Friday, January 19, 2018

Game Day 44: vs Titan

SAINT JOHN - The Saint John Sea Dogs will look to end a six game losing streak tonight at Harbour Station.

The Sea Dogs are coming off a winless road trip through Quebec that saw them be outscored 18-4. Saint John will be underdogs again tonight, taking on the Acadie-Bathurst Titan. But, as we've seen over the past decade of Sea Dogs-Titan games, you just never know what is going to happen.

Game time this evening is 7 p.m.

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

Records: The Sea Dogs are 11-24-6-2 for 30 points (6th Maritimes, 17th QMJHL) while the Titan are 23-13-6-2 for 54 points (2nd Maritimes, 7th QMJHL).

Last games: The Sea Dogs are coming off an 8-1 loss in Rimouski on Sunday. Radim Salda scored Saint John's lone goal. Alex D'Orio allowed four goals on 25 shots in 40 minutes of action while Matt Williams allowed four goals on 15 shots in the third period. The Titan are coming off a 4-1 win in Quebec City on Sunday. German Rubtsov scored twice while singles came from Jeffrey Truchon-Viel and Noah Dobson. Evan Fitzpatrick made 26 saves in the win.

2017-18 head-to-head: The Sea Dogs are 1-3-0-0 against the Titan this season while Bathurst is 3-1-0-0 against Saint John.

Last meeting: Dec. 9 in Bathurst where the Titan defeated the Sea Dogs 5-2. Antoine Morand scored twice for Bathurst while singles came from Dawson Theede, German Rubtsov and Jeffrey Truchon-Viel. Cole Reginato and Ostap Safin scored for Saint John. Joseph Murdaca made 21 stops in the win and Matthew Williams made 30 saves in the loss.

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Tough stretch to continue

It has not been a fun stretch for the Saint John Sea Dogs.

The Sea Dogs have lost six straight games overall and have not won in regulation time since Nov. 26. Saint John has picked up some wins since that November victory, but all were in extra time.

The results the Sea Dogs have been generating are not overly surprising given their current roster. But, things may seem a bit worse than they appear since the team has not had a very favourable schedule of late.

Saint John had its toughest road trip of the season last weekend, taking on three teams that could all have deep playoff runs. They lost 5-2 in Victoriaville, 5-1 in Boisbriand and 8-1 in Rimouski, being outscored 18-4 during the three-game stretch.

Prior to that weekend trip, the Sea Dogs played the Oceanic and the Halifax Mooseheads (the league's top team) on home ice. Saint John's next few games won't be much easier, either, with matches against Bathurst (two), Halifax (two) and Quebec.

Here's a look at Saint John's next five games:

Friday, Jan. 19 vs Bathurst (23-13-6-2, 54 points)
Saturday, Jan. 20 vs Quebec (24-16-3-2, 53 points)
Friday, Jan. 26 at Bathurst (23-13-6-2, 54 points)
Saturday, Jan. 27 at Halifax (29-10-5-1, 64 points)
Sunday, Jan. 27 at Halifax (29-10-5-1, 64 points)

The good news for Saint John: the team's February schedule features some easier opponents. It'll interesting to see how this team - and some players - perform when playing teams that are closer to them in the standings.

Saint John is currently 11-24-6-2, placing them 17th overall. They are one point up on 18th-place Shawinigan and six points back of 16th-place Chicoutimi.

Monday, January 15, 2018

RECAP: Sea Dogs lose 8-1

FINAL: Saint John 1, Rimouski 8
RIMOUSKI, Que. - The Saint John Sea Dogs' rough road trip came to a rough end on Sunday.

The Sea Dogs were hammered 8-1 by the Rimouski Oceanic, giving Saint John their third loss on this three-game road trip through Quebec. The Dogs have now lose six straight overall.

Saint John was outscored 18-4 during this road trek, which saw the club play three of the league's top teams - Victoriaville, Blainville-Boisbriand and Rimouski - over a four-day span. Saint John's schedule doesn't get much easier over the next couple weeks with upcoming games against Bathurst, Quebec and Halifax.

