Sunday, March 30, 2014

The Next Round Is Set

And then there was one.

With the Moncton Wildcats losing to the Blainville-Boisbriand Armada tonight, the Halifax Mooseheads are the lone Maritime team remaining in the 2014 Quebec Major Junior Hockey League playoffs.

The Wildcats lost their first round series to the Armada 4-2, dropping Game 6 on Sunday by score of 4-2. The Armada won the game without the services of former Sea Dogs forward Ryan Tesink who was suspended five games by the QMJHL for a hit from behind in Game 5.

With Moncton being eliminated, the second round matchups have now been determined. They are as follows:

Baie-Comeau (1) vs Rouyn-Noranda (10)
Halifax (2) vs Gatineau (8)
Val-d’Or (3) vs Drummondville (6)
Rimouski (4) vs Blainville-Boisbriand (5)

So there’s that.

Two months until QMJHL Entry Draft day.

Saturday, March 29, 2014

QMJHL Suspends Tesink Five Games

Ryan Tesink’s Quebec Major Junior Hockey League career could be over.

The 20-year old forward was suspended five games by the QMJHL today for a hit from behind on Adam Holwell of the Moncton Wildcats on Thursday. The Armada lost the game 3-2 but lead the series 3-2 heading into Game 6 on home ice tomorrow.

The above video of the hit has over 6,000 views on YouTube and a Yahoo Sports article has almost 40 comments on the situation.

Tesink is tied for the Armada playoff scoring lead with four goals and three assists for seven points in the five games. It’s a big loss for Blainville-Boisbriand as Danick Martel, who had five goals in this series, suffered a broken collar bone on Thursday, according to the Times & Trancript.

Tesink and Martel have combined to score nine of the Armada’s 18 goals in this series. This could be trouble, especially with the Wildcats already winning a game on enemy ice. 

Friday, March 28, 2014

A Playoff Update

The Moncton Wildcats are still alive in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League playoffs.

The Wildcats staved off elimination with a 3-2 victory in Game 5 last night over the Blainville-Boisbriand Armada. The Armada lead the series 3-2 heading into Game 6 in BLB on Sunday.

Former Sea Dog and current Armada forward Ryan Tesink had an eventful game, fighting Garrett Johnston in the first period and then getting thrown out in the second for a check from behind on Adam Holwell.

The Wildcats and Halifax Mooseheads are the only Maritime based QMJHL teams remaining in post-season play. The Mooseheads completed a sweep last night over the Charlottetown Islanders at Eastlink Centre. The Acadie-Bathurst Titan were swept also swept away by the Val-d’Or Foreurs and the Cape Breton Screaming Eagles lost in four straight to the Gatineau Olympiques. All three of these series were delayed a day due to the blizzard.

A few other playoff related notes:

  • With the Titan eliminated, Scott Oke’s QMJHL career has come to an end. Oke, who played parts of three seasons with the Dogs, had 64 goals and 159 points in 252 career regular season games. He added nine goals and 12 assists in 49 playoff games.
  • The Wildcats had to start last night’s game at 6 pm because of some trade show at the Moncton Coliseum this weekend. It just wouldn’t be the playoffs without something weird like this happening in Moncton.
  • According to the Screaming Eagles’ Twitter, the start of their second period was delayed due to a technical issue with the video review system. Odd.
  • Rimouski and Baie-Comeau have already moved on with sweeps over Chicoutimi and Shawinigan, respectively. Drummondville leads Victoriaville 3-1 and Rouyn-Noranda leads Quebec 3-1 heading into Game 5s tonight.
  • Five of the eight first round matches have ended in sweeps. Oh, the excitement.
  • Just over two months until draft day! Yeah!
Photo: Marc Henwood/Station Nation

Saturday, March 22, 2014

VIDEO: Hotstove Talks Eichel

Hockey Night in Canada’s Hotstove examined the Jack Eichel rumours tonight. The talk starts around the one-minute mark.

Nothing we all didn’t already know or assumed, really. Nice to see the HNIC crew is aware of Saint John’s situation regarding 2017, though.

Sea Dogs Attendance Down Again

The final numbers are in, and Saint John’s attendance dropped by over 500 fans per game for the second straight season.

The Sea Dogs averaged 3,423 fans per game during the 2013-14 season, the lowest average in team history. Despite the dip, the Dogs were ranked fifth overall in Quebec Major Junior Hockey League attendance behind Quebec, Halifax, Moncton, and Rimouski.

Strangely enough, it’s the second straight season that the Sea Dogs’ attendance dropped by exactly 569 fans per game, meaning the club averaged 1,138 less fans per game this year than it did in 2011-12. Given the state of the on-ice product it’s not a huge surprise but, still, it is a fairly big drop in a two-year span.

Here’s a look at Saint John’s year-by-year attendance numbers and where they ranked in the league.

2005-06156,6944,477 (4th)
2006-07134,3543,839 (6th)
2007-08139,2143,978 (5th)
2008-09133,6133,930 (5th)
2009-10140,7794,141 (4th)
2010-11152,2374,478 (4th)
2011-12155,0604,561 (3rd)
2012-13135,7323,992 (4th)
2013-14116,3803,423 (5th)

The largest crowd at Harbour Station this season was 5,824. The smallest was 2,467.

Hopefully, with the team expected to improve next season, the attendance improves as well. Personally, I think the in-house game day experience could use an overhaul. Is it still one of the best in the league? Yup, it is. But even the best experiences need to change and evolve over time. I bet most season ticket holders could tell you word-for-word what the game day host will say at certain points at each home game. The time has come to shake things up.

Titan Nation has a great chart showing which teams saw attendance increases and decreases in the QMJHL this season.

Friday, March 21, 2014 Releases New Rankings released their latest rankings for the 2014 QMJHL Entry Draft yesterday.

Once again, American defenseman Chad Krys topped the list. He is unlikely to go first overall because he probably won’t report to the league next year or possibly ever. Quebec born defenseman Samuel Girard was ranked second.

Given Saint John’s offensive struggles this past season, they seem destined to take a forward with their top pick. Pascal Laberge of the Quebec AAA ranks is the top ranked forward at No. 3 overall. “Without a doubt, Laberge is the best forward available from the province of Quebec,” writes

In 40 games with the Ch√Ęteauguay Grenadiers this season, Laberge had 20 goals and 23 assists.

Newfoundlander Jordan Maher is the top ranked Atlantic Canadian, coming in at No. 4. Maher led the Newfoundland & Labrador Major Midget Hockey League in scoring this season with 23 goals and 24 assists in 24 games. He added 10 goals and 11 assists in 10 playoff games – tops in the league – and helped the Central IcePak win a championship.

Mitchell Balmas of the Cape Breton Tradesmen, also a forward, sits seventh. has their top 18 listed on their website. You must be a subscriber to view the top 100.

The QMJHL Entry Draft takes place on May 31st in Sherbrooke. The Sea Dogs will select either first or second overall.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Playoff Predictions Are Here

The Quebec Major Junior Hockey League playoffs begin tonight. Here are our predictions for the opening round.

Baie-Comeau Drakkar (1) vs Shawinigan Cataractes (16)
Kevin: Bottom line in this series - too much firepower and too much depth on the Drakkar side of the ice for the Cataractes to handle. Baie-Comeau is the No. 1 seed for a reason and Shawinigan traded away its best offensive players at the deadline in Frederick Gaudreau and Francis Beauvillier. Marvin Cupper will have to stand on his head just to steal a game - and he may come close - but in the end an easy series for the league’s regular season champs. Drakkar in 4.

Jamie: Got to respect the Cataractes for not just mailing it in this season after such a bad start. They went 1-4-0-1 against the Drakkar this season, which isn’t terrible but not good either. I don’t see Baie-Comeau having a lot of trouble. Drakkar in 4.

