20-19 in favour of Saint John. Both teams had more shots in the third period then their first two periods combined.
  • Both teams scored on their first shots of the game.
  • Irate over a non call on Thomas Chabot, Sagueneens head coach Yanick Jean stood on the dasher board to yell at the officials.
  • A couple key players missing for the Sags in this game as German Rubtsov (injured) and Joey Ratelle (suspension) missed this contest.
  • Nathan Noel returned after serving a one-game suspension but Cole Reginato missed this one as the result of an automatic suspension for a staged fight in last night’s contest.

Game Day 55: at Chicoutimi

The Saint John Sea Dogs (37-13-3-1, 1st Maritimes, 1st QMJHL) continue their Quebec road trip tonight in Chicoutimi. Game time against the Sagueneens (32-20-2-2, 2nd East, 6th QMJHL) is 5 p.m.

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

Last games: The Sea Dogs are coming off a 7-3 win in Victoriaville last night. Julien Gauthier scored two goals while singles came from Chase Stewart, Matthew Highmore, Mathieu Joseph, Bokondji Imama and Oliver Felixson. Callum Booth made 21 saves in the win. The Sagueneens are coming off a 2-1 shootout win in Baie-Comeau last night. Antoine Marcoux scored Chicoutimi's lone regulation time goal. Xavier Potvin made 24 saves in the win.

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

Last meeting: Jan. 20 at Harbour Station where the Sea Dogs defeated the Sagueneens 1-0. Mathieu Joseph scored the lone goal in the game. Callum Booth made 22 saves in the shutout win. Xavier Potvin made 33 stops in the loss.

Ex-Sea Dogs on the Sagueneens: None.

Random stat: There will be four Carolina Hurricanes prospects playing in this game: Spencer Smallman, Callum Booth, Julien Gauthier and Nicolas Roy.

RECAP: Sea Dogs win 7-3

FINAL: Saint John 7, Victoriaville 3
Kevin Chambers | SN Staff

VICTORIAVILLE, Que. – Playing their first game of a three-in-three road trip, the Saint John Sea Dogs did not disappoint, defeating the Victoriaville Tigres 7-3 on Friday at Colisee Desjardins.

The goal scorers for the Sea Dogs were Julien Gauthier (two), Chase Stewart, Matthew Highmore, Mathieu Joseph, Bokondji Imama and Oliver Felixson. Callum Booth picked up the win for the Dogs, stopping 21 shots, including a couple breakaway opportunities in the early going.

Replying for the Tigres were Bradley Lalonde, Alexandre Goulet and Lucas Thierus. Taking the loss was James Povall, making 16 saves on 20 shots before being replaced by Tristan Cote-Cazenave, who stopped 14 of 17 shots in relief.

To the notes…
  • Stewart would open the scoring at 5:45 of the first period, taking a feed from Jakub Zboril and hammering a one time shot past Povall to make it 1-0 Sea Dogs.
  • The Dogs would add to their lead at 10:05. Highmore’s initial shot was blocked but he threw another hard wrist shot on goal that got by Povall, making it 2-0 Saint John.
  • The Tigres would get on the board in the second period with a power play marker from Lalonde at 3:39.
  • Saint John would get the goal back though at 6:35 with a five-on-three goal as Joseph jumped on a loose rebound and put it past Povall.
  • The ensuing five-on-four power play would lead to another Sea Dogs goal. Imama eneded Povall's night by firing a shot past the Tigres netminder at 7:50.
  • Goulet would capitalize on a man advantage chance for the Tigres at 14:12 with another one time goal, beating Booth and closing the gap to 4-2 Sea Dogs.
  • Saint John extended their lead when Gauthier was able to knife a Chabot pass up and over Cote-Cazenave at 7:42 of the third, making it 5-2.
  • Thierus would close the gap once again as the Tigres finished off a two-on-one play down low, making it 5-3 Sea Dogs at 13:00. 
  • The Sea Dogs would put the game away though at 15:40 when Gauthier finished off a nice feed from Samuel Dove-McFalls, making it 6-3.
  • Rounding out the scoring was Felixson who picked the corner for his second goal of the season at 17:50. That made it a 7-3 Sea Dogs final.
  • Spencer Smallman record his 200th career QMJHL point.
  • Gauthier recorded his 100th career QMJHL goal.
  • Highmore’s goal moved him into a fifth-place tie with Zack Phillips for franchise goal scoring. They each have 84 goals as members of the Sea Dogs.
  • Joseph moved into a third-place tie with Tomas Jurco for franchise goal scoring. They each have 87.
  • Thomas Chabot moved into sole possession of second in franchise defencemen scoring, now sitting at 137 career points. Nathan Beaulieu holds the record with 152 points.
  • Prior to the game, the Tigres retired the No. 91 jersey that belonged to former No. 1 overall NHL pick Alexandre Daigle.
  • Nathan Noel was suspended for one-game due to a butt end that was detected in the game against the Charlottetown Islanders. 