Former Sea Dogs forward Samuel Dove-McFalls - who had three assists in a game against his former club just a couple weeks ago - recorded a hat trick on Sunday. Denis Mikhnin also had three goals while singles came from Alexis Lafreniere and Mathieu Bizier. Colten Ellis made 22 saves in the win.

Saint John's lone goal came in the first period from Radim Salda, a goal that tied the game at 1-1 for a short period.

The Oceanic led 2-1 after 20 minutes but a couple late second period goals and early third period goals by Rimouski gave the the homeside more than enough to get the victory.

Alex D'Orio allowed four goals on 25 shots through the first two periods. Matt Williams allowed four goals on 15 shots in the third period.

Sunday, January 14, 2018

Game Day 43: at Rimouski

RIMOUSKI, Que. - The Saint John Sea Dogs' three-game road trip comes to a close this afternoon in Rimouski.

The Sea Dogs have had a rough go so far on this trip, losing 5-2 in Victoriaville on Thursday and 5-1 in Boisbriand on Friday.

Puck drop is 4 p.m. this afternoon.

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

Records: The Sea Dogs are 11-23-6-2 for 30 points (6th Maritimes, 17th QMJHL) while the Oceanic are 27-11-4-0 for 58 points (1st East, 3rd QMJHL).

Last games: The Sea Dogs are coming off a 5-1 loss to the Armada in Boisbriand on Friday. Nick Deakin-Poot scored Saint John's lone goal. Alex D'Orio made 36 saves in the loss. The Oceanic are coming off a wild 8-6 home win over the last-place Shawinigan Cataractes last night. Ludovic Soucy, Samuel Dove-McFalls, Mathieu Bizier, Mathieu Nadeau, Dmitry Zavgorodniy, Alex-Olivier Voyer, Carson MacKinnon and Denis Mikhnin all scored. Jimmy Lemay allowed two goals on seven shots before being pulled. Colten Ellis made 21 saves in relief.

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

Last meeting: Jan. 3 at Harbour Station where the Oceanic defeated the Sea Dogs 6-1. Alexis Lafreniere scored twice for Rimouski while singles came from Charle-Edouard D'Astous, Yannik Bertrand, Parker Bowman and Carson MacKinnon. Kevin Gursoy scored Saint John's lone goal. Colten Ellis made 34 saves in the win. Alex D'Orio made 25 stops in the loss.

Ex-Sea Dogs on the Oceanic: Forward Samuel Dove-McFalls and defencemen Chase Stewart.

Friday, January 12, 2018

RECAP: Sea Dogs lose 5-1

FINAL: Saint John 1, Blainville-Boisbriand 5
BOISBRIAND, Que. - The St. John's Fog Devils Montreal Junior Blainville-Boisbriand Armada had little trouble with the Saint John Sea Dogs on Friday night.

The Sea Dogs recorded just 12 shots on goal - tying a franchise recorded for fewest shots in one game - in a 5-1 loss to the Armada at the arena-with-a-really-long-name.

The result wasn't overly surprising as the Sea Dogs and Armada sit on opposite ends of the QMJHL standings. Plus, Team Canada forward Drake Batherson was making his Boisbriand debut, playing on a loaded top line withe Alex Barre-Boulet and Alexandre Alain.

Barre-Boulet, the league's leading scorer, had two goals on Friday while Maxime Collin netted a hat trick.

The Armada led 3-0 after one. After jumping out to a three-goal lead, Boisbriand seemed to take their foot off the pedal just a bit and didn't press as hard. The result was never really in question.

Nick Deakin-Poot scored Saint John's lone goal - a weird third period goal that was banked off Armada netminder Emile Samson and in.

Samson made 11 saves in the win while Alex D'Orio made 36 stops in the loss.

Game Day 42: at Blainville-Boisbriand

BOISBRIAND, Que. - A 2017 President Cup final rematch takes place tonight at the arena-with-a-really-long-name.

The Saint John Sea Dogs will play the second match of a three-game road trip this evening against the Blainville-Boisbriand Armada. The Sea Dogs began their road trip with a 5-2 loss in Victoriaville last night.

Game time this evening is 8:30 p.m.

