Wednesday, October 26, 2016

RECAP: Sea Dogs win 5-2

FINAL: Charlottetown 2, Saint John 5
Lorne Webster | SN Staff

SAINT JOHN – Spencer Smallman's first QMJHL hat trick was the key to a decisive 5-2 victory for the Saint John Sea Dogs over their division rivals from Charlottetown Wednesday evening at Harbour Station. 

In addition to Smallman's three goals and an assist, Bokondji Imama and Nathan Noel scored for the Sea Dogs.  Filip Chlapik and Pascal Aquin responded for the Islanders. Alex Bishop had 15 saves for the win while Matthew Welsh stopped 29 shots in defeat. 

The notes …
  • Smallman got the scoring started, on a power play at 4:45 of the first, when he unloaded a one-timer off a cross ice feed from Mathieu Joseph.
  • While shorthanded at 16:23 of the first, Chlapik intercepted a pass in his defensive zone, rushed the puck to the high slot and used the sole Sea Dog back as a screen to beat Bishop just over the shoulder to tie the game at 1-1.
  • Early in the second, while Charlottetown was down five men to three, Welsh made the save of the game with a lunging glove save on Joseph in tight.
  • At 14:47 of the second, Smallman finished off a tic-tac-toe play with Imama and Luke Green by snapping the puck past a sprawling Welsh. Credit to Cedric Pare for a solid dangle at the blue line to start off the play.
  • The visitors responded at 17:49 when Aquin's wrist shot past a defender, from the top of the right face-off circle, eluded Bishop to tie the game again at 2-2.
  • The hosts came out firing in the third and, at 1:46, Imama found himself all alone in front and made no mistake with a backhander to score the game-winning goal. Pare was a major figure once again with strong work in the corner to get the puck to Matt Green who, in turn, fed Imama.
  • There was a little controversy at 3:17 when a heavy Jakub Zboril point shot was deflected in front by Noel past Welsh. The Islanders argued that shot was redirected with a high stick.  But a video review was unable to overturn the call on the ice.  4-2 Sea Dogs.
  • At 6:37, a little more than a minute after Pare fired a laser off the cross bar, Smallman completed his hat trick when he took a short pass from Noel and unloaded a heavy wrist shot past Welsh to set the final at 5-2.
  • Chlapik - the Islanders leading scorer - showed tons of skill but also a bit of frustration, especially when he initiated a scrum by punching rugged Sea Dogs defenceman Chase Stewart. The Islanders were fortunate that the linesmen jumped in quickly to protect the star import.
  • In what is becoming an unsettling recurring theme, reports out of Ottawa stated that Sea Dogs star defenceman Thomas Chabot was - once again - a healthy scratch. UGH.
  • Cole Reginato was given an automatic one-game suspension for what the officials deemed to be a "staged fight" against Rouyn-Noranda on Saturday.
  • Saint John fans surely can appreciate just how bad the flu bug has been around the team recently, when reports surfaced that the Sea Dogs' ultimate warrior and ironman - David ('DK') Kelly - was unable to report for duty earlier this week. However, while still not fully recovered, DK was at his post again tonight. 

Joseph heading to Canada Russia Series

Saint John Sea Dogs forward Mathieu Joseph will play for the QMJHL all-star team at this year's Canada Russia Series event.

21 Canadians from the QMJHL were named to the team, which will take on a Russian junior squad on Nov. 15 in Chicoutimi and Nov. 17 in Baie-Comeau.

This is the second straight year Joseph has been named to the QMJHL team. He appeared in both games last year, scoring twice.

Joseph is off to a great start with Saint John this season, recording 12 goals and four assists in just 11 games.

The Canada Russia Series is used by Hockey Canada to help determine who gets invited to world junior camp. Thanks to his hot start, Joseph is no doubt on Team Canada's radar.

All six games of the series - which feature all-star teams from the WHL, OHL and QMJHL - will be broadcast nationally on Sportsnet and TVA Sports.

