Thursday, February 24, 2011
A TOUGH TRIP AHEAD
After Friday’s tilt against the Olympiques, the Sea Dogs travel to Victoriaville on Saturday and then close out the venture on Sunday in Shawinigan. Game time tomorrow night is 8:30 pm while the two other matches begin at 5:00 pm.
It will be a stiff test for Saint John. All three teams have above .500 records with the Tigres having the worst winning percentage at a fairly solid .559. Shawinigan sits sixth overall on the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League standings, Gatineau seventh, and Victoriaville ninth.
The Dogs sit comfortably atop the QMJHL standings with a nine-point lead over the Montreal Juniors with two games in hand. But Saint John will have to crank up the intensity level as all three squads should be pumped and ready to go. Although the three organizations have all clinched a playoff spot, all teams in the middle of the standings are jockeying for post-season positioning.
Saint John is currently on their hottest stretch of the season having won 14 straight and going 21 consecutive contests without losing in regulation. They are a decent hockey team.
Along with the winning streak, the weekend of action will provide some other interesting story lines. Tomorrow night, two of the league’s most dangerous offensive players in Saint John’s Jonathan Huberdeau and Gatineau’s Philip-Michael Devos will go head-to-head. Devos currently leads the QMJHL in scoring with 94 points while Huberdeau is third with 87.
On Saturday, the Dogs will travel to Victoriaville for the first time since the 2010 semi-finals. Saint John won the series 4-2, sending them to the President’s Cup final.
Finally, the trek will end Sunday afternoon as the Sea Dogs enter the Bionest Centre to play the Cataractes. These two teams met last Saturday at Harbour Station with Saint John prevailing by score of 7-3.
Of course, this match will see the two strongest bidders for the 2012 MasterCard Memorial Cup play each other. The Shawinigan media has been slamming the Sea Dogs of late, mainly about the drafting of Huberdeau saga. No clue what they might pull out of their hats this weekend.
As always, SN will have pre- and post-game coverage of every match as well as an in-game blog. Be there.