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

Records: The Sea Dogs are 11-22-6-2 for 30 points (6th Maritimes, 17th QMJHL) while the Armada are 27-9-2-1 for 57 points (1st West, 2nd QMJHL).

Last games: The Sea Dogs are coming off a 5-2 loss in Victoriaville last night. Cole Reginato and Ben Reid scored for Saint John while Matt Williams made 33 saves in the loss. The Armada are coming off a 3-2 shootout loss in Rimouski on Wednesday. Alex Barre-Boulet and Alexandre Alain scored for the Armada. Mikhail Denisov made 20 stops in the loss.

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

Last meeting: Oct. 7 at Harbour Station where the Armada pounded the Sea Dogs 8-1. Alexander Katerinakis scored two goals for Blainville-Boisbriand while singles came from Ryan DaSilva, Anthony Poulin, Connor Bramwell, Jan Hladonik, Thomas Ethier and Charles-Antoine Giguère. Saint John's lone goal came from Daniel Hardie. Emile Samson made 27 saves in the win. Alex D'Orio was pulled after allowing five goals on 15 shots. Matt Williams allowed four goals on 19 shots in relief.

RECAP: Sea Dogs lose 5-2

FINAL: Saint John 2, Victoriaville 5
VICTORIAVILLE, Que. - The Saint John Sea Dogs struggled to get much going offensively in a Thursday night loss to one of the league's best lineups.

The Sea Dogs registered just 18 shots on goal - six in each period - in a 5-2 loss to the Victoriaville Tigres at Colisee Desjardins.

The Tigres scored two quick goals halfway through the first period and never lost momentum from there. Victoriaville added another goal early in the second period to take full control of the game.

Maxime Comtois - in his first game back from the World Junior Hockey Championship - scored twice while singles came from Felix Lauzon, Jeremie Beaudin and Vitalii Abramov.

The Sea Dogs avoided Etienne Montpetit in net, instead facing backup Tristan Cote-Cazenave. Saint John didn't test Cote-Cazenave all that much, forcing him to make 16 saves in the win.

Saint John goals came from Cole Reginato and Ben Reid. Matt Williams made 33 saves in the loss.

Thursday, January 11, 2018

Game Day 41: at Victoriaville

VICTORIAVILLE, Que. - The Saint John Sea Dogs begin a very difficult road trip tonight in Victoriaville.

In terms of mileage, the trip isn't too bad. In terms of opposition, this will likely be Saint John's toughest trip of the season, making stops in Victoriaville, Blainville-Boisbriand and Rimouski over a four-day span.

Game time tonight at Colisee Desjardins is 8 p.m.

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

Records: The Sea Dogs are 11-21-6-2 for 30 points (6th Maritimes, 17th QMJHL) while the Tigres are 19-15-4-2 for 44 points (3rd East, 10th QMJHL).

Last games: The Sea Dogs are coming off a 5-4 overtime loss to the Halifax Mooseheads on Saturday at Harbour Station. Luke Wilson, Ostap Safin, Anthony Boucher and Radim Salda all scored for Saint John. Alex D'Orio made 34 saves in the loss. The Tigres are coming off a 2-1 overtime loss the Sherbrooke Phoenix on home ice on Sunday. Felix Lauzon scored Victoriaville's lone goal. Etienne Montpetit made 25 stops in the loss.

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

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

Last meeting: Feb. 17, 2017 at Colisee Desjardins where the Sea Dogs defeated the Tigres 7-3. Julien Gauthier scored twice for Saint John in that game while singles came from Chase Stewart, Matthew Highmore, Mathieu Joseph, Bokondji Imama and Oliver Felixson. Bradley Lalonde, Alexandre Goulet and Lucas Thierus scored for Victoriaville. Callum Booth made 21 saves in the win. James Povall made 16 saves in just under 28 minutes of action in the loss. Tristan Cote-Cazenave made 14 saves in relief.

Monday, January 8, 2018

Sea Dogs announce updated roster

SAINT JOHN - After several weeks of wondering who is staying and who is going, the Saint John Sea Dogs announced the 25-man roster that the team will carry for the remainder of the 2017-18 season.

