Saturday, April 30, 2011

PRESIDENT'S CUP FINAL SCHEDULE

The Quebec Major Junior Hockey League has announced the schedule for the 2011 President’s Cup final. The Saint John Sea Dogs will play either the Gatineau Olympiques or the Quebec Remparts in this year’s league final.

The Remparts currently lead the Olympiques 3-2 in their semifinal series. Game Six is tomorrow night in Gatineau.

It’s a bit of an odd schedule compared to most series. Here are the dates for the best-of-seven final:

President Cup final schedule
Game 1 - Thursday, May 5 – Gatineau or Quebec at Saint John
Game 2 - Saturday, May 7 – Gatineau or Quebec at Saint John
Game 3 - Monday, May 9 – Saint John at Gatineau or Quebec
Game 4 - Wednesday, May 11 – Saint John at Gatineau or Quebec
Game 5 - Friday, May 13 – Gatineau or Quebec at Saint John
Game 6 - Sunday, May 15 – Saint John at Gatineau or Quebec
Game 7 - Monday, May 16 – Gatineau or Quebec at Saint John
Game One of the series will start at 7:00 pm according to the Harbour Station website. A league press release states “the times will be announced at a later date.”

Saint John, the No. 1 seed, has home ice advantage, of course. The Remparts are the No. 3 seed and the Olympiques No. 5.

Tickets to game One and Two are on sale now.

The winner of the series will advance to the MasterCard Memorial Cup which is being held in Mississauga, Ont. The QMJHL championship team will face the host Majors in the opening game of the tournament on Friday, May 20, at 8:00 pm.

TICKETS ON SALE TODAY

Tickets for the first two games of the 2011 President’s Cup final go on sale at noon today. Tickets can be purchased at the Harbour Station box office, online, or by phone.

Games One and Two will be hosted by the Saint John Sea Dogs who advanced to the final on Wednesday following a sweep of the Lewiston Maineiacs in the semifinals.

The Sea Dogs’ opponent has yet to be determined. The Quebec Remparts could have advanced with a victory last night but the Gatineau Olympiques won the match, 5-3, to force a Game Six on Sunday.

According to the Telegraph-Journal, “the President's Cup final will begin Wednesday in Saint John if the Remparts wrap up their semifinal Sunday. If a Game 7 is required Tuesday in Quebec City, the final will start Thursday in Saint John.”

Tickets to both games should sell quickly, but probably not as fast as last year’s insanity.

Friday, April 29, 2011

REMPARTS COULD ADVANCE TONIGHT

The Quebec Remparts can advance to the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League final with a victory tonight. The Remparts currently lead the Gatineau Olympiques 3-1 in their best-of-seven semifinal playoff series. Game Five goes down this evening at 8:00 pm at Colisee Pepsi.

Game Six, if necessary, would be Sunday in Gatineau. Game Seven would be Tuesday back in Quebec City.

The winner of the series will play the Saint John Sea Dogs in the President’s Cup final which will begin sometime next week at Harbour Station. The Sea Dogs advanced to the league final after sweeping the Lewiston Maineiacs is their semifinal matchup.

Quebec advanced to the semifinal after defeating the Val-d’Or Foreurs in four straight games in the first round. Then in the quarter-finals, the Remparts and Shawinigan Cataractes needed seven games before the winner could be decided.

Gatineau eliminated the Rimouski Oceanic in five games in round one and then downed the Drummondville Voltigeurs in six games in the second round.

Saint John and Quebec have never faced each other in the playoffs. The Sea Dogs are 2-0 against them this season with a 6-0 win a home and a 4-2 win on the road.

The Dogs and Olympiques have met once previously in the post-season. That came in last year’s quarter-finals where Saint John swept them in four games. The Sea Dogs won both games in the season series by scores of 5-2 and 4-3.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

FINALS TICKETS ON SALE SATURDAY


Tickets to Game One of the President’s Cup final will go on sale Saturday at noon at the Harbour Station box office, online, or by phone.

According to a Sea Dogs release, “Game 1 will be on Wednesday or Thursday at Harbour Station, pending the results of the other semifinal between the Gatineau Olympiques and Quebec Remparts.”

The Sea Dogs advanced to the final after completing a sweep of the Lewiston Maineiacs on Wednesday night at the Androscoggin Bank Colisee. It is the second straight year that the team has made the league final.

"Hopefully it's going to be real good, and we'd like the result to be different this time," Sea Dogs head coach Gerard Gallant said to the Lewiston Sun Journal after last night’s win. "We're going to have to work for it, and we're going to have to play a good team no matter who we play."

Saint John will play either the Remparts or the Olympiques. Entering Friday’s Game Five, Quebec leads the best-of-seven series 3-1.

If the Sea Dogs play Quebec, a bus trip to Game Six is being planned.

POSTSCRIPT: Sea Dogs 6, MAINEiacs 5

RECAP
LEWISTON, Me. – The Saint John Sea Dogs are heading back to the President’s Cup final.

The Sea Dogs advanced to the final after eliminating the Lewiston Maineiacs in a four game sweep in the semifinals. It was entertaining series and the two teams saved the best for last. In Game Four last night at the Androscoggin Bank Colisee, the Sea Dogs battled back from thee-goals down to win 6-5 and ultimately end the Maineiacs’ season.

It was a rough start for the Dogs and their starting goaltender, Mathieu Corbeil. Cameron Critchlow and Alex Zafiris both scored to give Lewiston a 2-0 lead just 2:43 in. That would be it for Corbeil who allowed two goals on two shots.

Jacob DeSerres came in in relief and also got off to a rough start. Olivier Dame-Malka scored on a wrist shot at 5:05 to extend the Maineiacs’ lead to 3-0.

Saint John finally got things straightened out at 7:07 as Zack Phillips scored to make it a two-goal game going into the second period.

In the middle frame, Nathan Beaulieu scored on an early power play to get the Dogs within one. But Lewiston responded quickly as Stefan Fournier scored at 3:44 to make it a 4-2 contest. The wildness continued as Scott Oke and Jonathan Huberdeau both scored solo markers to tie the match 4-4 heading into the final frame.

At 4:35 on a man advantage, Eric Gelinas let a bomb go that beat Maineiacs goaltender Andrey Makarov to put Saint John in front for the first time. But the lead was short lived as Pierre-Olivier Morin scored a little over a minute later to make it 5-5.

With 2:52 remaining in regulation, Stephen MacAulay scored his second game-winning goal of the series to give the Sea Dogs a 6-5 victory and series win.

SAINT JOHN SCRATCHES
Saint John continues to sport the same lineup. Forwards Aidan Kelly and Jason Cameron along with defenseman Jason Seed were all healthy scratches.

SEA DOGS MOVING ON

SN RECAP
FINAL: Sea Dogs 6, MAINEiacs 5

LEWISTON, Me. – A wild Game Four ended a wild semifinal playoff series against the Saint John Sea Dogs and the Lewiston Maineiacs.

Five minutes into the game and many were already making plans for a Game Five on Friday. But the Sea Dogs pulled off a huge comeback to win the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League match 6-5 and earn a 4-0 sweep in the series.

The victory means that, for the second straight season, the club advances to the President’s Cup Final where they will play the winner of the Quebec - Gatineau series.

It was a game that had a bit of everything. Just 5:05 into regulation there were three goals, a goaltending change, and a broken pane of glass. But Saint John battled back and finally tied it in the second period before pulling ahead in the third.

Zack Phillips, Nathan Beaulieu, Scott Oke, Jonathan Huberdeau, Eric Gelinas, and Stephen MacAulay all scored for winners. Mike Thomas had two assists. Mathieu Corbeil, who was unbelievable in Games Two and Three, was pulled after allowing two goals on two shots. His replacement, Jacob DeSerres, made some big stops to keep the Dogs in the game. He made 25 saves overall on the night.

Other than the terrible start, Saint John played a decent game. They certainly didn’t panic after going down by three. If there is anything we’ve come to realize about the 2010-11 edition of the Sea Dogs, it’s that a three-goal lead with 55 minutes left is not too big of a mountain to climb.

