Thursday, March 30, 2017

RECAP: Sea Dogs win 4-3

FINAL: Saint John 4, Rimouski 3
RIMOUSKI, Que. - The Saint John Sea Dogs are moving on.

Simon Bourque's goal with 3:18 remaining in the third period proved to be the winner in a 4-3 Sea Dogs victory over the Rimouski Oceanic, completing a four-game opening round sweep. It was a far from perfect performance by the Sea Dogs, who never led in the game before Bourque's goal.

Thomas Chabot, Kyle Ward and Matthew Highmore also scored for Saint John, who outshot the Oceanic 46-16. Callum Booth made 13 saves in the win.

Carson MacKinnon, Samuel Laberge and Alex-Olivier Voyer scored for Rimouski. Charles-Olivier Levesque made 42 stops in the loss.

To the notes...
  • The Oceanic scored shorthanded at 5:46, making it 1-0. MacKinnon fired a shot on net that Booth wasn't quite able to glove, giving the home side an early advantage.
  • Chabot tied the game on a power play at 15:26, ripping a quick wrist shot past the glove of Levesque.
  • Near the midway point of the second, and with Saint John on a power play, Booth made a huge pad save off Tyler Boland to keep the game tied.
  • Saint John's struggles continued at 12:23 when Laberge made it 2-1 Oceanic on a delayed penalty call. Tyler Boland slid the puck through the crease to an open Laberge to put Rimouski back in front.
  • Ward scored at 15:10 to even things at 2-2, beating Levesque upstairs with a blistering shot.
  • The Oceanic retook the lead at 16:33 when Voyer beat Booth up high. That made it 3-2 Oceanic. 
  • Saint John created some excellent offensive pressure early in the third period but could not connect.
  • The Sea Dogs continued to pour the pressure on and finally scored at 11:41. Joseph made a nice play to get the puck into the crease where Highmore finished it off, tying the match at 3-3.
  • With 3:18 to go, Bourque fired a shot off the boards that bounced back in front and beat Levesque, giving Saint John a 4-3 advantage.

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Playoffs Game Day: Game 4 at Rimouski

The Saint John Sea Dogs can advance to the second round of the President Cup playoffs with a victory over the Rimouski Oceanic tonight. Game time for Game 4 is 8:30 p.m. in Rimouski.

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

Series status: The Sea Dogs lead the first round best-of-seven series 3-0.

Last game: The Sea Dogs won Game 4 last night in Rimouski by score of 5-2. Bokondji Imama scored twice for Saint John while singles came from Jakub Zboril, Matthew Highmore and Joe Veleno. Denis Mikhnin and Nico Blachman had goals for the Oceanic. Callum Booth made 10 saves in the win. Alexandre Lagace made 33 stops in the loss.

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

Ex-Sea Dogs on the Oceanic: Forward Nico Blachman and defenceman Vincent Martineau.

Random stat: The Sea Dogs have swept seven playoff series in their history. The last came in the final round of the 2012 playoffs against none other than the Oceanic.

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

RECAP: Sea Dogs win 5-2

FINAL: Saint John 5, Rimouski 2
RIMOUSKI, Que. - The Saint John Sea Dogs are one win away from advancing to the second round of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League playoffs.

The Sea Dogs took a 3-0 lead in their first round series against the Rimouski Oceanic on Tuesday, recording a 5-2 win at Colisée Financière Sun Life. Saint John can complete the sweep with a win in Game 4 Wednesday night.

Bokondji Imama had a pair of goals for Saint John while singles came from Jakub Zboril, Matthew Highmore and Joe Veleno. Callum Booth had a quiet night in net, only facing 12 shots in the win.

Denis Mikhnin and Nico Blachman responded for the Oceanic. Alexandre Lagace made 33 stops in the loss.

To the notes...
  • Early in the first period, Cole Reginato and Blachman had a long, eventful fight. Reginato returned to the game for a short time but eventually left and did not return.
  • Zboril opened the scoring on a power play at 9:51 when a shot went off a Rimouski player's leg and past Lagace.
  • Rimouski quickly tied the game at 11:58 - on their first shot of the game. After a Sea Dogs turnover, Mikhnin showed some nice patience and beat Booth from a sharp angle.
  • Imama gave the Sea Dogs a 2-1 lead at 5:49 of the second. The 20-year-old forward entered into the zone with the puck and had a step on the Rimouski defence, eventually firing a hard wrist shot past Lagace.
  • Highmore made it 3-1 Saint John at 8:35. Mathieu Joseph centred the puck to Highmore in front, who got enough of the puck to chip it off Lagace's stick and up-and-over the Rimouski netminder.
  • Shots were 15-3 in favour of the Sea Dogs in the second period.
  • Just 2:01 into the third, Blachman, who was along the goal line, banked a shot off Booth and in, cutting Saint John's lead to 3-2.
  • Veleno got Saint John's two-goal lead back at 8:24. After a point shot from Thomas Chabot couldn't be gloved by Lagace, Veleno put in the rebound.
  • Just 25 seconds later, Imama netted his second of the match - potting the puck past a scrambling Lagace - to give the Dogs a 5-2 advantage. 
  • Current Sea Dog and former Oceanic captain Simon Bourque was honoured before the game.
  • The Sea Dogs allowed just 12 shots against in this game, which is a franchise playoff low, according to Tim Roszell. The previous team record was 15.
  • Saint John scored their first power play goal of the playoffs.
  • Blachman's goal was his first ever playoff goal and just the fifth of his QMJHL career.
  • Zboril returned to the Saint John lineup after missing the first two games of the series with an upper body injury.