There are a few notable additions to Saint John's regular roster. The team's top prospects - Kevin Mason, Luke Wilson and Brendan Sibley - are all here to stay. Ben Reid and Aiden MacIntosh are also sticking around, leaving the MHL's St. Stephen Aces.
Defenceman Tyler Hungerbuhler, who signed with the team last week, will also be joining the club.

The additions make Saint John a much younger team, which is probably a good thing given this is the beginning of a rebuild. Sibley, Wilson and MacIntosh are all 2001-born players.

The team's roster announcement also confirms that defenceman Samuel Duchesne has been claimed off waivers by the Chicoutimi Sagueneens. In a press release, it's noted that, "since Dec. 12, the Sea Dogs have acquired 12 draft picks, including three first-round selections and three second-round choices."

Sunday, January 7, 2018

Report: Duchesne picked up by Sags

Samuel Duchesne is now a member of the Chicoutimi Sagueneens.

According to Saguneeens reporter Jonathan Hudon, Chicoutimi claimed Duchense off waivers today.
The Sea Dogs added Duchesne as a free agent this year. The Brampton, Ont. native had spent the previous two seasons in the OHL with the Flint Firebirds.

This season with Saint John, Duchesne had one assist in 28 games. He appeared in yesterday's 5-4 overtime loss to the Halifax Mooseheads.

Duchesne turns 19 in May, and the Sea Dogs likely want to give some of the younger defencemen - like a Brendan Sibley - more ice time as the season winds down.

The Sea Dogs and Sagueneens do not meet again this season.

Saturday, January 6, 2018

RECAP: Sea Dogs lose 5-4 (OT)

FINAL: Halifax 5, Saint John 4 (OT)
SAINT JOHN - A strong effort wasn't quite enough for the Saint John Sea Dogs on Saturday night at Harbour Station, falling 5-4 in overtime to the Halifax Mooseheads.

The Sea Dogs were up 3-1 in the first period and then came back from a 4-3 third period deficit in the loss. It was a hard fought, back-and-forth game by the Sea Dogs, who are not doubt fairly pleased with how they performed against one of the league's top teams.

Ostap Safin and Radim Salda - playing their third game in as many days thanks to the world juniors - both scored in their return. Luke Wilson and Anthony Boucher also scored for Saint John. Alex D'Orio was solid once again in net, making a few spectacular saves - particularly in the first period.

Brett Crossley scored twice for Halifax while singles came from Benoit-Olivier Groulx, Jared McIsaac and Raphael Lavoie. The Mooseheads pulled goaltender Alexis Gravel after he allowed three goals on 11 shots in 16:35 of action. The move paid off and Blade Mann-Dixon made 25 stops in relief.

Hardie traded to Charlottetown

SAINT JOHN - The Saint John Sea Dogs may have some offensive troubles in the second half.

After trading captain Joe Veleno a few weeks, the Sea Dogs traded another one of their top point getters on Saturday, dealing Daniel Hardie to the Charlottetown Islanders in exchange for three draft picks.

In return for Hardie, Saint John receives a 2018 fourth-round pick (previously belonging to the Gatineau Olympiques), a 2018 fifth-round pick and a conditional 2020 fifth-round pick.

Hardie was the team's second leading scorer (third if you include Veleno) with 12 goals and 18 assists in 37 games. He led the team in goals for much of the first half.
The 19-year-old forward was acquired from the Rimouski Oceanic in August (along with Alexis Girard) in the deal that saw Chase Stewart and an eight-round pick go the other way.

Despite putting up solid numbers, Hardie was a healthy scratch at times this season. While the return isn't huge, Hardie's age certainly doesn't align with Saint John's rebuild.

Seeing Hardie traded isn't a big surprise, but it is still surprising to see the Sea Dogs hang on to so many players in a rebuilding season. There's always the trading period at June's draft, but this was not the complete tear down many expected.

Game Day 40: vs Mooseheads

SAINT JOHN - The Halifax Mooseheads are in town tonight to face the Saint John Sea Dogs at 7 p.m.

Both teams will be missing some key players due to the World Junior Hockey Championship. Three players: Filip Zadina, Ostap Safin and Radim Salda will (presumably) all be out of the lineup after playing with the Czech Republic at this year's tournament.