Halifax Mooseheads (2) vs Charlottetown Islanders (15)
Kevin: The defending President and Memorial Cup Champions will have an easy first round against the Islanders. Charlottetown cleaned house at the deadline and will rely on rookie standout Daniel Sprong. Halifax just has way too much depth and throw in Drouin, Ehlers, and others and the Isles will be lucky to steal a game in this matchup. Mooseheads in 4.

Jamie: Mooseheads should roll through this series. Unlimited points for Ehlers and Drouin coming up. Daniel Sprong’s time will come. Mooseheads in 4.

Val-d’Or Foreurs (3) vs Acadie-Bathurst Titan (14)
Kevin: This, for me, might be the most lopsided matchup of the first round. The league’s most potent offense against the league’s lowest scoring team just about says it all for this one. The Foreurs have the league’s scoring champion in Anthony Mantha, the most dangerous offensive defenseman in Guillaume Gelinas, and they added Antoine Bibeau to sure up the ‘tender position.  This one is not even close. Foreurs in 4

Jamie: Can’t say I’m too excited about this series. Anthony Mantha will probably average five goals per game or something ridiculous. Foreurs in 4.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

DeSerres Named Top CIS Goaltender

Jacob DeSerres has been named the CIS Goaltender of the Year and a First Team All-Canadian.

The former Sea Dogs goaltender posted an impressive 13-2-0 record with the University of Calgary Dinos this season to go along with a 2.15 goals against average and a .914 save percentage. He finished third in the Canada West conference in wins, GAA, and SV%. In the playoffs, DeSerres went 2-2 with a 2.49 GAA and .910 SV%.

The Dinos finished the regular season with a 21-4-3 record which placed them second overall behind the University of Alberta Golden Bears. The Dinos then lost the Canada West final to the rival Golden Bears.

DeSerres played one season with the Sea Dogs, helping the team win their first President Cup and Memorial Cup in 2011.

This year’s University Cup begins on Thursday in Saskatoon. The host Saskatchewan Huskies will be joined by the Golden Bears, Acadia Axemen, Windsor Lancers, McGill Redmen, and Carleton Ravens. Defenseman Jason Seed (Carleton), goaltender Karel St. Laurent (Redmen), and goaltender Matthew Dopud (Carleton) are the only former Sea Dogs taking part in this year’s tournament.

The 2015 and 2016 editions of the University Cup will be held at the Halifax Metro Centre.

Photo: Marc Henwood/Station Nation

Wednesday Random Notes

Here’s John Moore video of the dustup that ended last Friday’s game in Halifax between the Sea Dogs and Mooseheads. Note the move Sebastien Auger makes at the top of the screen around the 49 second mark to get around the official. Auger and Moose goaltender Kevin Darveau had to be separated (cool photo here).

Some other news and notes…

  • Saint John’s 19 wins this season is the second fewest in team history. The 15 they had in 2005-06 is the fewest. The 43 points they earned this year ties them with the 2006-07 team for the second fewest. It’s worth noting that the 2005-06 and 2006-07 seasons featured 70 games scheduled, two more games than 2013-14.
  • The Sea Dogs scored 165 goals this season which is the fewest in team history. They had 173 last season and 174 in 2005-06. It’s pretty obvious that the team needs to add some more skill to its roster this off-season.
  • On News 88.9 this morning, Tim Roszell confirmed that import Jurij Repe would not be back next season as an overage defenseman. Right now, it appears the Sea Dogs’ trio of overages this fall will be Sebastien Auger, Michael Abbott, and Stephen Anderson and the team will use both of their picks in the CHL Import Draft.
  • Reports say there was noticeable applause for Boston area native Charlie Coyle at TD Garden on Monday. A ton of his family and friends were in attendance. He was named third star in Minnesota’s 4-1 loss to the Bruins.
  • Tomas Jurco could miss a month with a broken rib. The Red Wings are broken right now, man.
  • On a random note, Felix Schutz is having a good year in the KHL. He sits 19th in league scoring with 16 goals and 38 points in 54 games with Admiral Vladivostok.
  • TSN legend Vic Rauter has been making regular mentions of the Sea Dogs during the Ford World Women’s Curling Championship broadcast from Harbour Station.
  • Pierre McGuire referred to Saint John as “St. John’s” on NBC Sports Network the other day. Very unlike Pierre.
  • Not really sure why, but Game 1 of the Islanders/Mooseheads series will be on Sportsnet Friday night at 8pm. Probably going to be a blowout.
  • Agent Allan Walsh tweeted the following yesterday: “NHL Draft 2015 Top Prospect: Congrats to Saint John (QMJHL) forward Nathan Noel on a fantastic rookie season. 63 GP, 16G+23A, 39 Pts.” I wonder who Noel’s agent is?

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Auger Wins Big Again

As expected, Sebastien Auger was the big winner at the Saint John Sea Dogs’ annual awards banquet held on Tuesday night at the Delta Brunswick.

The Sea Dogs goaltender, who played a vital role in most of Saint John’s wins this season, was named the club’s Most Valuable Player while also picking up the Three Stars and Team Player Awards. It’s the second straight year that Auger has been named MVP, joining Chris DiDomenico as the only other player to win it back-to-back.

Here are all the award winners:

Alpine Three Stars Award – Sebastien Auger
Pepsi Top Scorer Award – Oliver Cooper
Scotiabank Community Service Award – Jason Cameron
Saint John Airport Academic Player Award – Jason Cameron
Tim Hortons Most Improved Player – Thomas Chabot
Irving Oil Team Player Award – Sebastien Auger
Sun Life Global Investments Top Defenseman – Olivier LeBlanc
Grant Thornton Rookie of the Year – Nathan Noel
Children’s Wish Foundation Fan Choice Award – Oliver Cooper
Bell Aliant Most Valuable Player – Sebastien Auger

No surprises.

The QMJHL unveiled the nominees for the Golden Puck Awards today. No members of the Sea Dogs were nominated for awards.

Dogs Sign Cowan To Two-Year Extension

The Sea Dogs announced this morning that they have signed assistant coach Jeff Cowan to a two-year contract extension. The deal runs through the 2015-16 season and, as usual, no financial details were released.

Cowan joined the club this past November soon after the firing of head coach and general manager Mike Kelly. Cowan and Greg Leland acted as assistants to head coach Ross Yates.

From the Sea Dogs’ release:

He began his professional playing career with the American Hockey League's Saint John Flames, suiting up for 209 games over four seasons between 1996 and 2000.

The native of Scarborough, Ontario, spent parts of eight seasons in the National Hockey League with the Calgary Flames, Atlanta Thrashers, Los Angeles Kings and Vancouver Canucks, registering 47 goals and 81 points in 413 career games.

He also played three more seasons in the AHL, and another in Germany, before retiring in 2012.

"Jeff has been a great addition to our coaching staff," said Sea Dogs' President Wayne Long. "His NHL career speaks for itself, and we are fortunate to have someone like him behind the bench. Our players respect him and he will be an important part of our drive for a future championship."

Yates also signed a two-year extension with the team last month.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Reports: Eichel Still Going To BU

So there's that. I'm still willing to bet Eichel-to-QMJHL speculation does not end until after the World Juniors.

UPDATE: Mike McMahon has much more over at College Hockey News. Young met with Eichel's "family advisor" last week and spoke to his family over the phone.

A Look Back At The 2013-14 Season

By Kevin Chambers | @SNCanucklehead
SN Staff

As another season of Saint John Sea Dogs hockey draws to a close, let's take a look back at the season that was and look ahead to the future that has yet to come.