Lewiston was expected to come out flying in the opening frame - and they did just that. After all, it was their season on the line. But the Maineiacs, like in the first three games, just couldn’t keep the goals pumping like Saint John and kept giving them opportunities. They had plenty of chances throughout the game but just couldn’t cash in enough.

Lewiston had goals from Cameron Critchlow, Alex Zafiris, Olivier Dame-Malka, Stefan Fournier, and Pierre-Olivier Morin. Goaltender Andrey Makarov, making his first start of the post-season, allowed six goals on 31 shots.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

LIVE BLOG: Game 4 - Sea Dogs vs MAINEiacs

SEA DOGS NOTEBOOK

ON GALLANT
Michael Arace of the Columbus Dispatch had an interesting commentary on Sea Dogs head coach Gerard Gallant last week. Along with discussing his current role in Saint John, Arace writes about his time with the Columbus Blue Jackets.

"You know what? It was a great seven years there for me," Gallant said. "There was pressure, and maybe (the promotion to coach) happened a little earlier than it should have happened, but it was an excellent experience. I learned a lot from Dave King and Doug MacLean about video, preparation, practice plans and the like, and that was huge for a young coach."
One of the more interesting notes comes near the end of the article.

Gallant would like another crack at the NHL, but he is not getting ahead of himself. He is happy as of today, happy enough to have turned down at least two offers from American Hockey League teams. As Bowman can attest, when a coach can be selective about what comes next, he is in a good place.
ON THE HOT LIST
Kirill Kabanov’s hot play of late put him on The Hockey News’ Hot List on Tuesday. From THN:

Everyone’s favorite junior loose cannon has focused his ammunition at the opposition this spring and the Maineiacs are soaring because of it. Kabanov has posted seven goals and 18 points in 13 games for Lewiston and is looking like the potent offensive force he was once fawned over as.
DRAFT TRACKER
Buzzing The Net featured Sea Dogs forward Scott Oke in their draft tracker this week. On what scouts say he needs to improve on:

"Probably my physical game. I also have to work on my defensive awareness, there's always room to improve on that. I also see myself becoming a power forward, so I need to get bigger, stronger, learn to finish all my checks. I can produce offensively once I get there."
Oke has four assists in 11 playoff games.

PRE-GAME: Game Four at MAINEiacs

GAME DAY
Game Four, Round Three – President’s Cup Playoffs
Saint John Sea Dogs vs Lewiston MAINEiacs
Tonight, April 27, 2011 at 8:00 pm
Androscoggin Bank Colisee

PREVIEW
LEWISTON, Me. – It’s do or die for the Lewiston Maineiacs tonight at Androscoggin Bank Colisee.

The Maineiacs are down three-games-to-none in their best-of-seven semifinal playoff series against the Saint John Sea Dogs. If they are unable to pull off a victory tonight, their season will come to an end.

Lewiston played well last night and had control of the game quite a bit. But when they gave the Sea Dogs chances, they would capitalize. When Lewiston had opportunities, goaltender Mathieu Corbeil was there to make the stop.

The Maineiacs have kept all of the games failry close despite Saint John being up 3-0. They blew a two-goal third period lead in Game One and fell in overtime. In Game Two, the Sea Dogs won the match thanks to a five-minute power play. Then in Game Three, a quick start in the second period was all Saint John would need.

In last night’s game, Jonathan Huberdeau, Tomas Jurco, Ryan Tesink, Mike Thomas, and Stanislav Galiev all scored. Mathieu Corbeil was excellent in goal and made 28 saves for the win.

Kirill Kabanov and Christophe Lalonde scored for Lewiston. Nicholas Champion allowed four goals on 22 shots through 40 minutes. Andrey Makarov came in in relief and stopped all seven shots he faced.

The Maineiacs should come out flying this evening with their season on the line. They had a pretty good start last night as well but the Sea Dogs were able to weather that storm and eventually pull ahead with some quick second period goals.

Saint John will also want to try and stay out of the box. The Dogs took three penalties in the third period alone and gave Lewiston a total of seven power plays on the night. Although they have yet to allow a man advantage goal against on the road in the post-season, that will likely catch up with them eventually.

If Lewiston wins, there will be a Game Five on Friday at Harbour Station. A Saint John win, and it’s off to the President’s Cup Finals for the second straight year.

REGULAR SEASON NUMBERS

LewistonSaint John
Record40-24-1-3 (2nd East)58-7-1-2 (1st Maritimes)
Home Record- - -32-0-1-1
Road Record19-12-0-3- - -
Streak2-0-0-02-0-0-0
Last 104-4-1-18-2-0-0
Goals For265324
Goals Against223165
Goals/Game3.90 (3rd)4.76 (1st)
Goals Against/Game3.28 (10th)2.43 (1st)
Shots/Game36.81 (1st)36.81 (1st)
Shots Against/Game26.96 (5th)26.96 (5th)
Overall PP17.4% (13th)25.1% (6th)
Home PP- - -24.4% (8th)
Road PP17.7% (13th)- - -
Overall PK80.4% (6th)83.7% (1st)
Home PK- - -86.1% (1st)
Road PK80.1% (7th)- - -
PIM/GAME17.7 (1st)13.1 (13th)

POSTSCRIPT: Sea Dogs 5, MAINEiacs 2

RECAP
LEWISTON, Me. – The Saint John Sea Dogs have the Lewiston Maineiacs on the brink of elimination following a 5-2 victory last night at Androscoggin Bank Colisee. The Game Three win gave the Sea Dogs a 3-0 series lead.

The Maineiacs had the better of the chances in the opening frame although shots were at 10 apiece. Lewiston had some momentum going into the second period, but unfortunately for them, it wouldn’t last.

Just 1:56 into the second frame, Jonathan Huberdeau scored his 12th of the playoffs on the power play to give Saint John a 1-0 lead. The Dogs kept the pressure on and made it a 2-0 game at 3:14 as Tomas Jurco scored. Ryan Tesink blew it open at 7:01 and made it a 3-0 affair.

Kirill Kabanov scored at 11:23 to put Lewiston back within two. But just over seven minutes later, Mike Thomas added his second of the post-season at 18:26 to give the Dogs a 4-1 advantage entering intermission.

Lewiston replaced goaltender Nicholas Champion with Andrey Makarov to start the third period. Just 23 seconds in, Christophe Lalonde netted his first of the playoffs to put the Maineiacs back within two. But Saint John goaltender Mathieu Corbeil shut the door on the home team for the rest of the night and made sure the Maineiacs didn’t get within a goal.

Stanislav Galiev scored an empty net marker at 18:15 to make it a 5-2 final.

SAINT JOHN SCRATCHES
The Saint John lineup was the same for Game Three as it was for Game Two. Forwards Aidan Kelly and Jason Cameron along with defenseman Jason Seed were all healthy scratches.

MAINEIACS PUSHED TO THE BRINK

SN RECAP
FINAL: Sea Dogs 5, MAINEiacs 2

LEWISTON, Me. – The Saint John Sea Dogs are one win away from returning to the President’s Cup Finals.

The Sea Dogs took a commanding 3-0 series lead following a 5-2 victory in Game Three of their semifinal playoff series against the Lewiston Maineiacs. Game Four, which could be the final match of the series, is Wednesday night at 8:00 pm at Androscoggin Bank Colisee.

It was a hard fought, intense match that saw Sea Dogs capitalize on their chances when they had them. After a scoreless opening frame, Saint John jumped out to 3-0 and 4-1 leads in the second period. Lewiston put up a good battle in the third period but the Dogs would hang on for the victory.

Jonathan Huberdeau, Tomas Jurco, Ryan Tesink, Mike Thomas, and Stanislav Galiev all scored for the winners. Zack Phillips added three assists.

Goaltender Mathieu Corbeil – making his second straight start and third of the playoffs – was terrific in goal once again. The Columbus Blue Jackets prospect stopped 28-of-30 shots he faced and kept the momentum going in the Sea Dogs’ favour at key points during the game.

Lewiston had goals from Kirill Kabanov and Christophe Lalonde. Nicholas Champion allowed four goals on 22 shots before getting replaced by Andrey Makarov to start the third period. Makarov stopped all seven shots he faced.