Friday, February 17, 2017

Game Day 54: at Victoriaville

The Saint John Sea Dogs (36-13-3-1, 1st Maritimes, 1st QMJHL) begin a three-in-three Quebec road trip tonight in Victoriaville. Game time against the Tigres (29-20-5-2, 3rd East, 9th QMJHL) is 8 p.m.

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

Last games: The Sea Dogs are coming off a 2-1 win in Charlottetown on Tuesday. Thomas Chabot and Nathan Noel scored for Saint John while Callum Booth made 28 saves in the victory. The Tigres are coming off a 6-5 overtime loss to the Sherbrooke Phoenix on Wednesday. Austin Eastman scored twice while Maxime Comtois, Bradley Lalonde and Alexandre Goulet scored singles. James Povall made 31 saves in the loss.

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

Last meeting: Dec. 8 at Harbour Station where the Tigres defeated the Sea Dogs 4-3 in overtime. Ivan Kosorenkov scored two goals for Victoriaville while singles came from Felix Lauzon and Alexandre Goulet. Matthew Highmore had two goals for Saint John while Mathieu Joseph added a solo marker. Olivier Tremblay made 22 saves in the win. Alex Bishop made 39 stops in the loss.

Random stat: Saint John's 18 road wins lead the QMJHL. The Dogs are 18-7-1-1 on the road this year, which is quite comparable to their home record of 18-6-2-0.

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Alumdate: Ex-Dogs in U Sports


The UNB Varsity Reds easily won the Atlantic University Sport regular season title again this year, edging the second-place Acadia Axemen by 11 points.

The Varsity Reds, who feature four former Sea Dogs, finished the regular season with a 25-2-3 record. They didn't lose a home game all year, going 15-0-0 at the Aitken Centre.

As usual, the Reds have a bye through the first round of the AUS playoffs. Acadia has the other bye while the first round playoff matchups will see the UPEI Panthers take on the Saint Mary's Huskies and the StFX X-Men face the UdeM Aigles Bleus. Both of those best-of-three series start tonight.

UNB's Stephen Anderson led all former Sea Dogs in AUS scoring this season with 25 points. Mark Tremaine also had a strong offensive year at StFX while defenceman Pierre Durepos put up some good numbers in his final year of university hockey at UdeM.
Here's a full breakdown of how Sea Dogs alumni performed in the AUS this season.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

RECAP: Sea Dogs win 2-1

FINAL: Saint John 2, Charlottetown 1
CHARLOTTETOWN - In an intense and entertaining game of hockey on Tuesday night at Eastlink Centre, the Saint John Sea Dogs came away with a 2-1 victory over the Charlottetown Islanders.

Nathan Noel scored what proved to be the game-winner 53 seconds into the third period. Thomas Chabot scored Saint John's other goal while Callum Booth was fantastic in net, making 28 saves in the win.

The Sea Dogs kept Charlottetown's powerful offence to just one goal - which was scored by defenceman Tyler MacArthur. Mark Grametbauer also had a strong game in net, making 22 saves in the loss.

It was a solid road performance by the Sea Dogs and earned them some redemption after a rough 3-0 home loss to Shawinigan on Saturday. The win also gives Saint John a three-point lead over the Islanders in the standings with a game still in-hand.

To the notes...
  • On the first shift of the game, Dillon Boucher levelled Oliver Felixson by the end boards.
  • Both teams hits posts in the first couple minutes of the game. Julien Gauthier hit iron for Saint John.
  • The Islanders opened up the scoring at 8:59. MacArthur grabbed the loose puck just below the blue line and created some space before wiring a wrist shot past Booth.
  • After failing to score on a 42 second five-on-three power play, Chabot tied the game during the five-on-four. At 11:28, the puck made its way to the blue line where Chabot fired a bomb past Grametbauer to make it 1-1.
  • Shots were 9-9 in a fast pace and entertaining opening period.
  • Midway through the second, Guillaume Brisebois cranked a shot past Booth but hit the crossbar.
  • With around 6:45 remaining in the first, Booth made a huge cross crease save off Sprong to keep the game tied.
  • Just 53 seconds into the third period, Noel made some nice moves through the slot area before backhanding a shot past Grametbauer, giving Saint John their first lead of the night.
  • Charlottetown had a power play late in the game and, after failing to score on the man advantage, pulled Grametbauer; however, they could not beat Booth to net the equalizer.
  • The Sea Dogs juggled their lines for this game after being shutout on Saturday. Bokondji Imama moved up to the team's first line with Matthew Highmore and Mathieu Joseph while Gauthier moved to the second line to play with Spencer Smallman and Noel.
  • Smallman and Chabot returned from suspensions.
  • Chabot's goal was his first since Dec. 4.
  • With an assist on Chabot's goal, Gauthier now has 200 career QMJHL points.
  • Noel's goal ended a five-game pointless streak.
  • The loss ended a six-game winning streak for Charlottetown.
  • Joseph now has points in 18 straight road games.
  • Saint John and Charlottetown have two regular season meetings remaining.