The 2013-14 season was filled with ups and downs along with a lot of new faces and the connecting of new names to numbers we often associate with previous players. One thing became clear throughout this season - changes were coming and more are yet to come.

Armed with a very young squad, the Sea Dogs actually had a good year all things considered. This despite missing the playoffs for the first time since 2006-07. This season the Sea Dogs finished with a record of 19-44-2-3 for a total of 43 points while last season their record was 23-44-1-0 for a total of 47 points.

On the surface you may think they took a step backwards this season having four less wins and four less points overall. However, the Sea Dogs actually did improve over last season. We often hear about teams being in Year 1 or Year 2 of their rebuilding phase, but it really should be looked at as more of a Phase 1, Phase 2, etc.

Looking back at the 2012-13 season, Saint John began the year having players like Jonathan Huberdeau, Ryan Tesink, Stephen MacAulay, and Kevin Gagne who were key contributors to the team’s success over the previous three unbelievable campaigns. At this point the rebuilding phase hadn’t even begun because these most valuable assets were still playing for the club.

Phase 1 - this phase truly began when the trade period opened over the Christmas break last season.  During this phase Saint John moved out Gagne, MacAulay, and Tesink along with Aidan Kelly and Benjamin Hade. These players would be dealt for draft picks in both the 2013 and 2014 QMJHL Entry Drafts. With the NHL returning to action the Florida Panthers decided to keep Huberdeau in the NHL so ultimately he would begin and end his QMJHL career as a Sea Dog, meaning Saint John would end up with no return for the most valuable asset the club has ever had.

By comparison, the final 30 games after these players were all dealt saw the 2012-13 Sea Dogs compile a record of 5-24-1-0 for a total of 11 points. Meanwhile, the 2013-14 squad managed to post a record of 9-19-2-0 for a total of 20 points. The second part of the 2012-13 season is the part of the year that should be focused on when trying to compare this season versus last.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Now What?

With the season over, here are some things to watch for/follow over the coming weeks and months.

Sea Dogs Awards Banquet – takes place this Tuesday at the Delta Brunswick. Sebastien Auger will probably win some stuff.

The President Cup Playoffs – looks like they will begin this Thursday. The Sea Dogs won’t be involved but some former Dogs will be.

The Coin Flip – usually takes place in early April. It’ll be Saint John versus Sherbrooke to see who selects first overall in the QMJHL Entry Draft. The Sea Dogs have had good luck with these in the past and picked first in 2005, 2006, and 2007.

The QMJHL Entry Draft – takes place May 31st in Sherbrooke. The Sea Dogs will pick first or second overall. Here are the picks Saint John has as per the French boards: 1-2-4(CAP)-4(SHE)-7-8-9-11-12-13-14.

Trades – have to wonder if the Dogs might make some moves at the draft to try and acquire some more early round picks.

The NHL Draft – takes place June 27-28 in Philadelphia. Olivier LeBlanc and possibly others should be selected.

The CHL Import Draft - takes place sometime in early July. With Saint John finishing 17th overall, we believe they will pick fifth overall. The Sea Dogs are expected to use both of their picks in this year’s draft.

Free Agents - Darrell Young has said in a few different interviews that several free agents will be brought in for training camp. Decent chance some of these names become public over the summer months.

Radio Rights - the CRTC finally approved the sale of News 88.9 to Newcap this past week. The station will reportedly be turned into an “an Adult Contemporary format ‘appealing to listeners between 25 and 54 years of age.’” Where the Dogs will be heard next season is up in the air.

10th Anniversary – it’s hard to believe but next season is the Sea Dogs’ 10th in the QMJHL. They’ll probably unveil some info on what’s going on with that over the off-season.

News & Notes From Saturday's Game

With a 6-2 loss in Charlottetown last night, the Sea Dogs finish the season with a 19-44-2-3 record which places them last in the Telus Maritimes Division and 17th overall. The team also ended the season on a seven-game losing streak.

As for Charlottetown, with their win and a Shawinigan loss they finished 15th overall and will take on the Halifax Mooseheads in the first-round of the President Cup playoffs.

Some stuff from last night’s game…
  • Charlottetown scored on their first shot of the game at 4:12. A David Henley slap shot from just inside the blue line opened the scoring.
  • Josh Shatford and Zach Beaton each scored their first career goals in the first period. Beaton added another in the third while Shatford had a couple other good scoring chances.
  • Despite the fact the Dogs were down 3-1 after one, they outshot the Islanders 18-8. They had a few power plays to help out their shot total. 10 of those shots were considered dangerous.
  • The Isles dominated the shot clock in the second period, outshooting Saint John 22-7. They basically dominated the first eight minutes of play in the frame.
  • Keeping with the theme of firsts, Luc Deschenes scored his first goal as a member of the Islanders in the second period. The Fredericton native, who was passed over several times by the Dogs in the 2013 QMJHL Entry Draft, finished his rookie season with three goals and five assists in 47 games.
  • Spencer Smallman had both Saint John goals and had a team high seven shots. Smallman finishes the season with 12 goals and 23 assists in 66 games. He had six points in his rookie campaign.
  • Nathan Noel had two assists to finish the season with 39 points, good for 12th in QMJHL rookie scoring. Charlottetown’s Daniel Sprong, who had a goal last night, led all 16-year olds in scoring with 68 points.
  • Antoine Landry got the start in net and made 31 saves in the loss.
  • Saint John had nine power play opportunities but could only score on one of them. They had some good pressure applied in the offensive zone on most of them but couldn't generate a lot of quality chances.
  • Sell-out crowd of 3,718 watched the game at Eastlink Centre. Their attendance increased 634 fans per game with the new ownership group.
  • 20-year olds Jason Cameron and Lukas Walter played their final game as a Sea Dog. David Weckworth did not play because of an upper body injury. It was also very likely the last game for import Jurij Repe. Pretty good chance a few others played their last game as well.
  • The Sea Dogs were without forwards Joey Richard (shoulder), Stephen Anderson (upper body), and Kelly Bent (suspension) along with defensemen David Weckworth (upper body), Jeremy Doucet (upper body), and Michael Abbott (wrist).
  • Defenseman Bailey Webster was recalled to play in this game. It was his seventh game with the club this season. He had a shot and two hits in this game.

Saturday, March 15, 2014

The Playoffs Are Set

The 2013-14 Quebec Major Junior Hockey League regular season is over. Here are the first-round playoff matchups:

1. Baie-Comeau vs 16. Shawinigan
2. Halifax vs 15. Charlottetown
3. Val-d’Or vs 14. Bathurst
4. Rimouski vs 13. Chicoutimi
5. Blainville-Boisbriand 12. Moncton
6. Drummondville vs 11.  Victoriaville
7. Quebec vs 10. Rouyn-Noranda
8. Gatineau vs 9. Cape Breton

Also, don’t forget about the epic upcoming coin flip between the two teams that missed the playoffs – Saint John and Sherbrooke. The winner will pick first overall in the QMJHL Entry Draft.

RECAP: Closing Time. Dogs Lose 6-2.

FINAL: Saint John 2, Charlottetown 6
CHARLOTTETOWN, PEI – A long 2013-14 season is over for the Saint John Sea Dogs.

The rebuilding team finishes the campaign with a 19-44-2-3 record following a 6-2 loss to the Charlottetown Islanders at Eastlink Centre on Saturday night. The team finishes last in the Telus Maritimes Division and 17th overall in the 18-team Quebec Major Junior Hockey League, missing the playoffs for the third time in team history and first since 2006-07.

The final result of Saint John’s season isn’t an overly surprising one. This team began their rebuild last season and continued into this year. But there is hope. The 2013-14 edition of this team showcased plenty of promising talent for the next few years and they’ll have high picks in this summer’s drafts. It’s hard to say what this team will look like come opening night in September, but it’s sure to be one boosted with new additions.

