Monday, March 10, 2014

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).

NOTES: Nathan Noel took two minor penalties in the first period and another late in the second… Jason Cameron saw some time on defense in the second… the wave made its way around the KC Irving Regional Centre in the second… Mackenzie Brown did not return after a second period fight… Saint John managed to outshoot Bathurst 35-33 thanks to 18 third period shots… Matthew Highmore and Jason Cameron each had seven shots… the Mill Rats got eliminated from the playoffs on Sunday.
SN Three Stars
3. Bathurst’s attendance improvement
2. Matthew Highmore
1. Guillaume Brisebois

NEXT GAME: The Sea Dogs are in Sydney to take on the Screaming Eagles on Wednesday night.

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