Game Day 53: at Charlottetown

The Saint John Sea Dogs (35-13-3-1, 1st Maritimes, 1st QMJHL) play another huge game tonight in Charlottetown. Just one point separates the Sea Dogs and Islanders (35-15-3-0, 2nd Maritimes, 4th QMJHL) in the standings - although Saint John has played one less game. Game time is 7 p.m. at Eastlink Centre.

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

Last games: The Sea Dogs are coming off one of their worst performances of the season, losing 3-0 on home ice to the Shawinigan Cataractes on Saturday. Callum Booth made 17 saves in the loss. The Islanders are coming off a 9-0 win over the Drummondville Voltigeurs at Eastlink Centre on Saturday. Daniel Sprong had a hat trick; Adam Marsh and Kameron Kielly each scored twice; and singles came from Sam King and Carl Neill. Matthew Welsh made 24 saves in the shutout.

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

Last meeting: Jan. 29 at Eastlink Centre where the Sea Dogs defeated the Islanders 5-2. Bailey Webster, Mathieu Joseph, Nathan Noel, Cole Reginato and Samuel Dove-McFalls all scored for Saint John. Pascal Aquin and Filip Chlapik scored for Charlottetown. Callum Booth made 24 saves in the win. Matthew Welsh made 30 stops in the loss.

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

Random stat: Daniel Sprong is heating up and now has points in six straight games. The Pittsburgh Penguins prospect has seven goals over his past four games.

Monday, February 13, 2017

Sea Dogs' top guns have gone quiet

The Saint John Sea Dogs' top guns find themselves in an offensive slump.

While it's easy to point out Saint John's offensive struggles following a 3-0 loss to the Shawinigan Cataractes on Saturday, this is something that's been going on for a few games - even in some contests where the Sea Dogs won big.

Take a look at some of these numbers:

Nathan Noel: Pointless in past five games. Last goal was on Jan. 29. Last assist on Jan. 28.

Julien Gauthier: Has not scored in his past three games and has just one goal in his past nine games. He does have six assists over his past nine, though.

Matthew Highmore: Has not scored in his past six games. He does have four helpers during that span, though.

Mathieu Joseph: Has not scored in his past three games. He did a decent point streak come to an end on Saturday.

Bokondji Imama: Has not scored his past four games, which is one of the longest stretches his gone without scoring this year.

The Sea Dogs' offence was on fire recently (they scored five or more goals in five straight games between Jan. 21 and Feb. 4), but has looked a little off over the past three games. Saint John was outshot 36-32 on Wednesday in Bathurst (the Dogs have only been outshot seven times this year) and fired just 25 shots on net in Saturday's loss, far lower than their season average of 35.37.

Theses slumps won't last, of course, and it's, perhaps, good to get them out of the way now. Saint John's offence has no doubt been affected by all of them slumping at the same time. 

On a much more positive note, it's been great to see some of Saint John's depth players find the scoresheet of late. Cole Reginato and David Comeau have been pleasant surprises offensively and Jakub Zboril and Simon Bourque have been good on the backend. Captain Spencer Smallman and Joe Veleno have also been producing well offensively.

Saint John will need all hands on deck tomorrow night when they travel to Charlottetown to face the Islanders. The Isles, who have played one more game than the Sea Dogs, are just one point back of Saint John and have won six straight. 

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Sea Dogs apologize for pre-game music

The Saint John Sea Dogs issued a statement this morning regarding a song played during the team's entrance last night.

The statement was emailed to those on the team's mailing list and posted on the Sea Dogs' official Facebook page.

According to those who heard, this is the song that was played, which repeatedly drops f-bombs.



There were numerous complaints on the team's Facebook page following the playing of the song.

Saturday, February 11, 2017

RECAP: Sea Dogs lose 3-0

FINAL: Shawinigan 0, Saint John 3
SAINT JOHN - Yikes.

In one of the biggest games of the regular season, the Saint John Sea Dogs did not look like themselves, falling 3-0 to the Shawinigan Cataractes on Saturday night at Harbour Station.

Alexis D'Aoust, Brandon Gignac and Dennis Yan all scored for the Cataractes while Mikhail Denisov made 25 saves in the shutout.