Photo: Marc Henwood/Station Nation

Game Day 14: vs Islanders

The Saint John Sea Dogs (8-4-1-0, 1st Maritimes, 3rd QMJHL) continue their five-game homestand tonight with a 7 p.m. matchup against the Charlottetown Islanders (7-5-1-0, 3rd Maritimes, 7th QMJHL) at Harbour Station.

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

Last games: The Sea Dogs are coming off a 5-1 loss to the Rouyn-Noranda Huskies at home on Saturday. Nathan Noel scored Saint John’s only goal. Alex Bishop and Alex D’Orio combined to allow five goals on 30 shots. The Islanders are coming off a 4-2 loss in Chicoutimi on Saturday. Chris Chaddock and Filip Chlapik scored for Charlottetown. Blade Mann-Dixon allowed four goals on 21 shots.

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

Last meeting: These two met on opening night at Eastlink Centre where the Islanders defeated the Sea Dogs 6-2. Mitchell Balmas and Jake Coughler each scored twice while singles came from Chris Chaddock and Kameron Kielly. Matthew Highmore and Samuel Leblanc scored for Saint John. Blade Mann-Dixon made 42 saves in the win while Alex Bishop made 19 in the loss.

Ex-Sea Dogs on the Islanders: Will Thompson and Blade Mann-Dixon.

Random stat: Former Sea Dogs goaltender Blade Mann-Dixon is 2-3-0-0 with a 3.66 GAA and .880 SV% so far this season.

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Veleno to miss U-17 tournament

Saint John Sea Dogs forward Joe Veleno has “withdrawn” from the World Under-17 Hockey Challenge, the team announced today.

According to a press release, Veleno is dealing with a lower body injury.

“Joe is disappointed and we are disappointed for him,” Sea Dogs president and general manager Trevor Georgie said in the release. “He was looking forward to playing in the Challenge a second time, and I know our organization and our fans were excited to see Joe on the world stage. In consultation with our medical staff, it was decided that Joe should rest and rehabilitate his injury here.”

Veleno was expected to suit up for Canada White at the event – the second straight year he had been named to Canada’s roster.

The 16-year-old exceptional forward was first injured in Saint John’s 3-2 overtime loss in Boisbriand on Oct. 12. He played this past Friday at home against Val-d’Or but missed Saturday’s match against Rouyn-Noranda.

Veleno was held scoreless in the Oct. 12 match and Friday’s. He’s been held pointless in just one other game this season, registering one goal and six assists in nine games.

Ryan Chyzowski of the Medicine Hat Tigers will replace Veleno on Canada White.

The Sea Dogs will still be represented at the tournament with assistant coach Paul Boutilier acting as head coach of Canada Black.

Photo: Marc Henwood/Station Nation

Sunday, October 23, 2016

RECAP: Sea Dogs lose 5-1

FINAL: Rouyn-Noranda 5, Saint John 1
By Lorne Webster | SN Staff

SAINT JOHN – The defending President’s Cup champions from Rouyn-Noranda earned a season split with Saint John by beating the Sea Dogs 5-1 in a hard fought contest at Harbour Station Saturday evening.

Evan MacKinnon, Peter Abbandonato, Jean-Christophe Beaudin, Gabriel Fontaine and Jeremy Diotte had the goals for the Huskies and Samuel Harvey made 29 saves. Nathan Noel was the lone Sea Dog to score in this game. Alex Bishop and Alex D'Orio combined for 25 saves.