Like Friday in Halifax, the Sea Dogs got behind in the first and could never climb back. Spencer Smallman had Saint John’s two goals while Antoine Landry made 31 stops in the loss.

Zach Beaton had two goals for the Islanders while singles came from David Henley, Josh Shatford, Luc Deschenes, and Daniel Sprong. Mason McDonald made 35 saves in the win.

GAMEDAY 68 - at Charlottetown

A preview of today’s game between the Saint John Sea Dogs and Charlottetown Islanders…

When and where: Tonight at 7:00 PM AST, Eastlink Centre

TV/Radio: TELUS Webcast/News 88.9

Records: The Sea Dogs are sixth in the Telus Maritimes Division and 17th overall in the QMJHL with a 19-43-2-3 record for 43 points. The Islanders are fifth in the Telus Maritimes Division and 16th overall with a 20-39-3-5 record for 48 points.

Last games: The Sea Dogs are coming off a 7-2 loss in Halifax last night where they allowed five goals in the first period. The Islanders are coming off a 3-1 home loss to the Acadie-Bathurst Titan last night. Daniel Sprong had the only goal for the Isles.

2013-14 head-to-head: The Sea Dogs are 4-3-0-1 against the Islanders this season while Charlottetown is 4-3-0-1 against Saint John.

Last meeting: February 23rd at Eastlink Centre when the Sea Dogs defeated the Islanders 2-1. Nathan Noel had both of Saint John’s goals.

Random stat: Entering play tonight, Charlottetown's attendance is up over 600 fans per game from last season.

Ex-Sea Dogs on the Islanders: None

SJ notes: This is the final game of the season for the Sea Dogs… defenseman Bailey Webster has been called up for today’s game… if the Sea Dogs lose today, 19 wins will be the second fewest in team history… have lost six straight and are 2-7-1-0 in their last 10 games… after allowing seven goals last night, Sebastien Auger now has the league’s second best save percentage of .915… Thomas Chabot has penalty minutes in five straight games.

CHA notes: The Islanders sit one-point back of 15th-place Shawinigan… losers of four straight and are 2-5-2-1 in their last 10 games… Daniel Sprong is second in rookie scoring (67), goals (29), and assists (38)… a league worst 6-17-2-4 when scoring first… 14-24-2-3 against the Maritimes Division... Eric Brassard is 3-3 with a 1.99 GAA and .935 SV% against Saint John this season.

News & Notes From Friday's Game

Last night’s 7-2 loss in Halifax means Saint John has officially been eliminated from playoff contention. Shawinigan grabbed the final spot and even leapfrogged Charlottetown with a win last night.

It’s the first time the Sea Dogs have missed the playoffs since the 2006-07 season. How long ago was that? Claude Giroux was one of the league’s top scorers, the St. John’s Fog Devils finished just ahead of the Sea Dogs in the East Division, and the Lewiston Maineiacs were the top team in the league.

The Sea Dogs and Sherbrooke Phoenix are the only two teams in the league to miss this year’s post-season and the two will take part in a coin flip to determine who has the first overall pick in the QMJHL Entry Draft. Saint John will also pick fifth overall in the CHL Import Draft.

Some other stuff from last night’s game…
  • Halifax really came to play last night. They took a 3-0 lead before the game was seven minutes old and led 5-0 after one period, outshooting Saint John 17-5. Matthew Highmore had Saint John’s best scoring chance of the period and Zach Fucale made a fairly easy stop on it.
  • The Moose kept rolling in the second period, scoring two more times and getting 19 shots on net. They took their foot off the gas a bit in the third and allowed the Dogs to get two goals but the result of the game was never in doubt.
  • Saint John’s power play was once again ineffective, going 1-for-7 on the night. Their only goal on the man advantage came late in the third. The Sea Dogs had 23 shots overall in this game with 12 being considered dangerous. Their offense wasn't great but better than the last time they played the Moose.
  • Thanks to two goals and an assist last night, Jonathan Drouin now has 101 points on the year with one game to play. Philippe Gadoury also had two goals and an assist.
  • The Sea Dogs managed to keep Nikolaj Ehlers to just one goal. So that’s something.
  • Marcus Cuomo and Mathieu Joseph each had two assists.
  • Zach Fucale was taken out of the Moose net after two periods and replaced by Kevin Darveau. Sebastien Auger played the entire game for Saint John. It’s got to be rare that the team leading 7-0 changes goalies and the team losing does not.
  • With the game being a blowout so early, there were plenty of fights throughout as you would expect. There was quite a scene at the end of the game following a late Jason Cameron shot on goal as the horn sounded. Everyone on the ice got involved, including Sebastien Auger who had to be separated from Kevin Darveau by an official.
  • Halifax wore their green third jerseys so the Sea Dogs were in white.
  • The Sea Dogs were without forwards Joey Richard (shoulder) and Stephen Anderson (upper body) along with Michael Abbott (wrist), Jeremy Doucet (upper body), and David Weckworth (upper body). News 88.9 reported Nathan Noel was a late scratch with the flu. He is listed on the QMJHL’s game sheet.

Friday, March 14, 2014

RECAP: It's Over. Dogs Lose 7-2.

FINAL: Saint John 2, Halifax 7

HALIFAX – A five-goal first period led the Halifax Mooseheads to a 7-2 victory over the Saint John Sea Dogs on Friday night.

The Mooseheads came flying out of the gate, scoring three times before the game was seven minutes old. They would add two more to take a 7-0 lead after two. Halifax took their foot off the gas a bit in the third but still managed a fairly easy 7-2 win over the Sea Dogs in front of a packed Halifax Metro Centre.

There really isn’t a whole lot to say about this game. The Mooseheads are significantly better than the Sea Dogs right now and it showed. Things were a bit nasty throughout, there were several fights, etc.

The win was Halifax’s 12th straight. Meanwhile, Saint John’s sixth straight loss officially eliminated them from playoff contention. It’s the first time since the 2006-07 season that the Sea Dogs will not be appearing the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League’s post-season.

Jonathan Drouin and Philippe Gadoury each scored twice for the Moose while singles came from Brendan Duke, Nikolaj Ehlers, and Brandon Vuic. Zach Fucale made 11 saves through two while Kevin Darveau made 10 saves in the third.

Jurij Repe and Nicolas Hebert each scored late in the third when the game was already out of reach. Sebastien Auger played the entire game and allowed seven goals on 42 shots.

Sea Dogs Eliminated

HALIFAX – For the first time since the 2006-07 season, the Saint John Sea Dogs will not be appearing in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League’s post-season.

The Sea Dogs were officially eliminated from playoff contention with a 7-2 loss in Halifax tonight. Saint John’s elimination means the Shawinigan Cataractes grab the final spot and the Sea Dogs will join the Sherbrooke Phoenix on the sidelines.

The goal of every team is to make the playoffs but, looking at the bigger picture, missing the playoffs and getting higher draft picks is better for the team moving forward. The Dogs will now pick either first or second in the QMJHL Entry Draft and top five in the CHL Import Draft.

The Sea Dogs play their final game of the 2013-14 season tomorrow night in Charlottetown.

This is only the third time Saint John has missed the playoffs in team history. The squad did not appear in the playoffs in 2005-06 and 2006-07. They picked first overall in the QMJHL Entry Draft following both of those seasons.

GAMEDAY 67 - at Halifax

A preview of tonight’s game between the Saint John Sea Dogs and Halifax Mooseheads…

When and where: Tonight at 7:00 PM AST, Halifax Metro Centre

TV/Radio: Telus Webcast/News 88.9

Records: The Sea Dogs are sixth in the Telus Maritimes Division and 17th overall with a 19-42-2-3 record for 43 points. The Mooseheads are first in the Telus Maritimes Division and second overall with a 45-18-0-3 record for 93 points.