Once again, the Maineiacs kept the game close and outplayed the Sea Dogs at times throughout the contest. But when Lewiston has given Saint John opportunities in this series, they have been able to convert on them.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

LIVE BLOG: Game 3 - Sea Dogs vs MAINEiacs

PRE-GAME: Game Three at MAINEiacs

GAME DAY
Game Three, Round Three – President’s Cup Playoffs
Saint John Sea Dogs vs Lewiston MAINEiacs
Tonight, April 26, 2011 at 8:00 pm
Androscoggin Bank Colisee

PREVIEW
LEWISTON, Me. – The semifinal playoff series between the Saint John Sea Dogs and Lewiston Maineiacs shifts to the United States if America this evening for Game Three. The Sea Dogs currently lead the best-of-seven matchup 2-0.

A Sea Dogs win will give them a stranglehold on the series while a Maineiacs victory will make things little bit more interesting. The winner of this game could carry a lot of the momentum moving forward.

Saint John battled back to take Game One by score of 5-4 in overtime on Friday at Harbour Station. Game Two was a much better game for the Sea Dogs as they beat the visitors 4-1 thanks in most part to three goals on the same power play.

The Sea Dogs played a solid game on Saturday and they will look for a similar outing tonight. The top-ranked team in Canada sat back a little bit in the third period of Game Two, but the first two periods were typical Sea Dogs hockey.

Lewiston hasn’t played horribly in this series and they certainly have the ability to comeback from two games down. The Quebec Major Junior Hockey League’s lone American franchise had the Sea Dogs on the ropes in Game One but weren’t able to pull it off. They didn’t play all that bad in Game Two, either, but their penalty woes got them in trouble.

Now on home ice, the Maineiacs will look to do what they have done once already this season – defeat the Sea Dogs at the Androscoggin Bank Colisee. Back on December 10, the Maineiacs beat Saint John 5-2 to give the Dogs one of their seven regulation loses all season.

The Maineiacs are 5-1-0-0 at the ABC during the post-season and have outscored their opposition 21-11. In the regular season, the team was 21-12-1-0 on home ice and outscored their opponents 142-107.

So far in the playoffs, Saint John is a perfect 5-0-0-0 on the road and have outscored their opponents 23-10.

Game Four of the series is tomorrow night at the Androscoggin Bank Colisee while Game Five, if needed, would be on Friday at Harbour Station.

REGULAR SEASON NUMBERS

LewistonSaint John
Record40-24-1-3 (2nd East)58-7-1-2 (1st Maritimes)
Home Record- - -32-0-1-1
Road Record19-12-0-3- - -
Streak2-0-0-02-0-0-0
Last 104-4-1-18-2-0-0
Goals For265324
Goals Against223165
Goals/Game3.90 (3rd)4.76 (1st)
Goals Against/Game3.28 (10th)2.43 (1st)
Shots/Game36.81 (1st)36.81 (1st)
Shots Against/Game26.96 (5th)26.96 (5th)
Overall PP17.4% (13th)25.1% (6th)
Home PP- - -24.4% (8th)
Road PP17.7% (13th)- - -
Overall PK80.4% (6th)83.7% (1st)
Home PK- - -86.1% (1st)
Road PK80.1% (7th)- - -
PIM/GAME17.7 (1st)13.1 (13th)

Monday, April 25, 2011

FANS ASKED TO CHILL OUT

By Bert Richardson
Station Nation Staff

Things got a little rowdy on the Lewiston Maineiacs’ official Facebook page over the weekend, forcing the team to post this message:

You may have noticed: due to a recent series of facebook exchanges between a small number of Maineiacs and Sea Dogs fans (in which fans of both teams used profanity and directed cyber-verbal attacks against players, facebook administrators, and individual fans), settings for posts have been temporarily changed to better maintain an atmosphere of respect and courtesy. We learned, because of a few individuals, that facebook is less ideal than the proboard for opposing fans to talk about hockey. This page is dedicated to support for and love of Maineiacs hockey. If you find a comment that is otherwise, please "report as abuse" by clicking on the upper right of the comment box, rather than responding in kind. Let's hear it for our MAINEiacs! Games 3&4, Tues/Wed this week!
What a drama.

The page is really the only place on the interweb where frequent discussion about the team takes place. A lot of teams have had similar problems with their page this season, which brings up the question – what is the etiquette for visiting fans?

I have no problem with fans of different teams “liking” the page, but ripping the Maineiacs apart on their own page should be frowned upon. Don’t be trolling, haters.

The Maineiacs seem to have deleted a lot of comments, many of them asking for those haters to leave the page.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

POSTSCRIPT: MAINEiacs 1, Sea Dogs 4

SAINT JOHN – The Saint John Sea Dogs to a 2-0 series lead in their semifinal playoff series against the Lewiston MAINEiacs thanks to a 4-1 win in Game Two on Saturday night at Harbour Station.

It was a pretty solid game for the Sea Dogs and was a much better one than on Friday night when the team needed overtime to defeat the 5-4 Maineiacs in Game One.

The Sea Dogs got off to a good start as Michael Kirkpatrick made it 1-0 just 2:16 in. Saint John had control of the play for most of the frame, outshooting the Maineiacs 17-6.

In the second period, things opened up a bit. Olivier Dame-Malka nailed Jonathan Huberdeau from behind and was given a game misconduct and five-minute major penalty. The penalty proved costly as the Dogs would score three times with Malka in the box. Stanislav Galiev, Kevin Gagne, and then Huberdeau – on a five-on-three man advantage – all netted markers to make it 4-0 Saint John after two.

Lewiston would get on the board in the third period as Kirill Kabanov scored at 9:54 on a delayed penalty. But the Russian’s goal wouldn’t be enough as the Dogs sailed to a 4-1 victory.

SAINT JOHN SCRATCHES
The Sea Dogs sported the same lineup as they did for Game One of the series. Forwards Jason Cameron, Aidan Kelly, and defenseman Jason Seed were all healthy scratches.

VIDEO: Phillips' shampoo ad

Well, it’s sort of a shampoo commercial. As part of the Canadian Hockey League’s ‘PERT Plus Performers’ thing, Zack Phillips was interviewed by Sam Cosentino of Rogers Sportsnet.

You can the view the full page here.

video platformvideo managementvideo solutionsvideo player

SAINT JOHN TAKES 2-0 SERIES LEAD

SN RECAP
FINAL: MAINEiacs 1, Sea Dogs 4


SAINT JOHN – Olivier Dame-Malka’s hit from behind on Jonathan Huberdeau proved to be costly for the Lewiston Maineiacs on Saturday night at Harbour Station.

Malka was given a game misconduct and five-minute major penalty for the hit, giving the Saint John Sea Dogs a long power play opportunity. The Sea Dogs would connect not once, not twice, but three times during Malka’s penalty, making it 4-0 at point.

Saint John would cruise to a 4-1 win from there, taking a 2-0 series lead in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League semifinal playoff series. Games Three and Four now shift to Lewiston on Tuesday and Wednesday.

Game Two proved to be much better than Game One for the Sea Dogs. They controlled the play for most of the game and both their offense and defense were both clicking. Goaltender Mathieu Corbeil, who replaced Jacob DeSerres in the third period of Game One, was dialed in in net and made 24 stops for the victory.

Michael Kirkpatrick, Stanislav Galiev, Kevin Gagne, and Jonathan Huberdeau all scored for Saint John.

Kirill Kabanov had the lone Lewiston goal near the halfway point of the third period. Nicholas Champion allowed four goals on 29 shots before being pulled in favour of Andrey Makarov who stopped all 13 shots he faced.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

LIVE BLOG: Game 2 - MAINEiacs vs Sea Dogs

PRE-GAME: Game Two vs MAINEiacs

GAME DAY
Game Two, Round Three – President’s Cup Playoffs
Lewiston MAINEiacs vs Saint John Sea Dogs
Tonight, April 23, 2011 at 7:00 pm
Harbour Station

PREVIEW
SAINT JOHN – After a thrilling Game One, the Saint John Sea Dogs and Lewiston MAINEiacs meet again this evening at Harbour Station for Game Two of their semifinal playoff series. Game time is 7:00 pm.