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

Records: The Sea Dogs are 11-21-5-2 for 29 points (6th Maritimes, 17th QMJHL) while the Mooseheads are 24-10-4-1 for 53 points (1st Maritimes, 2nd QMJHL).

Last games: The Sea Dogs are coming off a 6-1 home loss to the Rimouski Oceanic on Wednesday. Kevin Gursoy scored Saint John's lone goal. Alex D'Orio made 25 saves in the loss. The Mooseheads are coming off a 4-3 overtime win in Moncton on Tuesday. Raphael Lavoie, Benoit-Olivier Groulx, Maxime Fortier and Jocktan Chainey all scored for Halifax. Blade Mann-Dixon made 28 saves in the victory.

2017-18 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: Nov. 25 at Harbour Station where the Mooseheads defeated the Sea Dogs 7-1. Arnaud Durandeau had a hat trick in that game while singles came from Benoit-Olivier Groulx, Walter Flower, Filip Zadina and Connor Moynihan. Kevin Gursoy scored Saint John's lone goal. Blade Mann-Dixon made 30 saves in the win. Matthew Williams made 14 stops through 40 minutes of play. Joel Goguen 11 saves in the third period.

Czechs finish fourth at WJC

It was a disappointing end to the World Junior Hockey Championship for Ostap Safin, Radim Salda and the Czech Republic, but the team still managed to have their best finish since 2005.

The Czechs were defeated handily by the host United States in Friday's bronze medal game, falling 9-3. The game was never really close, but either way, the fourth place finish is the best for the Czechs since placing third at the 2005 tournament in Grand Forks.

Safin played very little again, not seeing any ice time in the first period and a total of 8:42 in the final two periods. He played just 4:43 in the team's semifinal loss to Canada on Thursday. He finished the tournament with a goal, two assists, six penalty minutes and 13 shots in seven games.

Salda finished the tournament pointless, but seemed to have his role increased as the tournament moved along.

Safin and Salda were the only two Saint John Sea Dogs taking part in this year's tournament.

Canada defeated Sweden 3-1 in Friday's gold medal game. The team featured Drake Batherson and Maxime Comtois from the QMJHL.

Friday, January 5, 2018

Sea Dogs sign Hungerbuhler; Leblanc traded

SAINT JOHN - The Saint John Sea Dogs made a couple roster moves on the eve of the QMJHL's trade deadline.

The team announced this evening that they've signed defenceman Tyler Hungerbuhler as a free agent. The 17-year-old attended Saint John's training camp but did not appear in any pre-season games.

Listed at 6’3″ and 183 lbs., the Rosemere, Que. native has five goals and 15 points in 30 games in his first season with the Montreal-Nord Arctic of the LHJAAAQ.

“We’re very happy to have Tyler commit to the Sea Dogs,” said Sea Dogs president and general manager Trevor Georgie. “We got to see him for a couple of days in training camp and he impressed us. He’s a right-handed shot and gives us another young option on the blueline.”

Meanwhile, in a deal the league has yet to confirm, the Sea Dogs have traded forward Samuel Leblanc to the Blainville-Boisbriand Armada in exchange for a sixth-round pick in the 2018 QMJHL Entry Draft.
Leblanc has been used sparingly by the Sea Dogs this season. He has appeared in 19 games, recording two assists.

The 18-year-old was a 13th-round pick of Saint John in the 2015 QMJHL Entry Draft. The Dieppe native appeared in 54 games with the club last season, registering seven goals and seven assists.

The QMJHL's trade deadline is tomorrow afternoon.

Thursday, January 4, 2018

Trading period nearing a close

SAINT JOHN - After opening the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League trading period with a bang, the Saint John Sea Dogs have been fairly quiet.

The Sea Dogs pulled off one of the biggest trades in recent QMJHL history on Dec. 19, sending captain Joe Veleno to the Drummondville Voltigeurs in exchange for five draft picks. The deal signalled that the Dogs were indeed entering a rebuild process - but they have yet to make any other major deals.