While Shawinigan's offence had a decent night, it was their defence that was strong in this one. The team kept Saint John's mighty offence - which was without Spencer Smallman and Thomas Chabot due to suspensions - to just 25 shots. The Cataractes also had a tremendous night on the penalty kill, keeping the league's top power play off the scoreboard on six different occasions.

The Sea Dogs simply didn't have a good game, and the team's big scoring guns - Mathieu Joseph, Bokondji Imama, Matthew Highmore and Julien Gauthier - are officially in a bit of a goal scoring slump.

In net, Callum Booth made 17 stops in the loss.

The loss ended a nine-game winning streak for Saint John and creates another big divisional game on Tuesday night in Charlottetown.

To the notes...
  • D'Aoust made it 1-0 Shawinigan at 4:21 of the first period. The Cataractes captain crossed the blue line and accepted a drop pass, skating into the high slot and wristing the puck past Booth.
  • Late in the first period, there was a big collision between Gabriel Sylvestre and Mathieu Joseph at the blue line. Joseph was slow to get up but did return for the second period.
  • Midway through the second period and with the game a little flat, Kyle Ward and Sylvestre dropped the gloves.
  • Following a couple minutes of good offensive pressure by the Sea Dogs, Shawinigan took a 2-0 lead at 15:54. Booth allowed a rebound that went right to Gignac, doubling Shawinigan's lead.
  • In the third, after failing to connect on a couple of great power play chances, the Sea Dogs had a few great opportunities during one sequence but somehow did not score.
  • The Sea Dogs pulled Booth with over three minutes remaining in the third. Yan wasted no time hitting the net, scoring at 16:57 to make it 3-0.
  • Joseph's franchise record point streak ends at 28 games.
  • Simon Bourque and Jakub Zboril were both a -3.
  • Saint John didn't reach double digit shot totals in any period. Very odd game.
  • This was a nice rebound game for the Cataractes, who got destroyed 8-2 in Bathurst on Friday.
  • The win ended a two-game losing skid for Shawinigan.
  • There was a Shawinigan fan bus in town.
  • Great crowd for this one. The crowd of 5,958 was a season high.

Game Day 52: vs Cataractes

One of the most anticipated games of the regular season takes place tonight at Harbour Station with the Saint John Sea Dogs (35-12-3-1, 1st Maritimes, 1st QMJHL) hosting the Shawinigan Cataractes (33-14-3-1, 1st East, 3rd QMJHL). Game time is 7 p.m.

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

Last games: The Sea Dogs are coming off a 4-1 home win over the Drummondville Voltigeurs last night. Simon Bourque, David Comeau, Spencer Smallman and Joe Veleno all scored for Saint John. Alex D'Orio made 18 saves in the win. The Cataractes are coming off a rough outing in Bathurst last night, losing 8-2. Tommy Cardinal and Dennis Yan scored for Shawinigan. Mikhail Denisov was pulled after allowing four goals on 13 shots. Zachary Bouthillier allowed four goals on 12 shots in relief.

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

Last meeting: Dec. 1 in Shawinigan where the Sea Dogs edged the Cataractes 3-2 in a shootout. Bokondji Imama scored both Saint John goals. Tommy Cardinal and Samuel Girard scored for Shawinigan. Alex Bishop made 24 saves in the win. Mikhail Denisov made 31 stops in the loss.

Ex-Sea Dogs on the Cataractes: None.

Random Stat: Bokondji Imama has been held pointless in his past three games. He is due.

Friday, February 10, 2017

RECAP: Sea Dogs win 4-1

FINAL: Drummondville 1, Saint John 4
Kevin Chambers | SN Staff

SAINT JOHN – In their return to the friendly confines of Harbour Station, the Saint John Sea Dogs extended their winning streak to nine games, defeating the Drummondville Voltigeurs 4-1.

Goal scorers for the Sea Dogs were Simon Bourque, David Comeau, Spencer Smallman and Joe Veleno. Alex D’Orio was solid when called upon, stopping 18 shots.

Answering for the Voltigeurs was Andrew Shewfelt. Goaltender Olivier Rodrigue was outstanding in the loss, making 40 saves.