Last games: The Sea Dogs are coming off a 2-1 loss in Cape Breton on Wednesday night. Oliver Cooper had Saint John’s only goal. The Mooseheads are coming off a 3-2 overtime win in Charlottetown on Tuesday night. Jonathan Drouin and Andrew Ryan each had a goal and an assist.

2013-14 head-to-head: The Sea Dogs are 1-6-0-0 against the Mooseheads this season while Halifax is 6-1-0-0 against Saint John.

Last meeting: March 8th at Harbour Station when the Mooseheads defeated the Sea Dogs 4-0. Saint John record just four shots in each period for a franchise low 12 in total.

Random stat: Nikolaj Ehlers has posted an impressive 17 goals and 29 points during his current 11-game point streak.

Ex-Sea Dogs on the Mooseheads: None

SJ notes: The Sea Dogs must win tonight’s game and hope Shawinigan loses in regulation time to keep their playoff hopes alive… defenseman David Weckworth was hurt in Wednesday’s game and did not play in the final two periods… defenseman Jurij Repe and forward Marcus Cuomo are expected to return from suspension tonight… losers of five straight and are 2-7-1-0 in their last 10 games… entering the final weekend of the season, Sebastien Auger still leads the league in saves and save percentage (.917)… Nathan Noel is 12th in rookie scoring with 37 points… averaging a league high 37.21 shots against per game… Repe has penalty minutes in six straight games… have lost three straight on the road.

HFX notes: The Moose have won 11 straight games… two points back of Baie-Comeau/Rimouski for first overall in the league… Nikolaj Ehlers is third in the league in scoring with 100 points… Ehlers is fifth in goals with 47… Jonathan Drouin is sixth in the league in scoring with 98 points… Drouin is second in assists with 72… Zach Fucale leads the league in GAA (2.24) and wins with 35… Ehlers leads all rookies in points, goals, and assists (53)… MacKenzie Weegar is fourth in defensemen scoring with 55 points… 31-8-0-1 when scoring first… the Moose have scored a league high 23 shorthanded goals… averaging 4.16 goals per game, second best in the league… Ehlers and Drouin are on 11-game point streaks… tonight’s game is sold out.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Webster, Wild Win PEI Championship

Sea Dogs prospect Bailey Webster helped his Midget AAA squad win a provincial championship on Wednesday. From the NB/PEI Major Midget Hockey League website:

Max Morrison scored the winner with 2:45 remaining as the Kensington Monaghan Farms Wild edged the Charlottetown Mark's Work Wearhouse Islanders 3-2 to clinch the PEI Title. 
Kensington wins the best-of-seven PEI Championship series 4 games to 2 and will go on to represent PEI at the Atlantic Major Midget AAA Championships April 3 - 6th in Pictou County, NS.

Webster had a goal and two assists in six playoff games with the Wild. He finished third on the team in regular season scoring with five goals and 25 points in 31 games.

The 16-year old defenseman was a seventh-round pick of the Dogs in the 2013 QMJHL Entry Draft. He looked pretty good in six games with Saint John this season, recording three assists.

The New Brunswick final features the Saint John Vitos taking on the Moncton Flyers in a first-to-eight points series. The Vitos lead that series 2-0 with Game 2 scheduled for tomorrow night at the qplex.

News & Notes From Wednesday's Game

SYDNEY, NS – Saint John’s 2-1 loss to the Cape Breton Screaming Eagles last night is devastating to the team’s playoff hopes.

With Shawinigan also winning, the Sea Dogs must now win both of their remaining games and hope the Cataractes lose their remaining two games in regulation time in order to make the playoffs. The Sea Dogs are four points back of the final playoff spot currently held by the Cats and Saint John would win the tiebreaker.

The chances of the Sea Dogs making the playoffs appear slim because of the fact that they are playing the Mooseheads in front of a sold-out Metro Centre on Friday night. Halifax is in a battle for first overall, have won 11 straight, and dominated much of their last meeting against Saint John.

Last night’s action also eliminated Sherbrooke from playoff contention and clinched spots for Bathurst and Charlottetown.

Some other stuff from last night’s game…
  • With a suspension, injuries, and players returned to the MHL, the Sea Dogs were only able to dress five defensemen last night. Things got even worse when David Weckworth did not play in the final two periods due to, presumably, injury. Jason Cameron once again saw some time on defense.
  • Saint John’s defense did, however, get a much needed boost with the return of Olivier LeBlanc. The second-year Dog played in his first game since February 9th and recorded three shots and seven hits.
  • Oliver Cooper opened the game’s scoring with a goal at the 6:00 mark of the first. Cooper now has 28 goals on the season including six in his past six games.
  • Saint John’s offense once again struggled to get things going consistently. They had just 15 shots in the first two periods combined and 23 overall. They also went 0-for-5 on the power play.
  • The Dogs did have some solid pressure applied in the offensive zone in the final minute of the game but were unable to net the equalizer.
  • Sebastien Auger was quite good in this game, making 43 save in the loss. Definitely gave the Dogs a shot at winning and they may have if Saint John’s offense could have gotten going some more.
  • Kyle Farrell’s shorthanded goal at 9:39 of the second proved to be the game-winner. The Dogs have given up nine shorthanded goals this season.
  • The Sea Dogs have now lost five straight.
  • This was the Screaming Eagles’ final home game of the regular season. They finish the year with a 23-11-0-0 record at Centre 200.
  • Cape Breton wore their green Irish themed jerseys last night so the Sea Dogs had to wear their white jerseys. Not sure how many times the Dogs have faced the Eagles while in green but it seems like quite a few times now.
  • The Sea Dogs were without forwards Joey Richard (shoulder), Stephen Anderson (upper body), and Marcus Cuomo (suspension) along with defensemen Michael Abbott (wrist), Jeremy Doucet (upper body), and Jurij Repe (suspension).
  • The Screaming Eagles were also shorthanded and missing some key contributors with Jason Bell (upper body), Clark Bishop (suspended), Justin Hache (upper body) and Cameron Darcy (eye infection) all sitting out. Cape Breton also dressed just five defensemen and started their backup goaltender.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

RECAP: On The Brink. Dogs Lose 2-1.

FINAL: Saint John 1, Cape Breton 2

SYDNEY, NS – It’s all but over for the Saint John Sea Dogs.

With Saint John falling 2-1 in Cape Breton tonight and Shawinigan defeating Sherbrooke, it would take a minor miracle for the Sea Dogs to make the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League’s post-season. It’s still possible, but the Sea Dogs would have to win both of their remaining games – which includes Friday night's tilt against the loaded Halifax Mooseheads in front of a sold-out Metro Centre - and get some favours from other teams in order to make the playoffs.

Saint John sits 17th overall in the league with 43 points, four back of the Cataractes who hold the final playoff spot. If the Dogs were to win Friday’s game in Halifax and Saturday’s game in Charlottetown while Shawinigan lost on both of those days in regulation time, Saint John would win the tiebreaker and make the playoffs. But, with the way the Moose have been playing and the way they beat the Dogs last weekend that seems just a bit unlikely. But, y’know, there is a reason they play the games.

The Sea Dogs dropped their fifth straight game with Wednesday’s loss to the Eagles. It was more of the same struggles for the Dogs – they were shorthanded on the backend, only recorded 15 shots in the first two periods, and went 0-for-5 on the power play.

Oliver Cooper opened the scoring at the 6:00 mark of the first period. The Eagles would tie it up 3:10 of the second thanks to Raphael Corriveau. Kyle Farrell netted the winner while shorthanded at 9:39 of the middle stanza.

