WHO: PEI Rocket vs Saint John Sea Dogs
WHEN: Tonight, 7:30pm
WHERE: Harbour Station
(Editor’s Note: With the stats portion of the QMJHL website having been destroyed, the SN traditional pre-game is on hiatus until further notice.)
Four months ago today at the Moncton Coliseum, the Wildcats snatched the President's Cup away from from the Saint John Sea Dogs.
Tonight, the long road to redemption begins.
The PEI Rocket will take on the Sea Dogs at Harbour Station at 7:30 pm for the season opener for both teams. The 2010-11 Quebec Major Junior Hockey League season began last night with the Acadie-Bathurst Titan defeating the Wildcats 2-1 in a shootout.
The Rocket finished the pre-season with a 4-1-0-1 record while Saint John finished 2-4. The two teams met once in exhibition play, with the Rocket coming out on top 5-1 at the Charlottetown Civic Centre.
Their last meeting that had meaning was in Game Five of the opening round of the 2010 QMJHL playoffs. Tomas Jurco scored in overtime to push Saint John into the next round.
“A healthy rivalry has developed between the Sea Dogs and Rocket in recent years, a trend which will undoubtedly carry over into Friday’s intradivisional showdown,” states the Sea Dogs website. “Saint John has won twenty of the 34 games played between these two teams over the course of the last five seasons, outscoring P.E.I. 139-129 in the process. The Sea Dogs have also eliminated the Rocket from playoff contention twice in the last three post-seasons, needing only nine games to take the two best-of-seven opening round series (in 2008 & 2010 respectively).”
AWAY AT CAMP
Saint John will be without defenseman Simon Despres and forwards Steven Anthony, Mike Thomas, Stanislav Galiev, and Stephen MacAulay who are way at National Hockey League Rookie and Training Camps and will not play tonight.
According to the Charlottetown Guardian, Brad Yetman (concussion) is out as is Nestrasil (Detroit Red Wings), defencemen Matthew Hobbs (Ottawa Senators) and Adam Polasek (Vancouver Canucks) and winger Philippe Paradis (Chicago Blackhawks), who are attending NHL camps.
Karel St. Laurent is likely to get the start in goal for the Sea Dogs tonight.
Evan Mosher will start for the Rocket.
There will be a special pre-game banner raising tonight to celebrate the Sea Dogs’ 2010 Atlantic Division and QMJHL Regular Season Championship.
The first 5,000 fans inside Harbour Station will receive a free Sea Dogs banner magnet.
The retrofitted Harbour Station score clock, featuring a high definition video board, will make its debut tonight.
Sea Dogs President Wayne Long said on News 88.9 this morning that a kiss and dance cam will be featured on the state-of-the-art center ice clock.
Long added, and we couldn’t agree more, that the new clock will completely change the Sea Dogs entertainment experience.
Last year, there really were no expectations. Almost half the team and bench staff were new to Saint John – but not this year.
The Sea Dogs will face the pressure of trying to meet expectations that have been placed on them.
The Hockey News expects the Dogs to finish first overall in the QMJHL and third in the Canadian Hockey League. Yesterday, the Sea Dogs were selected by a group of NHL scouts as the second best team in the CHL prior to seasons start.
"I expect to see that again this season," said Sea Dogs head coach Gerard Gallant said about the team’s high powered offence last year to the Times & Transcript. "I think we have a lot of guys who can score goals. I think we're bigger and more gritty upfront than last season."
"For us to win a championship, we'll have to be a little better than we were last season and that's not going to be easy," said Gallant. "There's other very good teams. I think we're right in the mix with the best teams in the league and if we play to our potential we should be fine."
WHO ARE THESE ROCKET CHARACTERS?
You could call it a make or break year for the PEI Rocket. After a season that saw the team trade away their star players prior to the trade deadline, the Rocket could be back with a bang.
Additions to the team include Victor Provencher and Louick Marcotte who were first-round picks in the 2010 QMJHL draft. Marc-Andre Levesque, Jordan Moore, Jean-Laurence Beauchemin, Travis McIsaac, Philippe Paradis and Andrej Nestrasil were acquired in trades.
“We're going to be pretty big on defence and our team has more speed than last season," said P.E.I. general manager Serge Savard Jr to the Times & Transcript. "We also think we have one of the best goalies in the league in Evan Mosher."
"I think we're a balanced team," said Savard. "We're not excellent. I think we're okay everywhere. I don't think we have any weakness, but for sure we need to improve (to be a top contender). We should be in the top one-third of the league."
- This is the first time in three years that the Sea Dogs have started the season at home. The past two years the team has began the year in Bathurst.
- All-time, Saint John is 3-2 in season openers. They are 1-1 when opening the year on home ice.
Venue: Harbour Station
Seating Capacity: 6,297
Average Attendance: N/A
Year Built: 1993
QMJHL Arena Guide
Radio (Sea Dogs): News 88.9 FM
Live Web Feed: Telus
Live Blog: Station Nation
Post-Game Coverage: Station Nation, Telegraph-Journal, The Guardian
Follow Station Nation on Twitter at www.twitter.com/station_nation for in-game updates, scores, stats, and live coverage during tonight’s game. The SN Twitter stream will also will be featured on tonights live blog.
AFTER THE BUZZER
The Sea Dogs host the Cape Breton Screaming Eagles Saturday night at 7:00pm at Harbour Station.