The Sea Dogs escaped with a 5-4 overtime win last night thanks to an epic third period comeback. Down 4-2 with less than six minutes to play Nathan Beaulieu and Tomas Jurco went into beast mode by scoring clutch goals to send the match into overtime. In the extra frame, Simon Despres setup Stephen MacAulay with an unreal pass through the crease to give Saint John the Game One victory.

Along with MacAulay, Jurco, and Beaulieu, Pierre Durepos and Steven Anthony scored single markers. Lewiston had goals from Matthew Bissonnette, Jess Tanguy, Kirill Kabanov, and Antoine Houde-Caron.

The game was a bit of a mess. Both teams had their chances and both teams had their mistakes.

For Saint John, they got outplayed for the most part in the second period and parts of the third frame. They definitely didn’t play a 60-minute game and looked a little disoriented at times with some of their plays. But today is a new day, and the Sea Dogs will look to pull it all together and take a 2-0 series lead this evening.

The Sea Dogs’ coaching staff pulled goaltender Jacob DeSerres and replaced him with Mathieu Corbeil during the third period media timeout. DeSerres didn’t play horribly, but the move seemed to spark Saint John a bit as they netted two goals following the replacement. Corbeil looked a little cold at times but also made some big saves.

Nicholas Champion was pretty solid in the Maineiacs net, allowing five goals on 31 shots. But there is no escaping his third period error when he came out to play the puck, giving it away to Tomas Jurco who had an open net to tie the game at 4-4.

Lewiston probably won’t be too worried after dropping last night’s game as they lost the opening game of both their first round and second round series. They know what it takes to comeback in a series.

The series shifts to Lewiston for Games Three and Four, making today’s game rather large for both teams.

Just remember, this is the playoffs, where anything can happen.

DOGS WIN GAME ONE THRILLER

SN RECAP
FINAL (OT): MAINEiacs 4, Sea Dogs 5

SAINT JOHN – Anything can happen in the playoffs, and on Friday night at Harbour Station, that was proven to be true.

A dramatic third period comeback by the Saint John Sea Dogs in Game One of their semifinal series against the Lewiston Maineiacs gave them a 5-4 overtime win and a 1-0 series lead. Game Two of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League playoff series is tonight at 7:00 pm at Harbour Station.

Lewiston had a 4-2 lead with just under six minutes to play. But clutch goals by Nathan Beaulieu and Tomas Jurco tied the match a 4-4, allowing Stephen MacAulay to score in the extra session to give the Dogs a dramatic come-from-behind win.

Also scoring for Saint John was Pierre Durepos and Steven Anthony. Jacob DeSerres made 13 saves on 17 shots in 51:10 of action. He was pulled in favour of Mathieu Corbeil in the third period who also made 13 stops.

It wasn’t a perfect game by any means. Saint John jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the first period but then hit the snooze button. Lewiston had control of the second period and much of the third period. But both teams won’t have much time to think about it with Game Two less than 24 hours away.

The Maineiacs had goals from Matthew Bissonnette, Jess Tanguy, Kirill Kabanov, and Antoine Houde-Caron. Nicholas Champion made 26 saves in net.

Friday, April 22, 2011

QMJHL Twitter All-Star Team

Let’s just start off by saying this: Twitter is the best. It makes keeping up with current events easier than ever, and it especially helps for a junior hockey league like the QMJHL, where there aren’t a ton of media all over the goings-on to keep you updated constantly. Twitter has also found a home with an increasing number of players in the Q-League. This is your QMJHL Twitter All-Star Team:

F – Maximilien Le Sieur (@ShawiNaked), Shawinigan Cataractes

The king has returned. Le Sieur’s feed was maybe the most entertaining in the Q before he and the rest of the Cataractes had to shut it down until the offseason. With their recent elimination, he’s back on the Twitter beat and already bringing it.

F – Viktor Hertzberg (@hertzberg27), Montreal Juniors

The former Screaming Eagles forward is one of the more consistent Tweeters in the league and is pretty good to interact with his followers. Here's hoping a team uses an overager and Euro roster spot on him next year, because he provides a pretty cool look into the life of a junior hockey player.

F – Danick Gauthier (@elcreido18), Saint John Sea Dogs

Remember when Alex Ovechkin first came to the NHL and all his interviews were hilarious because his English was not so good? Yeah. Gauthier is a funny dude to begin with, and a bit of broken English certainly never hurt anyone. He’s one of a number of Sea Dogs to join Twitter in recent months, and my favourite Q tweeter right now.

D – Garrett Clarke (@GarrettClarke92), Acadie-Bathurst Titan

By my count, the most-followed tweeter in the league, and for good reason. Clarke launched his account shortly after the fallout from his time in Halifax, and it was a terrific PR move. There were lots of rumours flying around about him as a person and the reasons for his departure from the Mooseheads, but anyone who follows him can plainly see that he’s a pretty good kid, and absolutely hilarious.

D – Alex MacDonald (@alexmac26), Rimouski Oceanic

This guy is very underrated on the Q Twitter scene, but he gets the job done. A good mix of humour, opinions, and wit, delivered in an “off the glass and out” fashion. Well worth the follow if you want a player’s perspective on life in the Q. NHL comparable: Ryan Whitney.

G – Jean-Francois Berube (@JRouby), Montreal Juniors

Not going to lie, it’s pretty slim pickings among goalies to this point. The Kings draft pick only just got going on Twitter since playoffs started, but the early returns have been good.

Honourable mentions:

Morgan Ellis (@MorganEllis4), D, Cape Breton Screaming Eagles – Eagles captain and likely one of the top d-men in the league next year is a Twitter vet.

Stephen MacAulay (@smacaulay9), F, Saint John Sea Dogs – Another Sea Dog on Twitter who knows the ropes and is a pretty good one to follow.

Nathan MacKinnon (@Mackinnon9), F, Baie-Comeau Drakkar? – Start following your Q-League superstars nice and early. MacKinnon will be the top pick in this year’s draft; watch the drama unfold on the Twitter.

---

This only covers a handful of players in the QMJHL who have joined Twitter recently. I’ve created a list (including media and other personalities) that I try to keep updated as new accounts pop up, so you can follow the list itself, or peruse it to pick and choose who you’d like to follow. Check it out here.

Photo Credit: Marc Henwood/Station Nation

LIVE BLOG: Game 1 - MAINEiacs vs Sea Dogs

SN'S THIRD ROUND PREDICTIONS

Only four Quebec Major Junior Hockey League teams remain in the chase for the President’s Cup. The semi-finals begin this evening with the Saint John Sea Dogs hosting the Lewiston Maineiacs at 7:30 pm and the Quebec Remparts facing the Gatineau Olympiques at 8:00 pm at Colisee Pepsi.

There have only been two major upsets in the post-season so far as the Victoriaville Tigres upended the Acadie-Bathurst Titan in round one and then the Lewiston Maineiacs defeated the second-seeded Montreal Juniors in the quarter-finals.

Lewiston is the lowest seed reaming as they finished eighth in the regular season standings. Gatineau is the fifth seed, Quebec third, and Saint John first.

The four teams remaining should give all of us some entertainment. After all, this is the playoffs, where anything can happen.

So, here are the SN staff’s predictions for the third round of the playoffs.

PRE-GAME: Game One vs MAINEiacs

GAME DAY
Game One, Round Three – President’s Cup Playoffs
Lewiston MAINEiacs vs Saint John Sea Dogs
Tonight, April 22, 2011 at 7:30 pm
Harbour Station



PREVIEW
SAINT JOHN – It’s the playoffs. Anything can happen.

The Lewiston Maineiacs are hoping that old cliché proves to be true beginning tonight as they take on the Saint John Sea Dogs in the first game of the best-of-seven Quebec Major Junior Hockey League semifinal.

The Maineiacs have been a nice story so far in the 2011 President’s Cup Playoffs. They grinded out a 4-1 series win over the Moncton Wildcats in the first round and then upset the No. 2 seeded Montreal Junior in six games in the quarter-final. Now, the road to the cup gets even harder for the club as they must go through the top-ranked team in the Canadian Hockey League.

"They're the No. 1 team in Canada and they deserve to be,” Maineiacs head coach JF Houle told the Lewiston Sun Journal about the Sea Dogs. “They've played well all year. We're going to have to pull out our best games here in order to compete with them."