It was another busy night for Sebastien Auger who made 44 stops in the loss. Eagles backup Zachary Fortin made 22 saves in the win.

The Sea Dogs website has a full game recap.

NEXT GAME: The Sea Dogs take on the Mooseheads in Halifax on Friday night.

GAMEDAY 66 - at Cape Breton

A preview of tonight’s game between the Saint John Sea Dogs and Cape Breton Screaming Eagles…

When and where: Tonight at 7:00 PM AST, Centre 200

TV/Radio: TELUS Webcast/News 88.9

Records: The Sea Dogs are sixth in the Telus Maritimes Division and 17th overall in the QMJHL with a record of 19-41-2-3 for 43 points. The Screaming Eagles are second in the Telus Maritimes Division and ninth overall with a record of 35-26-1-3 for 74 points.

Last games: The Sea Dogs are coming off a 7-4 loss in Bathurst on Sunday. Saint John had a four-goal first period lead but allowed seven unanswered in the final two periods. The Screaming Eagles are coming off a 5-1 win over the Moncton Wildcats on Sunday. Three different Eagles had a goal and an assist.

2013-14 head-to-head: The Sea Dogs are 3-3-1-1 against the Screaming Eagles this season while Cape Breton is 5-3-0-0 against Saint John.

Last meeting: March 1st at Harbour Station when the Sea Dogs wrecked the Screaming Eagles 9-3. Marcus Cuomo, Noah Zilbert, and Oliver Cooper each had two goals.

Random stat: Two of Saint John’s three wins against the Screaming Eagles this season have come at Centre 200.

Ex-Sea Dogs on the Screaming Eagles: None

SJ notes: The Sea Dogs are two points back of the final playoff spot with three games to play… 2-7-1-0 in their last 10 games and have lost four straight… forward Marcus Cuomo and defenseman Jurij Repe are both suspended for this game… Oliver Cooper has six goals in eight games against the Eagles.

CB notes: The Eagles have clinched a playoff spot but are battling for positioning. They could finish anywhere from 9th to 11th… 8-2-0-0 in their last 10 games and have won two straight… Clark Bishop is suspended for today’s game… Cameron Darcy is ninth in league scoring with 80 points… Julien Pelletier is third in rookie scoring with 47 points… Pelletier is fourth in rookie goal scoring with 23… Jeremy Beaudry is fifth in defensemen scoring with 51 points… Beaudry is second in defensemen goal scoring with 19… Justin Hache is fifth in defensemen assists with 41… the Eagles have the third best power play in the league with a rating of 24.8%... the Eagles will be wearing their green Irish jerseys.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Tuesday Night Stuff

Stephen MacAulay finished in a tie for first in Atlantic University Sport playoff scoring.

MacAulay finished the AUS post-season with five goals and six assists for 11 points in 11 games, tying him for the point lead with Moncton’s Alex Emond and Acadia’s Liam Heelis.

In his first AUS campaign, the former Sea Dogs forward helped the Saint Mary’s Huskies reach the AUS Final where they lost 3-1 in the best-of-five series to the favoured Acadia Axemen. The Axemen will now represent the AUS at CIS Nationals in Saskatoon.

Also of note, Moncton’s Pierre Durepos, also in his first AUS season, finished second in defensemen playoff scoring with three goals and three assists in six games.

Some other news and notes on this Tuesday night:
  • Because it just wouldn’t be a regular season without the Sea Dogs seeing the Screaming Eagles’ Irish jerseys, the Eagles will be wearing the green sweaters in tomorrow’s game when they host Saint John at 7pm.
  • Both Jurij Repe and Marcus Cuomo are suspended for tomorrow’s game due to “aggressor” game misconducts in Sunday’s game at Bathurst. The team was also fined $500 for each infraction. The loss of Repe is a big one with the Dogs already thin on the blue line due to injuries.
  • Charlottetown picked up a big point in an overtime loss to the Halifax Mooseheads tonight. They now sit 15th with 48 points. Bathurst sits 14th with 48 points as well. The two meet on Friday night at Eastlink Centre.
  • Tomorrow night: a huge game between the Cataractes and Phoenix in Sherbrooke. Shawinigan has won all three previous meetings this season. If the Phoenix lose they are eliminated from post-season contention.

Monday, March 10, 2014

More On Jack Eichel

This Jack Eichel stuff isn’t going away anytime soon. So let’s keep things going.

Here’s Sea Dogs general manager Darrell Young talking to Mooseheads broadcaster John Moore before Saturday’s game at Harbour Station.

If you have a Telus Webcast subscription, Young talked to Moore on News 95.7 during the first intermission of Saturday’s game. Interview starts at the 58:50 mark.

Wildcats With The Rivalry Cup

Here are the Moncton Wildcats - winners of the 2013-14 edition of the Brunswick News Rivalry Cup. It's the second straight year that the Wildcats have won the trophy and fourth overall. Saint John won it in 2011 and 2012.

No word yet on how big the parade will be but it will likely be as long as their Memorial Cup Championship parade. Yup, we went there.

News & Notes From Sunday's Game

The Saint John Sea Dogs are running out of time in the QMJHL’s playoff race.

Following yesterday’s loss to Bathurst, Saint John is two points back of the Shawinigan Cataractes for the league’s final playoff spot with just three games left to play. To make things even more challenging, Shawinigan plays the league’s worst team – the Sherbrooke Phoenix - on Wednesday night.

Bathurst’s win yesterday basically got them a playoff spot and Charlottetown will very likely join them. That leaves one spot remaining for the Cataractes and Sea Dogs to fight over during the final week of the regular season.

Some other stuff from yesterday’s game…

  • Saint John stunned the Bathurst crowd by scoring four goals in the first 12 minutes of the game. Oliver Cooper got the scoring started just 46 seconds in. Cooper scored again at 5:14 on a power play, Matthew Highmore connected at 10:22, and then Samuel Dove-McFalls scored a weird one at 11:59.
  • Despite having a 4-0 lead, the Sea Dogs were outshot in the first 10-8 by the Titan due to a few power plays.
  • Olivier Cooper finishes the season with seven goals in nine games against the Titan. Matthew Highmore had eight assists in the season series.
  • It took all season, but 20-year old Lukas Walter finally recorded his first QMJHL point – an assist – on Dove-McFalls’ goal.
  • Bathurst’s epic comeback started at 4:29 of the second with a Nicholas Blanchard goal. That kicked off a stretch of three straight Titan goals in just over a minute. They tied it up with a power play goal at 16:59 and then took the lead 17:47.
  • Yahoo’s Neate Sager on the comeback: “There's almost no explanation for what the Titan, who have scored a QMJHL-low 140 goals, did on Sunday. They even scored three goals in 62 seconds at one stretch.”
  • This was one of those rare games where all four goalies see action. Bathurst’s Jacob Brennan was pulled after allowing three goals six shots in the first. Just like last Sunday’s game in Bathurst, Antoine Landry got the start in goal for Saint John. Landry didn't do as well as he did a week ago and was pulled after allowing five goals on 26 shots in the first 40 minutes.
  • With David Weckworth sitting out with an upper body injury, the team had to call up David Mosher from the MHL’s Truro Bearcats. Mosher played in five games with the Sea Dogs in 2012-13 but had not played with the team this season. He had one shot and one hit in the game.
  • With Weckworth out, the Sea Dogs’ defense was inexperienced to say the least. Jurij Repe was the most experienced player on the backend and he got thrown out for being an “aggressor” in a first period fight.
  • This was Bathurst’s final home game of the regular season. They finish the year with a respectable 14-16-2-2 record at the KC Irving Regional Centre.
  • Saint John’s power play was ineffective once again when they needed a goal the most. They finished the game 1-for-5 on the man advantage. Bathurst, who had the league’s worst PP entering action yesterday, went 3-for-7.
  • The Sea Dogs were excellent on faceoffs, winning 48 of 66. Matthew Highmore won 17 of 20 and Nicolas Hebert 13 of 15.
  • Former Sea Dog Scott Oke had two goals and a Titan high nine shots.
  • The Sea Dogs were without forwards Joey Richard (shoulder), Stephen Anderson (upper body), and Kelly Bent (upper body) along with defensemen Michael Abbott (wrist), Jeremy Doucet (upper body), Olivier LeBlanc (upper body), and David Weckworth (upper body).