To the notes…
  • The Voltigeurs would get on the board first at 1:39 of the opening frame when Shewfelt put a wrist shot on goal that found its way past D’Orio.
  • Saint John returned the favour just 40 seconds later when Bourque fired a wrist shot past Rodrigue to tie the game at 1-1.
  • Comeau gave the Sea Dogs their first lead of the night at 10:12, putting a wrist shot over the blocker of Rodrigue.
  • Smallman picked up his 20th goal of the campaign at 2:16 of the second period, hammering home a one time shot from his office in the faceoff circle. That gave the Sea Dogs a 3-1 lead.
  • Veleno, who wowed the crowd on a few occasions, rounded out the scoring when he tipped a shot past a screened Rodrigue at 10:49 of the third period.
  • Both the Sea Dogs and Voltigeurs scored on their first shots of the game.
  • Mathieu Joseph extended his point streak to 28 games, assisting on Comeau's goal.
  • Assistant coach Jeff Cowan got hit in the face with a puck in the second period. He left for a short time but did return.
  • Bourque has a seven game point streak going, picking up four goals and eight assists during the span.
  • Smallman and Nathan Hudgin had a spirited tilt with both players losing their helmets. They were also given game misconducts for a staged fight.
  • Drummondville has now lost seven straight games.

Game Day 51: vs Voltigeurs

Winners of eight straight, the Saint John Sea Dogs (34-12-3-1, 1st Maritimes, 1st QMJHL) return home tonight to host the Drummondville Voltigeurs (21-25-0-5, 5th West, 15th QMJHL). Game time is 7 p.m.

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

Last games: The Sea Dogs are coming off a 3-2 win over the Titan in Bathurst on Wednesday. Simon Bourque, Spencer Smallman and Jakub Zboril all scored for Saint John. Callum Booth made 34 saves in the win. The Volts haven't played since last Friday where they lost 6-0 to the Blainville-Boisbriand Armada. Olivier Rodrigue made 20 saves in the loss.

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

Last meeting: Dec. 2 at the Marcel Dionne Centre where the Voltigeurs edged the Sea Dogs 5-2. Marc-Olivier Duquette, Alex Barre-Boulet, Joey Ratelle, Ryan DaSilva and Benjamin Gagne had Drummondville goals. Thomas Chabot and Matthew Highmore scored for Saint John. Anthony Dumont-Bouchard made 24 saves in the win. Alex D'Orio made 26 saves in the loss.

Ex-Sea Dogs on the Voltigeurs: None

Random stat: Drummondville's Pavel Koltygin, the ninth overall pick in the 2016 CHL Import Draft, is sixth in QMJHL rookie scoring with 38 points (19 goals and 19 assists).

Reports: Chabot suspended two games


According to reports, Saint John Sea Dogs defenceman Thomas Chabot has been suspended two games by the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League for a slewfoot.
The incident took place during Saint John's 3-2 win in Bathurst on Wednesday. Chabot did not receive any penalties during the match.

The suspension doesn't come at an ideal time for the Sea Dogs, who will face one of the QMJHL's top teams on Saturday in the Shawinigan Cataractes. The Dogs also play on Friday, hosting the Drummondville Voltigeurs.

If there is any good news, it's that Chabot will receive some more rest, which should come handy come playoff time.

The 19-year-old, who has been paired with Simon Bourque since returning from the World Junior Hockey Championship, has five goals and 22 assists in 22 games with the Sea Dogs this season.

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

RECAP: Sea Dogs win 3-2

FINAL: Saint John 3, Bathurst 2
Kevin Chambers | SN Staff

BATHURST – The Saint John Sea Dogs were able to pick up the 3-2 victory over the Acadie-Bathurst Titan on Wednesday night at the KC Irving Regional Centre, extending their winning streak to eight straight games.

The victory wrapped up five-game road stretch through the Maritimes for the Sea Dogs. They won all five matches.

Goal scorers for the Sea Dogs were Simon Bourque, Spencer Smallman and Jakub Zboril. Callum Booth was outstanding in net, stopping 34 shots.

Replying for the Titan were Jeffrey Truchon-Viel and Daniil Miromanov. Taking the loss in net, despite a strong performance, was Anthony Dumont-Bouchard, who made 29 saves.

To the notes…

  • The Sea Dogs would get on the board first with a power play marker at 4:40 of the opening period when Bourque fired a wrist shot past Dumont-Bouchard.
  • The Titan would even things up at 1-1 during a five-on-three power play at 11:25 when Truchon-Viel tapped home a loose puck past Booth. 
  • Sea Dogs captain Smallman jumped on a rebound and put it past Dumont-Bouchard at 19:18 of the opening frame, giving the Sea Dogs a 2-1 lead.
  • Zboril gave Saint John their first two goal lead of the night just 29 seconds into the third, firing a shot past the Titan netminder.
  • Miromanov would reply for the Titan at 2:20, redirecting a pass and beating Booth. That would close the gap to 3-2 but the Titan would get no closer.
  • Mathieu Joseph extended his franchise record point streak to 27 games with an assist on Zboril’s game-winning goal.
  • Julien Gauthier picked up the 100th assist of his career QMJHL.
  • Zboril has goals in three straight game and points in six straight.