Playoffs Game Day: Game 3 at Rimouski

The Saint John Sea Dogs look to take a commanding 3-0 series lead in their first round matchup with the Rimouski Oceanic tonight. Puck drop for tonight's Game 3 is 8:30 p.m. at Rimouski's Colisée Financière Sun Life.

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

Series status: The Sea Dogs lead the first round best-of-seven series 2-0.

Last game: The Sea Dogs won Saturday's Game 2 at Harbour Station by a score of 4-1. Thomas Chabot scored two goals for Saint John while singles came from Bokondji Imama and Mathieu Joseph. Tyler Boland scored Rimouski's lone goal. Callum Booth made 17 saves in the win. Alexandre Lagace made 32 saves in the loss.

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

Ex-Sea Dogs on the Oceanic: Forward Nico Blachman and defenceman Vincent Martineau.

Random stat: Saint John had the league's best power play throughout the regular season but has gone cold so far in the playoffs. They are 0-for-5 in the first two games of this series.

Monday, March 27, 2017

Chabot, Flynn nominated for awards

Two members of the Saint John Sea Dogs have been nominated for QMJHL awards.

Thomas Chabot has been nominated for the Émile "Butch" Bouchard Trophy, which is awarded annually to the league's top defenceman.

Chabot, who started the year with the Ottawa Senators, recorded 10 goals and 45 points in 34 games with Saint John. He missed the start of the year while with the Sens and another month while playing with Team Canada at the world juniors.

Guillaume Brisebois of the Charlottetown Islanders and Samuel Girard of the Shawinigan Cataractes have also been nominated. Girard led all QMJHL skaters in assists this season with 66 in 59 games.

The last Sea Dog to win the top defenceman award was Simon Despres in 2011.

Behind the bench, Danny Flynn has been nominated for the Ron-Lapointe Trophy, which is awarded annually to the league's top coach.

Gilles Bouchard of the Rouyn-Noranda Huskies and Joël Bouchard of the Blainville-Boisbriand Armada are the other nominees. Interestingly, Gilles Bouchard won the award last season while  Joël Bouchard won the previous year.

Flynn previously won the award in 2009 while with the Moncton Wildcats. Gerard Gallant was the last Sea Dogs head coach to win the honour, claiming the trophy in 2010 and 2011.

The Golden Puck Awards will be held April 5 in Quebec City. The full list of nominees can be found here.

Saturday, March 25, 2017

RECAP: Sea Dogs win 4-1

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

SAINT JOHN – The Saint John Sea Dogs are hitting the road with a 2-0 series lead in their first round playoff matchup with the Rimouski Oceanic.

The Sea Dogs defeated the Oceanic 4-1 in Game 2 on Saturday night at Harbour Station. The game was close for much of the contest - unlike Game 1 - but the Sea Dogs pressed in the third period and secured the victory.

Games three and four of the series will be held in Rimouski next week. It will return to Saint John for Game 5, if needed.

Goal scorers for the Sea Dogs were Thomas Chabot (two), Bokondji Imama and Mathieu Joseph. Callum Booth was excellent when called upon, stopping 17 shots.

Replying for the Oceanic was Tyler Boland while Alexandre Lagace had a nice bounce back game, stopping 32 shots and keeping the Oceanic in it for much of the contest.

To the notes…

  • Imama got the Dogs on the board first at 5:09 of the opening period, jamming home a loose puck rebound in front of Lagace. 
  • Boland picked up his first goal of the playoffs later in the first period. After picking up his own rebound, Boland slid the puck past Booth at 16:21 to tie it at 1-1.
  • Chabot got the lead back for the Sea Dogs with a shorthanded marker at 5:47 of the second period, firing a point shot that was deflected off an Oceanic player and fluttered over Lagace.
  • Joseph provided a much needed insurance marker at 13:33 of the third period with a wrap around move that he was able to finish off, giving the Sea Dogs a 3-1 advantage.
  • Saint John sealed the victory when Chabot launched a shot from just in front of the Sea Dogs goal and into an empty at 19:44, making it a 4-1 final. 
  • Rimouski's Maxime Trepanier took a heavy hit from Chase Stewart in the second period and did not return.
  • The Sea Dogs' power play failed to connect for the second straight game, going 0-for-3. It is now 0-for-5 in the series.
  • Chabot is currently tied with Frederic Allard (Chicoutimi) for the most points by a defenceman in the playoffs with five in two games.