Saint John has made just two other trades since the Veleno deal, acquiring Yohan Plamondon from Val-d'Or and swapping Isiah Campbell for Tommy Da Silva with Cape Breton.

Following the Veleno deal, the Sea Dogs seemed poised to make more deals as they have done in past rebuilding years. The team has plenty of older players who could make an impact on teams that nearing the peak of their cycles.

Deals could still be made obviously, but the clock is ticking. The QMJHL's trading period ends on Saturday afternoon.

There have been a plethora of major deals going done over the past week in the QMJHL. The Acadie-Bathurst Titan have made the most noise in the Maritimes Division, acquiring Evan Fitzpatrick, Olivier Galipeau and Mitchell Balmas.

The Charlottetown Islanders, meanwhile, continue to be the biggest surprise in the CHL this season. They've made a few smart moves, picking up Derek Gentile and Cameron Askew. The team also got forward Brett Budgell, a second-round pick last June, to join the club for the second half.

Victoriaville has also made a few big trades while the Blainville-Boisbriand Armada are expected to acquire Cape Breton's Drake Batherson following the completion of the world juniors.

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

RECAP: Sea Dogs lose 6-1

FINAL: Rimouski 6, Saint John 1
Embed from Getty Images
SAINT JOHN - Things were going well for the Saint John Sea Dogs on Wednesday night - until they weren't.

Saint John was playing well against one of the league's top teams and were enjoying a 1-0 lead in the second period thanks to a Kevin Gursoy goal. But the Rimouski Oceanic's wave of offence in the final few minutes of the middle frame proved to be the difference.

Charle-Edouard D'Astous scored at 14:19, Yannik Bertrand scored at 16:03 and then Parker Bowman scored at 16:21 to quickly give Rimouski a 3-1 advantage and grab all of the momentum. Alexis Lafreniere scored twice in the third period and Carson MacKinnon added a solo marker to make it a 6-1 Oceanic win over the Sea Dogs at Harbour Station.

Colten Ellis made 34 saves in the victory.

Saint John had a glorious opportunity late in the second when D'Astous was given a five-minute major and game misconduct for a hit to the head on Matt Green. The Dogs had another five minute power play in the third when Bertrand was given a game misconduct for a hit to the head on Daniel Hardie. But the Sea Dogs were unable to get much going against the league's best penalty kill unit.

Alex D'Orio played well again - especially in the first period - making 25 stops in the loss.

Sea Dogs acquire Da Silva

SAINT JOHN - The Saint John Sea Dogs acquired some goaltending depth on Wednesday.

The Sea Dogs acquired netminder Tommy Da Silva and a 2018 eighth-round pick from the Cape Breton Screaming Eagles in exchange for forward Isiah Campbell.

Da Silva, 16, was the top goaltender selected in the 2017 QMJHL Entry Draft, taken 36th overall. He has spent this season with College Charles-Lemoyne Riverains of the Quebec Midget AAA Hockey League where he has recorded a 4-9 record with a 3.97 goals-against average and a .890 save percentage.

A La Prairie, Que. native, Da Silva played with Canada Red at this year's World Under-17 Hockey Challenge.

“We’re very happy to acquire a player we see as a top goalie prospect,” said Sea Dogs president and general manager Trevor Georgie in a press release. “Hockey Canada placed Tommy among the six best 2001-born goalies in the country by having him compete in the Under-17 program. We’re going to be patient with him, and work on developing him into a key contributor for us going forward.”

It's unclear at this point when Da Silva will join the club (if he does at all this season). Either way, the addition adds some much needed depth to Saint John's goaltending pipeline.

Campbell was a third-round pick of the Sea Dogs in the 2016 QMJHL Entry Draft and has appeared in 35 games with the club over two seasons. The 17-year-old has recorded two goals and six assists in his QMJHL career.

Game Day 39: vs Oceanic

SAINT JOHN - Some familiar faces will make their return to Harbour Station tonight.

Samuel Dove-McFalls and Chase Stewart are in town to take on the Saint John Sea Dogs this evening. It's the first meeting of the season between the two and the only one that will take place in Saint John. Game time is 7 p.m.