Sunday, March 9, 2014

RECAP: The Great Collapse. Dogs Lose 7-4.

FINAL: Saint John 4, Bathurst 7
BATHURST – The Acadie-Bathurst Titan scored seven unanswered goals en route to a 7-4 comeback win over the Saint John Sea Dogs on Sunday afternoon at the KC Irving Regional Centre.

The Sea Dogs scored four goals in the first 12 minutes of the game but could not contain the league’s worst offensive team in the final two periods. Bathurst scored five times in the second period and added two more in the third for the win.

Saint John certainly didn’t have a team loaded with defensive experience and depth for this game. Rookie Antoine Landry got the start in net and veteran David Weckworth was out hurt along with Olivier LeBlanc and Jeremy Doucet. Jurij Repe was thrown out of the game in the first, leaving Saint John’s backend loaded with rookies and inexperience.

The loss basically ends any hopes of the Sea Dogs moving up in the Telus Maritimes Division standings. They still have a shot at making the playoffs as they are two points back of the Shawinigan Cataractes with three games to play. The two teams that miss the playoffs have a shot at the first overall pick in the QMJHL Entry Draft and that, obviously, wouldn’t be a bad thing.

Scott Oke and Guillaume Brisebois each had two goals in this game while singles came from Alexandros Soumakis, Alexandre Gosselin, and Nicholas Blanchard. Jacob Brennan allowed three goals on six shots before getting yanked. Miguel Sullivan made 28 saves in relief and also picked up an assist.

Saint John had a pair of goals from Olivier Cooper and singles from Matthew Highmore and Samuel Dove-McFalls. Antoine Landry allowed five goals on 26 shots and was replaced by Sebastien Auger to start the third. Auger made five saves in relief.

GAMEDAY 65 - at Bathurst

A preview of today’s game between the Saint John Sea Dogs and Acadie-Bathurst Titan…

When and where: Today at 3:00 PM AST, KC Irving Regional Centre

TV/Radio: TELUS Webcast/News 88.9

Records: The Sea Dogs are sixth in the Telus Maritimes Division and 17th overall in the QMJHL with a 19-40-2-3 record for 43 points. The Titan are fifth in the Telus Maritimes Division and 15th overall with a 20-39-4-2 record for 46 points.

Last games: The Sea Dogs are coming off a 4-0 loss to the Halifax Mooseheads last night at Harbour Station. The Dogs only recorded 12 shots in the shutout loss. The Titan are coming off a 5-2 loss to the Moncton Wildcats at home on Friday night. The Wildcats went 3-for-4 on the power play.

2013-14 head-to-head: The Sea Dogs are 5-3-0-0 against the Titan this season while Bathurst is 3-4-0-1 against Saint John.

Last meeting: These two met last Sunday at the KC Irving Regional Centre with the Titan defeating the Sea Dogs 3-1. Antoine Landry allowed three goals on 30 shots in the loss.

Random stat: Bathurst's 133 goals scored this season is the fewest in the league.

Ex-Sea Dogs on the Titan: Scott Oke

SJ notes: Two points back of the final playoff spot… 2-7-1-0 in their last 10 games and have lost three straight… Saint John plays their final four games of the season on the road… this is Saint John’s final regular season game in the province… Matthew Highmore has six assists against the Titan this season… Jurij Repe has penalty minutes in five straight games.

BAT notes: 3-7-0-0 in their last 10 games and have lost two straight… 13 of their 20 wins have come at home…    Jacob Brennan is third in saves… 12-26-2-1 against the Maritimes Division… their 11.9% power play rating is the worst in the league… averaging 2.02 goals per game, the lowest in the league.

News & Notes From Saturday's Game

The Halifax Mooster Club made the trip to Harbour Station yesterday. Their bus broke down about a half hour outside the city but they were able to make it on time. Good stuff.

Some other stuff from last night’s game…

  • With Saint John losing and Shawinigan losing in a shootout, the Cataractes are now two points up on the Sea Dogs for the final playoff spot. The Dogs have four games remaining while the Cats have three.
  • The team’s trio of overage players – Lukas Walter, David Weckworth, and Jason Cameron – were honoured before the game. A video tribute of pictures was played. The three were also named the game’s three stars.
  • Halifax dominated at times in the first period, outshooting Saint John 8-0 in the first half of the frame and 13-4 overall. Saint John didn’t get their first shot until there was 9:17 left. Sebastien Auger and the Dogs were able to keep it scoreless though, which was good.
  • Despite getting plenty of power play time in the second, Saint John just couldn’t get anything going offensively and that really cost them the game. They were outshot 15-4 by the Moose in the second.
  • Saint John’s offense couldn’t get much of anything going this entire game. They had just four shots in each period for a game total of 12. Only four of those 12 shots were considered dangerous. The Dogs went 0-for-8 on the power play.
  • The 12 shots ties Saint John with Bathurst (January 29th) for the fewest shots in one game this season.
  • This wraps up the home portion of Saint John’s regular season schedule. They finish the year with a 10-21-1-2 record at Harbour Station and were outscored 119-86.
  • 5,824 were at the game for Fan Appreciation Day. It was the largest crowd of the season at Harbour Station.
  • Defenseman Shane MacDonald made his QMJHL debut in this game, replacing Sheehan Kirkwood who was reassigned back to the MHL’s Valley Wildcats. MacDonald, wearing No. 2, had one hit and a fight against Samuel Leblanc in the second period.
  • Philippe Gadoury was unreal in this game. He had two goals but could have easily had a few more.
  • Nikolaj Ehlers’ goal scoring streak ended at eight games. But with an assist, he did extend his point streak to 10 games.
  • Jonathan Drouin did not play for the Mooseheads. He was reportedly sick.
  • The Moose are getting hot at the right time. They have won 10 straight games and are four points back of first-place Baie-Comeau with three to play. Halifax hosts Saint John next Friday.
  • The Sea Dogs were without forwards Joey Richard (shoulder), Stephen Anderson (upper body), and Marcus Cuomo (healthy) along with defensemen Michael Abbott (wrist), Olivier LeBlanc (upper body), and Jeremy Doucet (upper body).

Hoffman Scores First NHL Goal

It took some time, but former Sea Dogs forward Mike Hoffman finally scored his first National Hockey League goal on Saturday.

Hoffman’s goal came at 9:36 of the second period on a power play in the Ottawa Senators’ 5-3 victory over the Winnipeg Jets. Video of the goal can be found here since the clip refuses to embed on this blog.

The goal came just 38 seconds after Hoffman recorded his first NHL point – a great assist on a Kyle Turris goal.

Hoffman finished the game with two points, three shots, and two hits in 14:48 of ice time. This was his eighth game with the Sens this season.

The Kitchener native played in one NHL game in 2011-12 and three last season but had never recorded a point.

RECAP: Shutdown. Dogs Lose 4-0.

FINAL: Halifax 4, Saint John 0
SAINT JOHN – 12 shots.