Game Day 50: at Bathurst

The Saint John Sea Dogs (33-12-3-1, 1st Maritimes, 1st QMJHL) put their seven-game winning streak on the line tonight against the Acadie-Bathurst Titan (27-19-3-2, 4th Maritimes, 9th QMJHL). Game time is 7 p.m. at the KC Irving Regional Centre.

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

Last games: The Sea Dogs are coming off a 7-0 win in Sydney on Saturday. Mathieu Joseph scored twice for Saint John while singles came from Joe Veleno, Jakub Zboril, Simon Bourque, Julien Gauthier and Samuel Dove-McFalls. Callum Booth made 17 saves in the shutout. The Titan are coming off a 6-2 loss in Charlottetown on Sunday. Adam Holwell and Rodrigo Abols scored for Bathurst. Reilly Pickard allowed six goals on 24 shots through 40 minutes. Anthony Dumont-Bouchard stopped all seven shots he faced in the third period.

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

Last meeting: Jan. 6 at Harbour Station where the Sea Dogs defeated the Titan 5-1. Matthew Highmore had two goals for Saint John while singles came from Samuel Dove-McFalls, Simon Bourque and Bokondji Imama. Christophe Boivin netted Bathurst's lone goal. Alex D'Orio made 30 saves in the win. Reilly Pickard allowed four goals on 12 shots in the first period. Anthony Dumont-Bouchard made 14 saves through the final 40 minutes.

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

Random stat: The Titan are the only team the Sea Dogs have lost to more than twice this season.

Monday, February 6, 2017

Monday Notes: We're in for a good finish

The Saint John Sea Dogs have been hot of late.

The team has won seven straight games and its offence has been on fire, averaging nearly six goals per game over their past five matches - and that includes 14 combined goals in their last two contests. Saint John now has a 33-12-3-1 record, giving them a league best winning percentage of .714.

Saint John has been excellent lately, no doubt. The only issue is that a lot of other teams have been very good of late as well.

The Sea Dogs currently sit first overall in the QMJHL standings with 70 points - but the second-place Shawinigan Cataractes and third-place Rouyn-Noranda Huskies also have 70. Saint John has one game in-hand on Shawinigan and two games on Rouyn-Noranda.
While the overall standings are tight at the top, so is the Maritimes Division. The Charlottetown Islanders are just one point back of the Sea Dogs - but have played two fewer games.

In short, the race for first-place is going to be a lot of fun. Stressful, perhaps, but enjoyable. There's a good chance every game remaining will have an impact on the standings.

Saint John will host Shawinigan in a huge game on Saturday night at Harbour Station. Meanwhile, the Sea Dogs and Islanders have three meetings remaining: Feb. 14 in Charlottetown, March 10 in Saint John and March 17 in Charlottetown.

Sunday, February 5, 2017

RECAP: Sea Dogs win 7-0

FINAL: Saint John 7, Cape Breton 0
Kevin Chambers | SN Staff

SYDNEY, NS – In a much different outcome than their last meeting, the Saint John Sea Dogs dominated the Cape Breton Screaming Eagles on Saturday afternoon at Centre 200, winning 7-0 to extend their winning streak to seven games.

Their last meeting was also high scoring but ended in a 7-6 Screaming Eagles victory.

The goal scorers for the Sea Dogs were Mathieu Joseph (two), Joe Veleno, Jakub Zboril, Simon Bourque, Julien Gauthier and Samuel Dove-McFalls. Callum Booth picked up his second shutout as a Sea Dog, stopping all 17 shots he faced.

Taking the loss for the Screaming Eagles was Kevin Mandolese who was certainly the busier of the two netminders, making 26 saves in the loss.

To the notes…
  • Veleno would get the Sea Dogs on the board first at 6:50 of the opening period by banging home a rebound just as a power play was about to expire.
  • The Sea Dogs extended their lead to 2-0 at 17:07, capitalizing on a five-on-three opportunity when Zboril hammered one time shot past Mandolese.
  • Bourque notched the only goal of the second period, putting a wrist shot on goal that found it’s way past Mandolese at 4:17. That made it 3-0 Saint John.
  • The Sea Dogs got off to a quick start in the third period when Gauthier tipped a shot past Mandolese just 1:21 in, making it 4-0 Sea Dogs.
  • Joseph would then pick up his first of the night, jumping on his own rebound and firing it past Mandolese to make it 5-0 at 4:41.
  • Joseph would find the back of the net again at 11:50 after weaving his way through three Eagle. That would make it 6-0 for the Dogs.
  • Dove-McFalls would cap off the seven-goal night by finishing off a two-on-one rush with Veleno at 12:18 of the third.
  • Thomas Chabot (upper body) and Joseph (suspension) returned to the lineup.
  • A couple notables missing for Cape Breton were former Sea Dogs captain Olivier LeBlanc who was injured last night and Drake Batherson who was very good when the Eagles visited Saint John recently. 
  • Joseph extended his franchise record point streak to 26 games. Joseph also picked up his 30th and 31st goals of the season while picking up his 100th career assist.
  • Gauthier scored a goal and picked up three helpers on the night.
  • Thomas Chabot picked up two assists and has moved past Simon Despres into third all time in franchise scoring for defencemen.
  • With 7:34 to play in the second period, Chase Stewart attempted to lower the boom on Kyle McGrath. The Eagles' winger avoided the hit but Stewart destroyed the glass at the Sea Dogs penalty box. Kudos to the Centre 200 staff for only taking about 10 minutes to clean up and replace the glass.