Along with a trio of former Sea Dogs, the Oceanic are headlined by Alexis Lafreniere, who was the top overall pick in last June's QMJHL Entry Draft, which was held in Saint John.

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

Records: The Sea Dogs are 11-20-5-2 for 29 points (6th Maritimes, 17th QMJHL) while the Oceanic are 23-10-4-0 for 50 points (1st East, 3rd QMJHL).

Last games: The Sea Dogs are coming off a 5-1 loss in Moncton on Sunday. Kevin Gursoy scored Saint John's lone goal while Alex D'Orio made 34 saves in the loss. The Oceanic are coming off a 6-1 home win on Sunday over the Quebec Remparts. Alexis Lafreniere scored twice while singles came from Yannick Bertrand, Dmitry Zavgorodniy, Carson MacKinnon and Alex-Olivier Voyer. Colten Ellis made 26 saves in the victory.

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

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

Last meeting: March 29, 2017 in Rimouski when the Sea Dogs completed a four-game first round sweep of the Oceanic with a 4-3 victory. Thomas Chabot, Kyle Ward, Matthew Highmore and Simon Bourque scored for Saint John. Carson MacKinnon, Samuel Laberge and Alex-Olivier Voyer scored for Rimouski. Callum Booth made 13 stops in the win. Charles-Olivier Levesque made 42 saves in the loss.

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

Czech Republic advances to semifinals

BUFFALO - The Czech Republic isn't done yet.

Ostap Safin, Radim Salda and the Czechs have advanced to the semifinals of the 2018 World Junior Hockey Championship thanks to a 4-3 shootout win over Finland on Tuesday afternoon.

The Czechs will play Canada in Thursday's semifinal.

Safin, who was placed on the team's fourth line, played just six total minutes on Tuesday and didn't take a single shift in the third period or overtime, according to the IIHF box score. He was held off the scoresheet and did not record a shot on net.

Salda, meanwhile, registered one shot in 26:11 of ice time.

Filip Zadina of the Halifax Mooseheads was the hero on Tuesday, scoring twice in the game. The 2018 NHL Draft prospect has five goals and an assist in five games.

Neither the Czechs nor the Finns had a great tournament heading into Tuesday's match, but this will go down as an upset. The Czechs will obviously need to play a spectacular game on Thursday to advance to Friday's gold medal game. Canada defeated the Czech Republic 9-0 in pre-tournament play - although the Czechs did not have their fill lineup for that contest.

Photo: IIHF

Monday, January 1, 2018

Czechs to play Finland in quarterfinals

BUFFALO - The Czech Republic begins the medal round of the 2018 World Junior Championship tomorrow.

Ostap Safin, Radim Salda and the Czechs finished group play with a 3-1 record, defeating Russia, Belarus and Switzerland. Their only loss came against Sweden. None of the team's wins came easy and goaltending is certainly a question mark moving forward.

The Czech Republic will play Finland at 1 p.m. on Tuesday in the first quarterfinal game of the tournament.

Finland finished group play with a 2-2 record.

Safin has a goal and two assists through four games at the tournament. Salda has been held pointless.

The other quarterfinals will feature Canada playing Switzerland, Sweden taking on Slovakia and the United States facing Russia.

RECAP: Sea Dogs lose 5-1

FINAL: Saint John 1, Moncton 5
MONCTON - The Saint John Sea Dogs closed out 2017 with a 5-1 loss to the Moncton Wildcats on Sunday afternoon.

In the Sea Dogs' final regular season game at the Moncton Coliseum, Kevin Gursoy scored the lone goal, a first period marker that came with the team already down 3-0.

Saint John got off to a rough start on Sunday and never recovered. Jeremy McKenna scored shorthanded just 2:57 into the game and then Jakob Pelletier and Adam Capannelli scored just over a minute apart later on.

McKenna scored his second of the game at 1:17 of the third and then Daniil Miromanov made it a 5-1 final by scoring at 11:47.

Both of McKenna's goals were scored while shorthanded. Saint John's power play had a very rough day, scoring on just one of 11 opportunities. Moncton went 0/8 on the man advantage.

Mark Grametbauer made 19 saves in the win. Alex D'Orio made 34 stops in the loss.