Not many people expected to see Lewiston in the semifinals after entering the playoffs as the eighth-seeded team. But as the cliché goes, the Maineiacs have "nothing to lose" in this series as the underdog.

“You feel no pressure,” said Michael Chaput to the Maine Hockey Journal. “Everyone expects Saint John to win obviously, just like they expected to Montreal to win. We just need to go out there like it’s our last chance to win hockey games. We are underdogs. We are supposed to lose. The whole league knows it. We feel no pressure and I think it’s easier to play like that.”

Saint John has had an easier ride through the playoffs – but that doesn’t mean they haven’ had some challenges. After destroying the Cape Breton Screaming Eagles in round one, the Dogs took on the defensively strong Victoriaville Tigres. Saint John battled hard to break through the defense and goaltender David Honzik, eventually pulling off a 4-1 series win.

But this series should have a different taste to it. Like Saint John, Lewiston is offensively strong and should make for some entertaining back-and-forth playoff hockey.

The winner of this game will carry the momentum over into tomorrow’s Game Two. The series then shifts to Lewiston for Games Three and Four.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

VIDEO: Round Two Highlights

Here are some of the unreal plays from the Victoriaville Tigres - Saint John Sea Dogs second round playoff series. Some great goals and great saves are included in the highlight pack.

Thanks to Chris Phillips from HockeyFights.com for the upload.

SEA DOGS NOTEBOOK

ONE MORE SLEEP
Just one more sleep until the Saint John Sea Dogs – Lewiston MAINEiacs semifinal playoff series kicks off at Harbour Station at 7:30 pm.

According to the Maineiacs’ Facebook page, the team departed Androscoggin Bank Colisee this morning at 8:00 am local time.

“We were an eighth-place team, but I don’t think we played as an eighth-place team,” said Maineiac Zach Zafiris to Metro Halifax. “People know our team is talented, and we definitely need to be looked out for.”

Tickets are still available for both Game One of Friday and Game Two on Saturday.

ABOUT THE SEMIFINALS
Great run down of both semifinal series over at Buzzing The Net.

On why Saint John should win their series against Lewiston:

This is Saint John's series to lose. They have the Huberdeau-Stanislav Galiev-Zack Phillips monster line leading the way up front and a defence corps led by two high-drafted 19-year-olds, Pittsburgh Penguins first-rounder Simon Després and New Jersey Devils second-rounder Eric Gélinas. Unless coach Gerard Gallant's team gets a whack of injuries or a breakdown in discipline, they can win the series on form.
The site predicts Gatineau and Saint John to win their series in six games.

THE RIVALRY
Good post from Maineiacs play-by-play man DJ Abisalih in the team’s newsletter about the history of the Sea Dogs – Maineiacs rivalry.

One of the neat things he takes a look at is the very first game played between the two. We’ll post the excerpt because anything involving Martin Bartos is worth posting.

The rivalry began back on September 30, 2005 at Harbour Station. The MAINEiacs were playing in their fourth game of a six-game road trip, while the Sea Dogs were playing in their fourth home game ever. Thanks to three goals in the second period, as well as 37 saves by Jason Churchill, the first ever meeting went to Saint John, as the home team skated to a 5-2 victory in front of 4,346 fans. Lewiston's Mathieu Aubin scored the first goal in the all-time series, while Martin Bartos scored the Sea Dogs' first goal a little more than six minutes later.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

FIVE THINGS TO FOLLOW

SAINT JOHN – Game One of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League semifinal series between the Saint John Sea Dogs and Lewiston Maineiacs is now less than 48 hours away. The matchup has plenty of storylines and should prove to be an exciting four-to-seven games for fans on the east coast.

Saint John cruised through the first round of the playoffs, sweeping the Cape Breton Screaming Eagles in convincing fashion. They had some troubles with the Victoriaville Tigres in the second round but were still able to dispose of them in five games. Now, the No. 1 team in the regular season will face a stiff test in the Maineiacs.

Lewiston downed the Moncton Wildcats in the first round in five games. In the quarter-finals, Lewiston pulled off the upset by defeating the Montreal Juniors in six games. The Maineiacs know what it takes to pull off an upset and they will be looking to do the same this round.

With the excitement building for the semifinals, here are five things we will be watching when this thing kicks off on Friday.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

QUEBEC VS GATINEAU IN OTHER SEMIFINAL

The Quebec Remparts will face the Gatineau Olympiques in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League’s other semifinal.

The Remparts advanced to the third round following a 9-2 blowout victory over the Shawinigan Cataractes in Game Seven of their quarter-final series tonight. Vincent Barnard and Mikael Tam scored twice for the winners while singles came courtesy of Mirko Hoefflin, Jonathan Audy-Marchessault, Joel Champagne, Frederick Roy, and Matthew Brown. Louis Domingue made 27 saves in net for the win.

Quebec had 2-0 and 3-1 series leads but the Cataractes hung around and managed to take it to a Game Seven.

The Remaprts, the No. 3 seeded team and the highest seed remaining behind the top-ranked Saint John Sea Dogs, will now face the No. 5 seeded Olympiques. Gatineau advanced to the semifinals with a 4-2 series win over the Drummondville Voltigeurs.

Quebec finished the regular season with a record of 48-16-1-3 while Gatineau went 43-17-3-5.

Saint John will host the eighth-seeded Lewiston MAINEiacs in the other semi-final.

Only two of the top four seeds remain in the playoff race.

LEWISTON TICKET INFO


If you are thinking about heading down to Lewiston for any of the semifinal playoff games, this was posted in the Maineiacs’ newsletter:

Tickets for the MAINEiacs' home games in round three are on sale now! Lewiston will play games three, four, and six on home ice in this round on Tuesday, April 26th, Wednesday, April 27th, and Sunday, May 1st. All three games are scheduled to start at 7:00.
Check out the Maineiacs' website for how to purchase tickets.

The Maineiacs aren’t exactly the hottest ticket in Maine, so you should be able to obtain some seats without any problems.

Tickets for Games One and Two of the series at Harbour Station are also on-sale. Saint John will also host Games Five and Seven if necessary.

A Facebook event has been setup for this weekend’s Sea Dogs home games.

REPOST: Renewing a Rivalry

They only play each other a few times a year now, but back in the day, the Saint John Sea Dogs and the Lewiston MAINEiacs had a nice little rivalry going. The rivalry will be renewed this Friday when the two teams meet for Game One of the President’s Cup semifinal at Harbour Station.

Earlier this season, prior to a Sea Dogs – Maineiacs match, we had a post about the fight-filled rivalry. So, here is a repost of that feature with some slightly updated info.

Monday, April 18, 2011

SEMI-FINAL SCHEDULE


The Quebec Major Junior Hockey League released the official schedule for the Saint John Sea Dogs – Lewiston Maineiacs semi-final playoff series this afternoon.

No surprises on the schedule. The series will be of the 2-2-1-1-1 variety.

Here is the full schedule for best-of-seven third round series (all times Atlantic):

GAME ONE – Friday, April 22: 7:30 p.m. @ Harbour Station
GAME TWO – Saturday, April 23: 7 p.m. @ Harbour Station
GAME THREE – Tuesday, April 26: 8 p.m. @ Androscoggin Bank Colisee
GAME FOUR – Wednesday, April 27: 8 p.m. @ Androscoggin Bank Colisee
*GAME FIVE – Friday, April 29: 7:30 p.m. @ Harbour Station
*GAME SIX – Sunday, May 1: 8 p.m. @ Androscoggin Bank Colisee
*GAME SEVEN – Tuesday, May 3: 7 p.m. @ Harbour Station
*If Necessary
Note that the start time for Game Six in Lewiston, a Sunday, is at 8:00 pm.

Tickets for the first two games are already on-sale at the usual Harbour Station ticket buying outlets. If you are interested in making the trek to the USA for this series, the Maineiacs posted this ticket info on their website:

Tickets for the MAINEiacs' home games in round three will be on sale starting tomorrow morning at 9:00. Lewiston will play games three, four, and six on home ice in this round on Tuesday, April 26th, Wednesday, April 27th, and Sunday, May 1st. All three games are scheduled to start at 7:00.
Lewiston advanced to the semi-finals for just the second time in team history after dispatching the Montreal Juniors in six games. Saint John advanced to the third round for the second straight year and third time in franchise history following a five-game series win over the Victoriaville Tigres.