Saturday, February 4, 2017

Game Day 49: at Cape Breton

Winners of six straight, the Saint John Sea Dogs (32-12-3-1, 1st Maritimes, 2nd QMJHL) are in Sydney this afternoon to take on the Cape Breton Screaming Eagles (29-18-2-2, 3rd Maritimes, 6th QMJHL). Game time is 4 p.m. at Centre 200.

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

Last games: The Sea Dogs are coming off a 7-4 win in Halifax last night. Cole Reginato scored twice while singles came from Joe Veleno, Spencer Smallman, Jakub Zboril, Samuel Dove-McFalls and Bokondji Imama. Callum Booth made 15 saves in the win. The Screaming Eagles are coming off a 6-4 loss to the Acadie-Bathurst Titan last night at Centre 200. Olivier LeBlanc, Giovanni Fiore, Mathias Laferriere and Phelix Martineau all scored for Cape Breton. Kyle Jessiman made 26 saves in the loss.

2016-17 head-to-head: The Sea Dogs are 4-2-0-0 against the Screaming Eagles this season while Cape Breton is 2-4-0-0 against Saint John.

Last meeting: Jan. 15 at Harbour Station where the Screaming Eagles defeated the Sea Dogs 7-6. Giovanni Fiore had a hat trick for Cape Breton while singles came from Drake Batherson, Olivier LeBlanc, Adam McCormick and Declan Smith. Matthew Highmore, Joe Veleno, Alexandre Bernier, Julien Gauthier, Samuel Dove-McFalls and Mathieu Joseph all scored for Saint John. Kevin Mandolese made 32 saves in the win. Alex D'Orio was pulled after allowing five goals on 23 shots. Callum Booth allowed two goals on seven shots in relief.

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

Random stat: Saint John has won four straight road games.

RECAP: Sea Dogs win 7-4

FINAL: Saint John 7, Halifax 4
HALIFAX - Make it six straight wins for the Saint John Sea Dogs.

Cole Reginato, who has been one of the hottest Sea Dogs offensively of late, scored twice to lead the team to a 7-4 road win over the Halifax Mooseheads on Friday. Joe Veleno, Spencer Smallman, Jakub Zboril, Samuel Dove-McFalls and Bokondji Imama also scored while Callum Booth made 15 saves.

Halifax goals came from Jake Coughler, Nico Hischier, Arnaud Durandeau and Otto Somppi. Alexis Gravel made 24 saves in the loss.

Despite the Sea Dogs outshooting the Mooseheads by a wide margin for most of the night, the game stayed close. Halifax opened the scoring and had a couple leads in the first period but simply couldn't contain the much older Saint John squad.

The Mooseheads are heading in the opposite direction of the Sea Dogs it seems, now dropping their third straight game.

To the notes...
  • Coughler opened the scoring at 3:16 of the first. After Nathan Noel turned the puck over, Coughler fired a backhander past Booth to give Halifax an early 1-0 lead.
  • Saint John tied the game at 6:03. Simon Bourque fired a point shot that produced a rebound off Gravel's glove. Veleno was on the doorstep, making it 1-1.
  • Halifax went up 2-1 at 10:01. Durandeau fed a streaking Hischier in the slot and then the talented forward deked past Booth, putting Halifax back in front.
  • Smallman tied the game at 2-2 at 11:40, banking the puck off Gravel and in.
  • Saint John headed to a long five-on-three power play late in the first. At 18:39, Zboril connected to give the Sea Dogs their first lead of the night.
  • Not long after Imama exited the box for serving a minor penalty, Durandeau redirected a Jared McIsaac point shot past Booth, tying the game up at 3-3 at 3:09 of the second period.
  • Reginato put Saint John up 4-3 at 10:40, driving to the net and putting his own rebound past Gravel.
  • While on a power play at 12:37 , Dove-McFalls fired a rebound past Gravel, giving Saint John their first two-goal lead of the game.
  • Reginato netted his second of the night at 8:53. On a long breakaway, the gritty forward made a nice move to his forehand and slid the puck past Gravel to make it 6-3 Sea Dogs.
  • On a Mooseheads power play at 16:56, the puck flopped onto the back of Booth. The Dogs goaltender caught the puck in his glove while crossing the goal line, giving Somppi a goal and cutting Saint John's lead to 6-4.
  • Imama hit the empty net at 18:22, making it a 7-4 final.
  • Dove-McFalls has two goals and two assists in his past three games.
  • After scoring in his first three games as a Sea Dog, Julien Gauthier has not scored in five straight.
  • Reginato now has four goals and four assists in his past seven games.
  • Chase Stewart returned to Saint John's lineup, playing in his first game since Dec. 17 (upper body).
  • The Sea Dogs and Mooseheads still have four meetings remaining this season.
  • The Mooseheads honoured Saint John's Team Canada world junior players - Thomas Chabot, Mathieu Joseph and Gauthier - in a ceremony before the game.

