Thursday, September 20, 2012

GAMEDAY 1 - vs Titan

Acadie-Bathurst Titan vs Saint John Sea Dogs
Tonight at 7pm
Radio: News 88.9 | Webcast: Telus | TV: None | Live Blog: SN
Harbour Station – Saint John, NB
SAINT JOHN – A new era in Saint John Sea Dogs hockey begins tonight.

After three straight years of domination in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League, it’s time for the Sea Dogs to start over and begin a new chapter in the club’s franchise history. Tonight the Dogs will raise another President Cup banner to the rafters of Harbour Station, a fitting end to the team’s glory days that may not be repeated for some time.

The Sea Dogs’ 2012-13 season will begin with a clash against the Acadie-Bathurst Titan. Game time this evening is 7pm.

Saint John’s lineup will have a dramatically different look to it than it did in May when the team’s season ended at the Memorial Cup semi-final. As Neil Hodge put it in today’s Times & Transcript, "Saint John lost its starting goaltender, four of its top six defencemen and six of its top eight scorers."

Gone are Charlie Coyle, Zack Phillips, Tomas Jurco, Danick Gauthier, Nathan Beaulieu, Charles Roussel, Stanislav Galiev, Mathieu Corbeil, and others. Even head coach Gerard Gallant has moved on. Only a few players remain from the core group that went to three straight league finals. But that core group had to start somewhere. A new nucleus of players hits the ice tonight.

It’s going to be an interesting season that’s for sure. How long will Jonathan Huberdeau be here? Will the Dogs have enough fire power in their offense? Will this mix of veterans and rookies on the backend hold up? Is Sebastien Auger a No. 1 caliber goaltender? The list of questions goes on and on. While these questions may cause some concern, they also create some excitement and intrigue. It feels a bit like the start of the 2009-10 campaign. While I don’t expect this year’s squad to be quite that successful, I do expect this team to provide plenty of excitement, energy, and hope for the future.

Call it a rebuild year. Call it a transition year. Call it whatever you want. It’s the start of something new - and it all begins tonight.

Saint John’s final pre-season game was on September 8 at Harbour Station when they lost 5-3 to the Moncton Wildcats. Andreas Tsogkas, Aidan Kelly, and Stephen Anderson scored for the Dogs. Sebastien Auger allowed three goals on 16 shots in 40 minutes of action. Alex Fournier allowed two goals on 11 shots in 20 minutes.

Bathurst's final pre-season contest was on September 14 in Rimouski. Jacob Brennan allowed five goals on 41 shots in a 5-0 loss.

The Sea Dogs were 4-3-0-1 against the Titan last season while Bathurst went 4-4-0-0 against Saint John.

These two met in pre-season action on August 22 with Bathurst winning 5-2. Marcus Cuomo and Connor Donaghey scored for Saint John. The Titan had goals from Alexandre Gosselin, Patrick Zdrahal, Sean Girard, Robert Davis, and Olivier Houle. Jacob Brennan allowed two goals on 18 shots. Sebastien Auger allowed two goals on 26 shots in half-a-game of action while Alex Fournier allowed three goals on 14 shots.

The last time these two met in regular season action was on March 3 at Harbour Station. Stephen MacAulay, Jonathan Huberdeau, Tomas Jurco, Danick Gauthier, and Nathan Beaulieu all scored as the Sea Dogs beat the Titan 5-2.Christophe Lalancette and Christophe Losier scored for Bathurst. Robert Steeves allowed five goals on 38 shots in the loss while Mathieu Corbeil allowed two on 29 shots in the win.

According to the lineup posted in the Telegraph-Journal, forwards Matthew Highmore and Spencer Smallman and defensemen David Weckworth and Pierre Durepos are all currently nursing injuries.

The Summerside Journal Pioneer has an article on Mike Kelly. He’ll be making his full time Sea Dogs head coaching debut this evening.

“We have a lot of skilled players, but they are young,” Kelly said. “We are trying to get a lot of young players into our lineup. They need experience and time to grow as players.

“It will be very similar to the types of teams we’ve had in the past, but we are going to be younger and inexperienced.”

The results of Saint John’s past season openers:

2005: St. John’s 3, Saint John 2
2006: Rimouski 2, Saint John 3 (OT)
2007: Saint John 1, Lewiston 4
2008: Saint John 3, Bathurst 2 (OT)
2009: Saint John 4, Bathurst 3 (SO)
2010: PEI 4, Saint John 6
2011: Moncton 3, Saint John 1
2012: Bathurst at Saint John

The Sea Dogs are 4-3-0-0 all-time in season openers.

You know we have to post this.

  • Zach O’Brien probably won’t take a penalty tonight.
  • Most “experts” have the Titan finishing in the top half of the league and either second or third in the Maritimes Division. In typical Titan fashion, they’ll have an unreal top line.
  • These teams meet again tomorrow night at the KC Irving Regional Centre.
  • This is the third time in five season that Sea Dogs have played the Titan to open the season.
  • @SeaDogsLive has your Twitter updates tonight. Live blog will be up and running on this site as well.
  • Who knows when the Sea Dogs will be raising a banner again. Enjoy the moment.


The Sea Dogs and Titan battle tomorrow night at 7:30pm at the KC Irving Regional Centre.

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