Saint John Sea Dogs vs Edmonton Oil Kings
2012 MasterCard Memorial Cup – Round-Robin
Tonight at 8:00pm
Radio: News 88.9/Team 1260 | TV: Sportsnet/TVA Sports | Live Blog: SN
Centre Bionest – Shawinigan, Que.
SHAWINIGAN, Que. – It wasn’t the way the Saint John Sea Dogs wanted to start the 2012 MasterCard Memorial Cup.
They scored first but would never lead again in a 5-3 loss to the Ontario Hockey League’s London Knights on Saturday night. The defending Memorial Cup champs were able to keep it close despite playing some bad hockey. They didn’t look at all like the team that won the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League’s President’s Cup with an 8-0 win in Game 4 on the road.
But, the Sea Dogs can erase the memories of Saturday’s debacle with a victory over the Western Hockey League champion Edmonton Oil Kings tonight at Centre Bionest in Shawinigan. Game time is 8pm Atlantic.
The Oil Kings enter tonight’s game with a 1-0 record while the Sea Dogs sit at 0-1. With Shawinigan beating London last night, a Sea Dogs win this evening will square things up at 1-1 for all four teams heading into the final two days of round-robin action.
Tonight’s game, like every game at this tournament, will not be an easy one for the Sea Dogs. Edmonton opened the tournament with a 4-3 victory over the Cataractes on Friday night. The Oil Kings played well, but it’s probably safe to say we haven’t seen them at their best yet.
Edmonton rolled through the first three rounds of the WHL playoffs much like the Sea Dogs did in the QMJHL post-season. The Oil Kings lost just one game en route to the WHL Championship Series and that was in Game 4 of the semifinals when they already held a commanding 3-0 series lead.
In the final, the Portland Winterhawks took the Oil Kings all the way to Game 7 but could not handle Edmonton, falling 4-1 in the game. The Winterhawks led the series 2-1 at one point.
The Oil Kings had the best record in the WHL’s regular season, going 50-15-3-4 for 107 points. Edmonton was ranked fourth in the final edition of the BMO CHL MasterCard Top 10 Rankings.
This isn’t an elimination game, but the Sea Dogs might as well play like it is. A team falling to 0-2 at the Memorial Cup is in massive trouble. Saint John can avoid that problem with a win this evening.PLAYOFF NUMBERS
|Goals For/Game||5.75 (1st)||3.70 (3rd)|
|Goals Against/Game||2.18 (1st)||2.15 (1st)|
|Shots For/Game||35.38 (2nd)||34.55 (6th)|
|Shots Against/Game||26.11 (3rd)||30.50 (3rd)|
|Overall PP||28.2% (2nd)||20.3% (5th)|
|Home PP||39% (1st)||19.0% (9th)|
|Road PP||13.3% (12th)||22.2% (4th)|
|Overall PK||88.2% (1st)||86.3% (2nd)|
|Home PK||82.1% (7th)||90.7% (4th)|
|Road PK||94.6% (1st)||80.0% (7th)|
|PIM/GAME||16.1 (8th)||12.4 (12th)|
|Attendance||5,522 (3rd)||9,076 (2nd)|
LEADING SCORERS – PLAYOFFS
|Michael St. Croix||20||7||12||19|
GOALTENDERS - PLAYOFFS
|Jarry Tristan||0-0-0-0||- - -||- - -|
|Sebastien Auger||0-0-0-0||- - -||- - -|
The Cataractes and the Canadian Hockey League are working to make the ice conditions better for tonight’s game. They called in Mike Craig, the son of NHL ice guru Dan Craig, to try and fix some of the issues.
The ice certainly didn’t help the Sea Dogs on Saturday. Head coach Gerard Gallant told the Telegraph-Journal that it was “the worst ice we’ve played on in three years.”
"You can't make those touch passes and you can't be as risky," said Nathan Beaulieu to Yahoo! Sports. "Everything has to be hard. You know those sauce passes aren't going to work so you have to work on getting pucks in deep, because pucks are bouncing everywhere. You can't pinch as much. You have to adapt.”
In the late stages of last night’s London-Shawinigan game, fog was visible on the ice surface and some moisture could be seen on the glass in front of the penalty boxes.
The plan is to make the building colder. They’ve placed plastic and curtains over some of the building’s entrances.
This is only the second time in history that the Sea Dogs will face a Western Hockey League team. They lost 5-4 in overtime to the Kootenay Ice at last year’s tournament.
Sea Dogs goaltender Mathieu Corbeil played well on Saturday despite the loss. He is still looking for that first Memorial Cup win after losing to Kootenay in the lone game he appeared in at last year’s event.
Although it didn’t hurt them much on Saturday, the Sea Dogs must stay more disciplined. They gave London eight power play opportunities but the Knights could only connect on one of them. The Dogs scored twice while shorthanded.
"It's a concern that they can score at any time during the game," Oil Kings head coach Derek Laxdal told Sportsnet. "They can score, they're a threat and you have to really stick to your game. If you get outside your game-plan, they can run it up pretty quick."
HOW THEY GOT HERE
Edmonton: Defeated Kootenay 4-0 (Round One), defeated Brandon 4-0 (Round Two), defeated Moose Jaw 4-1 (Round Three) and defeated Portland 4-3 (Ed Chynoweth Cup).
Saint John: Defeated Cape Breton 4-0 (Round One), defeated Baie-Comeau 4-0 (Round Two), defeated Chicoutimi 4-1 (Round Three), and defeated Rimouski 4-0 (President's Cup Final).
- Keegan Lowe finished second in penalty minutes in the WHL playoffs with 44.
- Griffin Reinhart was a WHL best +14 in the playoffs.
- Curtis Lazare led all rookies in playoff scoring with 19 points.
- Goaltender Laurent Brossoit had the WHL’s second best save percentage (0.933) and second best goals against average (2.04) in the playoffs.
- Had a record of 10-1 when scoring first in the playoffs.
Saint John’s final round-robin game is on Wednesday against the 1-1 Cataractes.