The notes…
  • As part of the Rogers Hometown Hockey celebrations in Saint John this weekend, Tara Slone - Canadian rock vocalist and television personality - and Todd Hlushko - former Saint John Flame (where he was a teammate of Sea Dogs coach Jeff Cowan) and Team Canada player - dropped the ceremonial puck to kick-off the contest.
  • Cole Reginato and Samuel Naud were ejected early in the first period for what the officials deemed to be a "staged" fight.
  • Rouyn-Noranda did not register their first shot on goal until 10:54 of the first period. But the Huskies opened the scoring at 14:58 when MacKinnon - a 16 year-old rookie and former Dartmouth Major Midgets star - scored his first QMJHL goal off a backhand shot that squeaked past Bishop.
  • Bokondji Imama delivered the hit of the game late in the first when he plastered Huskies super pest Mathieu Boucher into the side boards with a hard, clean body check just outside the blue line.
  • Abbandonato banged a rebound through Bishop's legs at 4:05 of the second. And Beaudin one-timed a turnover past Bishop just over three minutes later to end the Sea Dogs senior goalie's night. Rookie netminder Alex D'Orio was called upon immediately after the Huskies third goal.
  • Seconds after Bailey Webster stopped a shot mere inches before crossing the goal line during a penalty kill, Luke Green was sprung for a breakaway as he left the box but the Winnipeg Jets prospect was stoned by Harvey.
  • At 14:55, Fontaine finished off a nice three-way passing play as he knifed a backhand deflection past D'Orio to extend Rouyn-Noranda's lead to 4-0.
  • The Sea Dogs got on the board during a power play at 16:50 of the second when Noel banged the rebound of a Luke Green blast past Harvey. The Sea Dogs were buzzing after Noel's goal but went into the second intermission down 4-1.
  • The Huskies showed why they are ranked among the top teams in the CHL with a solid, tight checking performance, especially throughout the third period. Both Harvey and D'Orio made several huge saves during the final frame as well. 
  • Diotte's point shot deflected off something in front of D'Orio with just over three minutes remaining to set the final score at 5-1 for the visitors.
  • Both teams were missing key players for this game. Thomas Chabot, Jeremy Lauzon, Jakub Zboril, Jacob Neveau, Joe Veleno and Alexandre Fortin were all unavailable. 
  • Many observers are expecting Rouyn-Noranda and Saint John to meet in either the semifinals or finals next spring. If so, a series between these two teams could be epic.
  • According to reports out of Ottawa, Sea Dogs star defenceman Thomas Chabot took the warmup with the Senators on Saturday night - but Chabot was a healthy scratch once again ... tick, tock, tick, tock ...
  • Huskies rookie defenceman Chris McQuaid is the younger brother of former Sea Dogs defenceman Alex McQuaid, as well as the cousin of Boston Bruin Adam McQuaid.
  • Both teams - especially their coaches - grew increasingly frustrated as referees Maurice LeBlanc and Tim Hamel allowed numerous cheap shots and late hits to go unpenalized. 

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Game Day 13: vs Huskies

The Saint John Sea Dogs (8-3-1-0, 1st Maritimes, 3rd QMJHL) take on the Rouyn-Noranda Huskies (8-1-0-1, 1st West, 2nd QMJHL) tonight at 7 p.m. at Harbour Station.

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

Last games: The Sea Dogs are coming off a 4-1 home win over the Val-d’Or Foreurs last night at Harbour Station. Mathieu Joseph scored twice while singles came from Cedric Pare and Matt Green. Alex D’Orio made 19 saves in the win. The Huskies are coming off a 4-2 win in Halifax last night. Peter Abbandonato scored twice while singles came from Antoine Waked and Philippe Myers. Samuel Harvey made 22 stops in the victory.

2016-17 head-to-head: The Sea Dogs are 1-0-0-0 against the Huskies while Rouyn-Noranda is 0-1-0-0 against Saint John.

Last meeting: Last Friday at Iamgold Arena where the Sea Dogs defeated the Huskies 4-2. Samuel Leblanc, Luke Green, Cedric Pare and Mathieu Joseph all scored for Saint John. Rouyn-Noranda goals came from Gabriel Fontaine. Alex Bishop made 18 saves in the win while Samuel Harvey made 17 in the loss.

Ex-Sea Dogs on the Huskies: None

Random stat: Saint John leads the league in shorthanded goals with five. Rouyn-Noranda is second with four.