The Saint John Sea Dogs could only get 12 shots - four in each period - on Zach Fucale in a 4-0 loss to the Halifax Mooseheads on Saturday night at Harbour Station. Of those 12 shots, just four were considered dangerous by the league.

It wasn’t like the Dogs weren’t given chances. They had eight power plays in the game but didn’t do much on any of them. It was certainly a frustrating night for Saint John’s offense.

Of course, some credit has to be given to the Mooseheads who won their 10th straight game with this victory. Philippe Gadoury was unreal and recorded two goals. Connor Moynihan and Darcy Ashley added singles while Fucale made 12 saves for the shutout win.

The loss obviously didn’t help Saint John’s playoff chances. With Shawinigan losing in a shootout, the Dogs are now two points back of the final playoff spot with a game in-hand. Tomorrow’s game in Bathurst is huge.

Saturday, March 8, 2014

GAMEDAY 64 - vs Mooseheads

A preview of tonight’s game between the Halifax Mooseheads and Saint John Sea Dogs…

When and where: Tonight at 7:00 PM AST, Harbour Station

TV/Radio: TELUS Webcast/News 88.9

Records: The Mooseheads are first in the Telus Maritimes Division and second overall in the QMJHL with a 43-18-0-3 record for 89 points. The Sea Dogs are sixth in the Telus Maritimes Division and 17th overall with a 19-39-2-3 record for 43 points.

Last games: The Mooseheads are coming off a 7-4 win over the Charlottetown Islanders on Thursday night. Andrew Ryan and Darcy Ashley each had two goals. The Sea Dogs are coming off a 5-4 loss to the Moncton Wildcats on Wednesday night. Matthew Highmore had two goals in that game.

2013-14 head-to-head: The Sea Dogs are 1-5-0-0 against the Mooseheads this season while Halifax is 5-1-0-0 against Saint John.

Last meeting: January 21st at Harbour Station where the Mooseheads defeated the Sea Dogs 5-2. Nikolaj Ehlers and Brent Andrews each had a goal and an assist.

Random stat: Nikolaj Ehlers has been ridiculous of late. He has an eight-game goal scoring streak going and has recorded 17 goals during that span – including three hat tricks.

Ex-Sea Dogs on the Mooseheads: None

HFX notes: The Mooseheads have already won the division. They are five points back of Baie-Comeau with a game in-hand for first overall in the league… winners of nine straight games… Nikolaj Ehlers is fourth in the league in scoring with 97 points… Jonathan Drouin is fifth in league scoring with 96 points… Ehlers is fourth in goals with 47… Zach Fucale’s GAA of 2.30 is the best in the league… Ehlers leads all rookies in points, goals, and assists… MacKenzie Weegar is fourth in defensemen scoring with 53 points… lead the league in shorthanded goals with 23… averaging 4.18 goals per game, the second most in the league… Andrew Ryan and Drouin have assists in five straight games… Drouin has points in 10 straight games… the Halifax Mooster Club is also bringing a bus load of fans to the game.

SJ notes: This is Saint John’s final home game of the regular season… 2-7-1-0 in their last 10 games… one-point back of Shawinigan for the league’s final playoff spot with one game in-hand… Sebastien Auger still leads the league in saves and save percentage (.917)… Nathan Noel is 12th in rookie scoring with 37 points… averaging 37.13 shots against per game, the most in the league… Lukas Walter’s suspension is over.

Promotion: Today is Fan Appreciation Day at Harbour Station. $10,000 in prizes will be given away. It’s also the final home game of the regular season for the team’s trio of 20-year olds.

Bobble-Fist Night In Cincinnati

It’s David MacDonald Bobble-FIST night in Cincinnati.

Join us on Saturday, March 8 for the first-ever Cyclones Bobble-FIST Night featuring Cyclones captain David MacDonald! 
The first 2,500 fans through the gates will receive the keepsake courtesy of U.C. Health and Novacare!  Different than a traditional bobblehead, the David MacDonald Bobble-FIST will feature two bobbling fists instead of a bobbling head.

MacDonald is a former Sea Dogs captain, playing 60 games with Saint John in 2006-07 where he recorded nine goals and 22 assists. The defenseman also spent time with the PEI Rocket and Moncton Wildcats during his junior career.

After playing in the AUS for five years, McDonald has spent parts of the past three seasons with the East Coast Hockey League’s Cyclones. This year he has two goals and nine assists in 52 games.

Charles-Olivier Roussel played with the Cyclones last season. Steven Anthony, whose NHL rights were traded to the Florida Panthers this week, is currently on the team’s roster.

Friday, March 7, 2014

#EichelWatch Begins Again

It's Darrell Young’s first week as Sea Dogs general manager and he has already been thrown into the spotlight.

It was only a matter of time before the Jack-Eichel-to-the-CHL-rumours got started – and they got started in a big way today. TSN’s Bob McKenzie tweeted this afternoon that there is speculation that Eichel wants to play in the OHL and take on Connor McDavid. But that would be difficult with the Sea Dogs currently owning his CHL rights.

Saint John would have to place Eichel on waivers and then have every QMJHL team pass on him in order to go to the OHL. Crazier things have happened in the CHL, but Young assured fans that the Sea Dogs will not be letting Eichel, who could challenge for the first overall selection in the 2015 NHL Draft, simply slip away.

"There is no way we're ever going to let him go to the Ontario Hockey League and I don't see any way he could get waived through our league," Young told College Hockey News. That article has plenty of interesting tidbits. Young hopes to meet with the Eichel family next week.

These rumours aren't going away any time soon - and they probably won't stop until after the World Juniors.

Some thoughts on this situation:
  • If Eichel is in the CHL next year, there is just no way the Sea Dogs are not getting something. If he is with Saint John, that’s great. If he only wants to play for the Remparts, then they can send some quality draft picks Saint John’s way as payment for his rights.
  • Wherever Eichel plays next season, it is probably for just one season. He’s real good. And, if the Remparts get the 2015 Memorial Cup, you’d have to think they’d want him even more. It’d be great having him play for the Dogs, but trading him might be best for the 2017 run.
  • I’m surprised situations like this don’t happen more, and it’s one of the flaws with the CHL and their draft system. I don’t even know if there is a perfect fix to this.
  • Boston University fans must just hate Saint John by now.
  • Eichel was also pick in the 2013 KHL Draft! Let's not forget about that now!
  • Some article links: College Hockey News, SB Nation, Buzzing The Net, and CJ’s video is up top
  • Plenty of Sea Dogs fans have expressed their frustration with the team’s inability to get American players to report – and rightfully so. Other than Charlie Coyle, the team has had very little luck. Hopefully Young can change that.
  • Young mentioned getting “a few good European players” again in the College Hockey News article. The Import Draft is going to be exciting.

Jack Eichel To OHL? [Update]

TSN’s Bob McKenzie went on Twitter this afternoon and dropped some bombs.
As McKenzie also noted, the only way Eichel could move to the OHL is if Saint John placed him on waivers and every other QMJHL team passed on him. That would seem unlikely, especially with the Quebec Remparts being the Quebec Remparts. But, as McKenzie also notes, far stranger things have happened in the CHL.

Eichel, who was a 10th-round pick of the Sea Dogs in last year’s QMJHL Entry Draft, is expected to play at Boston University next season. There has been talk of him challenging Connor McDavid for the first overall pick in the 2015 NHL Draft.

It’ll be interesting to see what happens here, especially with Darrell Young now running the show in Saint John. With the exception of Charlie Coyle, the Sea Dogs have had little luck attracting American players despite the city being predominantly English speaking and an hour from the border.

SB Nation’s college hockey blog has a great rundown of everything.

On a side note, how great is Bob McKenzie? The guy knows how to spell Saint John correctly.

UPDATE: Darrell Young laughs at these rumours.