SEA DOGS, MAINEIACS MEET IN SEMI-FINALS

The Lewiston MAINEiacs will be the Saint John Sea Dogs’ opponent in the third round of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League playoffs. The semi-final matchup begins Friday at 7:30 pm at Harbour Station and Game Two will go down on Saturday at 7:00 pm. The rest of the schedule has yet to be released.

The MAINEiacs advanced after upsetting the No. 2 seeded Montreal Juniors in six games. Lewiston won the deciding game 6-3 last night at Androscoggin Bank Colisee. Pierre-Olivier Morin and Stefan Fournier each scored a pair while Michael Chaput and Jess Tanguay added singles for the winners. Nicholas Champion made 36 saves in net.

From the Lewiston Sun Journal:

The Maineiacs' victory in Game 6 secured for the team a trip to the third round for only the second time in its eight years in Lewiston, and its first since the team's President's Cup-winning run in 2007.
The favoured Juniors won the first match of the series in overtime but would then lose the next three. Montreal won Friday night in overtime at the Verdun Auditorium, but the MAINEiacs would end the series with a victory last night.

In total, Lewiston outscored Montreal 27-18 over the six games.

The MAINEiacs finished eighth overall in the league standings with a record of 40-24-1-3. They kicked off the playoffs with a five-game series win over the Moncton Wildcats.

Against Saint John this season, Lewiston is 1-1-0-0. The Sea Dogs defeated the MAINEiacs 6-2 on December 3 at Harbour Station and then lost 5-2 on December 10 at the ABC in Lewiston.

The other semi-final will be determined tomorrow night when the Shawinigan Cataractes and Quebec Remparts meet for Game Seven of their series. The winner will face the Gatineau Olympiques who downed the Drummondville Voltigeurs in six games.

Photo Credit: Ron Morin

Sunday, April 17, 2011

CHURCHILL WINS ALLAN CUP

Former Saint John Sea Dogs goaltender Jason Churchill won the Allan Cup last night with Clarenville Caribous, beating the Bentley Generals 5-3 to win Canada’s senior hockey championship.

Churchill made 39 saves to help his Newfoundland and Labrador club win the national crown in a game that was aired nationally on TSN. The St. John’s Telegram reports that Churchill stopped 23-of-25 shots in the second period alone.

From TSN.ca:

Dale Sullivan, Travis Champman and Brandon Roach all scored with the man advantage in a 4:56 span to give Clarenville, from Newfoundland and Labrador, a commanding early lead. It was the Caribou's first appearance in the senior amateur men's hockey championship.

The Generals, who made the final for the fourth straight year, lost for the second time in a row. Bentley won the Allan Cup in 2009 and was a finalist in 2008 and 2010.
Churchill played with the Sea Dogs during their inaugural season in 2005-06. The St. John’s native was forced to play behind a young and inexperienced defense core and faced a ton of shots each night. He had a record of 14-44 to go along with a 4.16 goals against average and a 0.894 save percentage.

Despite his bad numbers, he did collect 14 of the Sea Dogs’ 15 wins that season. He also had one shutout.

The netminder started his junior career with the Halifax Mooseheads and was drafted by the San Jose Sharks in the fourth round of the 2004 National Hockey League Entry Draft.

- Thanks to Randy Corey from FreddyPuck.com for the tip.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

VIDEO: Game Five Highlights

RDS with some highlights from last night's Game Five in Victoriaville:

SEMI-FINAL TICKETS ON SALE

SAINT JOHN – Tickets to the Saint John Sea Dogs’ first two semi-final playoff series are now on sale. Tickets can be purchased at the Harbour Station box office, by phone, or by visiting the facilities website.

Game One of the best-of-seven series will be next Friday, April 22, at 7:30 pm at the Station. Game Two will be Saturday, April 23, at 7:00 pm.

The Sea Dogs advanced the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League semi-finals after eliminating the Victoriaville Tigres in five games. Saint John won the series deciding game in Victoriaville last night by score of 4-1.

Who the Sea Dogs will play in the third round has yet to be determined. Saint John will play the lowest seed remaining, which could be decided as soon as tomorrow night.

The eighth-seeded Lewiston MAINEiacs currently hold a 3-2 series lead over the second-seeded Montreal Juniors, the seventh-seeded Shawinigan Cataractes are down 3-2 against the third-seeded Quebec Remparts, and the fifth-seeded Gatineau Olympiques hold a 3-2 series lead over the fourth-seeded Drummondville Voltigeurs.

Game Six of each series is tomorrow.

Friday, April 15, 2011

MOVING ON UP

SN RECAP
FINAL: Sea Dogs 3, Tigres 2

VICTORIAVILLE, Que. – The Victoriaville Tigres put up quite a fight, but at the end of the day, they just couldn’t handle the Saint John Sea Dogs.

The Sea Dogs climbed back from a two-goal first period deficit, scoring three unanswered goals en route to a 4-1 series win in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League quarter-final playoff series. The team will open up the semi-finals next Friday at Harbour Station.

Zack Phillips scored twice and Stanislav Galiev added the other. Jonathan Huberdeau had a pair of assists. Goaltender Jacob DeSerres made some huge stops to keep momentum going in his team’s favour, making a total of 22 stops on the night.

Brandon Hynes and Carl-Antoine Delisle scored for Victoriaville. Davod Honzik put on his nightly goaltending clinic, stopping 42 shots in the loss.

It was certainly a close and hard fought series, especially considering the Tigres were the 11th-seeded team going into the playoffs. But the underdogs of the President’s Cup playoffs proved their first round sweep of the Acadie-Bathurst Titan was no fluke, taking the nation’s top-ranked team to five games – including three one-goal affairs.

The Tigres deserve a lot of credit – especially Honzik. The 17-year old has gone from a no-name backstop to one of the fastest rising goaltenders from the upcoming NHL Entry Draft.

Saint John battled through some adversity in this series, an experience that should help them as the playoffs progress.

The win puts the Sea Dogs into the semi-finals for the third time in four years.

PRE-GAME: Game Five at Victoriaville Tigres

GAME DAY
President’s Cup Playoffs - Round 2, Game 5
Saint John Sea Dogs vs Victoriaville Tigres
Tonight, April 15, 2011 at 8:00 pm
Colisee Desjardins

SERIES STATUS
The top-seeded Saint John Sea Dogs currently lead the 11th-seeded Victoriaville Tigres 3-1 in the best-of-seven quarter-final playoff series.

PREVIEW
VICTORIAVILLE, Que. – The Saint John Sea Dogs can book their trip to the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League semi-finals with a win tonight in Game Five of their quarter-final series against the Victoriaville Tigres.

Saint John currently leads the series 3-1 following an entertaining 5-4 overtime victory in Game Four on Wednesday at Colisee Desjardins. The Tigres scored first but the Sea Dogs quickly took a 2-1 lead. The rest of the match would be back-and-forth with Victoriaville always finding a way to even the game up.

Despite a resilient effort, Jonathan Huberdeau ended any chances of a Victoriaville win when he tapped home a Stanislav Galiev rebound to give the Dogs an extra time win. Also scoring for Saint John was Jason Cameron, Eric Gelinas, Stephan MacAulay, and Tomas Jurco. The Tigres had markers from Phillip Danault, Benjamin Laliberte, Philippe Maillet, and Brandon Hynes.

Both goaltenders were excellent as they have been all series long. Jacob DeSerres made 24 saves for the win while 17-year old import David Honzik made 39 stops in the loss.

The Tigres will likely come out flying tonight as they have for much of the series. Saint John will have to match their intensity level and play a solid game. One of the issues in Game Four was that the Sea Dogs continued to let Victoriaville get back in the match and never took a two-goal lead at any point.

"They're not going to lay down and our team will be ready to play and hopefully wrap it up, but it won't be easy," Sea Dogs head coach Gerard Gallant said to Sportsnet.ca. "It will be the toughest one."

It has been a hard fought series with two of the four games being decided by one goal. Whatever it is that Victoriaville is doing – it’s working. After sweeping the sixth-seeded Acadie-Bathurst Titan in the first round, the 11th-seeded Tigres are have done extremely well against the nation’s top-ranked team.