Friday, February 3, 2017

Alumdate: Huberdeau returns tonight


The Florida Panthers just got a massive boost for their playoff push.

The team announced today that former Saint John Sea Dogs captain Jonathan Huberdeau has been cleared to play. Huberdeau is expected to make his season debut tonight after fully recovering from an Achilles injury he suffered in the pre-season.

The Panthers are also getting forward Aleksander Barkov back from injury tonight.

Florida, who fired former Sea Dogs head coach Gerard Gallant earlier this season, sits four points out of the Eastern Conference's second wild card spot with a record of 22-19-10.

The Panthers host the Anaheim Ducks this evening at 8:30 p.m.

In other Sea Dogs/NHL news, Charlie Coyle is having a career year with the Minnesota Wild.

The former Sea Dogs power forward put up excellent numbers in the NHL's first half and now has 13 goals and 38 points in 50 games. The 24-year-old had 21 goals and 42 points all of last season.

Coyle sits third on the Wild in scoring behind Mikael Granlund and Eric Staal. Minnesota has had an excellent season and sits first in the Western Conference with a record of 33-12-5.

Below is a look at how former Sea Dogs (and one current) have performed in the NHL this season.


Game Day 48: at Halifax

The Saint John Sea Dogs (31-12-3-1, 1st Maritimes, 2nd QMJHL) look for their sixth straight win tonight in Halifax. Game time against the Mooseheads (23-22-2-3, 5th Maritimes, 11th QMJHL) at Scotiabank Centre is 7 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 Charlottetown on Sunday. Bailey Webster, Mathieu Joseph, Nathan Noel, Cole Reginato and Samuel Dove-McFalls all scored for Saint John while Callum Booth made 24 saves in the win. The Mooseheads are coming off 4-3 overtime loss to the Acadie-Bathurst Titan last night on home ice. Connor Moynihan, Nico Hischier and Frederic Aube scored for the Moose. Blade Mann-Dixon made 25 saves in the loss.

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

Last meeting: Jan. 8 at Harbour Station where the Sea Dogs edged the Mooseheads 2-1. Samuel Dove-McFalls and Bokondji Imama scored for Saint John while Maxime Fortier had Halifax's lone goal. Callum Booth made 20 saves in the win. Alexis Gravel made 32 stops in the loss.

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

Random stat: Following tonight's game, the Sea Dogs and Mooseheads still have four head-to-head meetings remaining this season.

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Wednesday notes: D'Orio makes Top Prospects Game start

Alex D'Orio didn't end the night with the greatest numbers - but neither did most of the goaltenders who took part in the 2017 CHL/NHL Top Prospects Game.

D'Orio, who started in net for Team Orr, allowed four goals on 19 shots in just over 31 minutes of action in what proved to be a high scoring affair. Michael DiPietro of the Windsor Spitfires played the second half of the game for Team Orr, allowing two goals on 16 shots.

Team Cherry ended up winning the back-and-forth match 7-5 over Team Orr in Quebec City. According to the CHL website, "the two sides combined for a record-tying 12 goals, equaling totals from 1996, 2005 and 2008 as offensive talent and creativity flowed freely under head coaches Simon Gagné and Guy Chouinard."
It was a decent night for the QMJHL. Halifax Mooseheads star Nico Hischier, who has seemingly cemented himself as a top-three pick in this year's NHL Draft, was named Team Orr's player of the game with one goal and two assists.

Antoine Morand of the Acadie-Bathurst Titan had a good night as well, registering a goal and an assist for Team Cherry.

Top prospect Nolan Patrick of the Brandon Wheat Kings had two assists in the contest.

The annual event features the top NHL Draft prospects from across the CHL. This year's NHL Draft takes place June 23-24 in Chicago.

Some other news and notes...