If the Sea Dogs are unable to end this series tonight, Game Six is Monday at Harbour Station.

REGULAR SEASON NUMBERS

VictoriavilleSaint John
Record35-29-1-3 (3rd East)58-7-1-2 (1st Maritimes)
Home Record- - -32-0-1-1
Road Record19-13-1-1- - -
Streak0-3-0-02-0-0-0
Last 105-5-0-08-2-0-0
Goals For256324
Goals Against240165
Goals/Game3.76 (6th)4.76 (1st)
Goals Against/Game3.53 (12th)2.43 (1st)
Shots/Game31.16 (6th)36.81 (1st)
Shots Against/Game30.24 (10th)26.96 (5th)
Overall PP22.1% (11th)25.1% (6th)
Home PP- - -24.4% (8th)
Road PP25.4% (6th)- - -
Overall PK75.0% (16th)83.7% (1st)
Home PK- - -86.1% (1st)
Road PK75.9% (14th)- - -
PIM/GAME14.0 (11th)13.1 (13th)

Thursday, April 14, 2011

MOCK DRAFT TIME

NHL.com posted some mock drafts the other day following the very exciting National Hockey League Draft Lottery. As expected, the Saint John Sea Dogs were represented quite well.

Here are the results from three different NHL.com writers:

Mike G. Morreale
#4. New Jersey Devils – Jonathan Huberdeau
Retooling for new coach starts with a 105-point forward who might have best set of hands of 2011 class

#8. Columbus Blue Jackets – Nathan Beaulieu
Top-rated bluer line from the QMJHL is a transitional dynamo possessing speed, poise and a great shot

#20. Winnipeg Jets Phoenix Coyotes – Zack Phillips
Time to load up on centers; a solid skater with edge was second on team in scoring (38 goals, 95 points)
Adam Kimelman
#6. Ottawa Senators – Jonathan Huberdeau
Senators need scoring and Huberdeau filled the nets this season -- 43 goals in 67 games

#9. Boston Bruins – Nathan Beaulieu
Has good size (6-2, 174) and high level of offensive skill

#18. Chicago Blackhawks - Tomas Jurco
Hawks fans will find Jurco is more than just the guy with the fancy puck skills in all those videos

#21. Ottawa Senators – Zack Phillips
There's a reason Saint John was top team in CHL; Sens are smart to grab two of their best

Steven Hoffner
#3. Florida Panthers – Nathan Beaulieu
Something Panthers have missed since Jay Bouwmeester left: big, solid D-man who can run PP

#6. Ottawa Senators – Jonathan Huberdeau
Speedy forward with lightning-quick hands to help team in need of goals

#17. Montreal Canadiens – Zack Phillips
Racked up 95 points in 67 games in the QMJHL

#19. Edmonton Oilers – Tomas Jurco
Ridiculous hands and imagination, would complement Edmonton's youth movement

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

HUBERDEAU ENDS WILD GAME FOUR

SN RECAP
FINAL (OT): Sea Dogs 5, Tigres 4

VICTORIAVILLE, Que. – It took over 63 minutes for Jonathan Huberdeau to be credited with a shot on goal, but the Saint John Sea Dogs’ leading scorer made the best of his lone chance.

Huberdeau netted the overtime winner at 3:04 of the extra frame, giving Saint John a 5-4 win over the Victoriaville Tigres and a 3-1 series lead in the best-of-seven quarter-final playoff matchup. Game Five, which could be the final affair of the series, is Friday night at Colisee Desjardins.

It was a wild back-and-forth game that seemed destined for overtime after the teams were deadlocked at 2-2 after both the first and second period. The Tigres scored first but the Sea Dogs quickly retook the lead. That would pretty much be the story of this game as no matter how many times the Dogs went ahead, Victoriaville always stayed calm and evened the match in no time.

The Tigres’ big players came to play tonight as Phillip Danault, Benjamin Laliberte, Brandon Hynes, and Philippe Maillet all scored. David Honzik was David Honzik, making 39 saves in the loss.

Besides Huberdeau’s game-winner, the Dogs had goals courtesy of Jason Cameron, Eric Gelinas, Stephen MacAulay, and Tomas Jurco. Mike Thomas and Pierre Durepos each had two assists while goaltender Jacob DeSerres made 24 saves in the win.

The Sea Dogs certainly didn’t play perfect but still played well. One of the obvious negatives for Saint John was that they kept allowing the Tigres to get back into the game and were never able to gain a two-goal lead.

If Game Five is anything like the first four, it should be an entertaining match.

LIVE BLOG: Game 4 - Sea Dogs vs Tigres

PRE-GAME: Game Four at Victoriaville Tigres

GAME DAY
President’s Cup Playoffs - Round 2, Game 4
Saint John Sea Dogs vs Victoriaville Tigres
Tonight, April 13, 2011 at 8:00 pm
Colisee Desjardins

SERIES STATUS
The top-seeded Saint John Sea Dogs currently lead the 11th-seeded Victoriaville Tigres 2-1 in the best-of-seven quarter-final playoff series.

PREVIEW
VICTORIAVILLE, Que. – The Saint John Sea Dogs can take a commanding lead in their best-of-seven quarter-final playoff series tonight against the Victoriaville Tigres.

The Sea Dogs currently lead the Tigres 2-1 in the series, meaning a win tonight would put Saint John in position to clinch the series on Friday in Game Five. Tonight’s game and Friday’s will both be played at Colisee Desjardins.

The Sea Dogs played pretty well in last night’s game. Jonathan Huberdeau scored twice in the match while Eric Gelinas, Zack Phillips, Stephen MacAulay, and Danick Gauthier all added singles. Stanislav Galiev had three assists. Goaltender Jacob DeSerres was solid, making 25 saves in the win.

Saint John got into some penalty trouble early in the first period but managed to escape it thanks to some terrific penalty killing. That wasn’t the only time the penalty kill had to come up big as the Dogs continue to take a lot of penalties. Luckily, the combination of Saint John’s P.K. and Victoriaville’s lackluster power play resulted in no damage done.

The Sea Dogs also had some trouble closing out the second and third period. The Tigres scored at 16:50 of the middle frame and then had all the pressure late in the period. Then in the third, Saint John allowed two goals in the final five minutes, but, they also scored twice during that time frame.

Even with the shaky finishes, the Sea Dogs, for the most part, looked better than they did in Game Two when they fell 3-2 to the Tigres.

Victoriaville should come out flying tonight as they will not want to go down 3-1 in the series and face elimination on Friday.

REGULAR SEASON NUMBERS

VictoriavilleSaint John
Record35-29-1-3 (3rd East)58-7-1-2 (1st Maritimes)
Home Record- - -32-0-1-1
Road Record19-13-1-1- - -
Streak0-3-0-02-0-0-0
Last 105-5-0-08-2-0-0
Goals For256324
Goals Against240165
Goals/Game3.76 (6th)4.76 (1st)
Goals Against/Game3.53 (12th)2.43 (1st)
Shots/Game31.16 (6th)36.81 (1st)
Shots Against/Game30.24 (10th)26.96 (5th)
Overall PP22.1% (11th)25.1% (6th)
Home PP- - -24.4% (8th)
Road PP25.4% (6th)- - -
Overall PK75.0% (16th)83.7% (1st)
Home PK- - -86.1% (1st)
Road PK75.9% (14th)- - -
PIM/GAME14.0 (11th)13.1 (13th)

VIDEO: Game Three Highlights

RDS with some highlights from Game Three:

SEA DOGS STRIKE BACK

SN RECAP
FINAL: Sea Dogs 6, Tigres 3

VICTORIAVILLE, Que. – It was a rough start but a solid finish for the Saint John Sea Dogs.

A penalty filled first five minutes in the opening frame could have been disaster for Saint John. Instead, the team took a 2-0 lead in the first period and never looked back en route to a 6-3 win over the Victoriaville Tigres Tuesday night at Colisee Desjardins. The win gives Saint John a 2-1 series lead in the best-of-seven quarter-final playoff matchup.

Saint John had period leads of 2-0 and 2-1 before exploding in the third period. Jonathan Huberdeau scored twice in the match while Eric Gelinas, Zack Phillips, Stephen MacAulay, and Danick Gauthier all added singles. Stanislav Galiev had three assists.

Goaltender Jacob DeSerres was excellent, making some very big stops all game long. He came up big at important times, keeping momentum in the Sea Dogs’ favour. He made 25 saves on the night.

It was a much better game for Saint John after the 3-2 loss in Game Two on Saturday. The Tigres played the trap less and that seemed to allow the Sea Dogs to play a much smoother game. They were also finally able to solve goaltender David Honzik who looked human in this one.

Even when the score was close Saint John was still getting the better of the chances. Penalties were once again an issue, but fortunately for the Dogs, their penalty kill came through in a big way all night long.

Honzik made 33 saves in the loss. Tigres goals came from Samuel Groulx, Pierre-Luc Pelletier, and Yann Gourde.

Victoriaville looks to even the series up again tonight at 8:00 pm.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

LIVE BLOG: Game 3 - Sea Dogs vs Tigres

PRE-GAME: Game Three at Victoriaville Tigres

GAME DAY
President’s Cup Playoffs - Round 2, Game Three
Saint John Sea Dogs vs Victoriaville Tigres
Tonight, April 12, 2011 at 8:00 pm
Colisee Desjardins

SERIES STATUS
The best-of-seven quarter-final playoff series between the 11th-seeded Victoriaville Tigres and the top-seeded Saint John Sea Dogs is currently tied at 1-1.



PREVIEW
VICTORIAVILLE, Que. – It’s the biggest game of the season for the Saint John Sea Dogs tonight in Victoriaville.

Tied at 1-1 in their best-of-seven quarter-final series against the Victoriaville Tigres, Saint John will try to take a series lead and take a big momentum boost. The Sea Dogs won Game One of the series on Friday at Harbour Station by score of 4-1 and then dropped a 3-2 decision on Saturday.

Victoriaville was very opportunistic with their chances in Saturday’s game and did a fantastic job at shutting down Saint John’s dangerous offense. Although the Sea Dogs had plenty of shots, the Tigres were able to keep them away from any second chances.

Of course, a big reason why Victoriaville was victorious was because of the play of their goaltender, the draft eligible David Honzik. The netminder has been unreal in the post-season so far and is a major factor in how the Tigres made this quarter-final series.

The Tigres jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the first period of Game Two and that really seemed to give the squad a big boost going forward. With the series now shifting to Quebec, the first goal of the game could prove to be huge in terms of momentum.

Victoriaville has now beaten the Sea Dogs twice in regulation time this season – once at home and once on the road.

In last year’s semi-final series against the Tigres, the Dogs had their troubles in Victoriaville but still managed to come out on top in the six-game series.

The next three games will be played at Colisee Desjardins.

REGULAR SEASON NUMBERS

VictoriavilleSaint John
Record35-29-1-3 (3rd East)58-7-1-2 (1st Maritimes)
Home Record- - -32-0-1-1
Road Record19-13-1-1- - -
Streak0-3-0-02-0-0-0
Last 105-5-0-08-2-0-0
Goals For256324
Goals Against240165
Goals/Game3.76 (6th)4.76 (1st)
Goals Against/Game3.53 (12th)2.43 (1st)
Shots/Game31.16 (6th)36.81 (1st)
Shots Against/Game30.24 (10th)26.96 (5th)
Overall PP22.1% (11th)25.1% (6th)
Home PP- - -24.4% (8th)
Road PP25.4% (6th)- - -
Overall PK75.0% (16th)83.7% (1st)
Home PK- - -86.1% (1st)
Road PK75.9% (14th)- - -
PIM/GAME14.0 (11th)13.1 (13th)

KIRKPATRICK NOT EXPECTED TO PLAY

The Telegraph-Journal is reporting that there is expected to be a big hole in the Saint John Sea Dogs’ lineup tonight in Victoriaville.

Meanwhile, Michael Kirkpatrick, who sustained an upper-body injury in Game 1, is not expected to play tonight.
Kirkpatrick missed Game Two of the series on Saturday with a rumored concussion. The Sea Dogs are, not surprisingly, labeling it an ‘upper body’ injury.

The Sea Dogs and Tigres meet this evening at 8:00 pm for Game Three of their quarter-final series.

The 20-year old brings a little bit of everything to the Sea Dogs and is a big loss. He has two goals and seven assists in five playoff games this year and finished the regular season with 31 markers and 51 assists, good for third in team scoring.

There has been no word on Simon Despres who looked to be in some serious pain on Saturday after appearing to twist his knee/leg. He left the game but would return a short time later.

Monday, April 11, 2011

NINE DOGS MAKE FINAL RANKINGS

An incredible nine Saint John Sea Dogs appeared in Central Scouting’s final North American skater rankings for the 2011 National Hockey League Entry Draft. A total of 33 players from the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League made the cut for the 212 positions available.

Sea Dogs leading scorer Jonathan Huberdeau was the highest ranked, jumping into the No. 3 spot behind Ryan Nugent-Hopkins at No. 1 and Gabriel Landeskog at No. 2. It has been quite a climb for Huberdeau who was considered a late first round pick by many agencies at the start of the season.

Also on the rise is defenseman Nathan Beaulieu. The third-year Sea Dog jumped into the No. 5 slot, making him the second highest defenseman ranked behind Niagara IceDog Dougie Hamilton.

Drummondville Voltigeurs forward Sean Couturier, who played with Team Canada at the World Junior Hockey Championships and was considered the top player available by most a year ago, slipped all the way down to No. 6.

Two other Saint John forwards made the top-30 in Zack Phillips at No. 15 and Tomas Jurco at No. 20.

Also included in the rankings: forwards Scott Oke (No. 44), Ryan Tesink (No. 47), Aidan Kelly (No. 94), and Jason Cameron (No. 124), and defenseman Gabriel Bourret (No. 92).

Former Sea Dogs defenseman and current Chicoutimi Sagueneen Guillaume Cloutier was ranked at No. 137. Cloutier was involved in the Eric Gelinas trade that went down in January.

The NHL Entry Draft will be held this June in Minnesota. Of note, the NHL Draft Lottery, which will determine who selects first overall, will be held tomorrow night and can be seen on TSN.

Also of note, Victoriaville Tigres goaltender David Honzik, who has been beast-like in the playoffs so far, was ranked 13th amongst North American playing netminders.

Photo Credit: Marc Henwood/Station Nation

CATARACTES FINED FOR COMMENTS

The drama surrounding the selection of the 2012 MasterCard Memorial Cup host site refuses to go away.

Today, the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League fined the Shawinigan Cataractes hockey club $2,000 for “inappropriate comments made on April 7th 2011 by the team’s General Manager, Martin Mondou, in regards to the 2012 MasterCard Memorial Cup selection process as well as towards the Saint John Sea Dogs.”

QMJHL commissioner Gilles Courteau had this to say in a press release:

“The accusatory comments made by the Cataractes’ General Manager were inappropriate and unacceptable,” said the Commissioner. “The selection process for the 2012 MasterCard Memorial Cup was conducted by an independent committee that worked hard to analyse all the possible candidates. Comments that cast a doubt on the credibility of a member club or committee do not have their place. It is of the utmost importance that clubs operate within an environment of respect.”
The Shawinigan newspaper L’Hebdo du St. Maurice reports that Mondou’s comments came in an interview with RDS’ Stephane Leroux on CKAC Radio Thursday. Much like the Shawinigan media has been discussing for months, Mondou criticized the Sea Dogs for the way they built their team, a.k.a. the controversial 2009 QMJHL Entry Draft.

You can read the transcribed version of his comments here en francais or listen to it here.

Mondou can’t be too surprised he was fined. It’s probably not the best idea in the world to make accusations like this on the radio.

Sea Dogs fans have already voiced their displeasure of the selection by cheering against the Cataractes during the out-of-town scoreboard at Harbour Station and by posting comments on the league’s Facebook page. After the selection announcement, The QMJHL had a poll up on their Facebook page asking who should have been awarded the Memorial Cup but it was taken down a few hours later. At last check, Saint John had almost 50 votes. Shawinigan had none.

All of this hate will make for an interesting little rivalry next season.

Photo Credit: La Nouvelliste