Saturday, April 30, 2016

That Was Fun

Frustratingly pleasant – that’s how I would describe the Saint John Sea Dogs’ 2016 playoff run.

This year’s post-season was frustrating because it left us with a lot of what ifs. What if Adam Marsh was healthy? What if Mathieu Joseph didn’t get hurt? What if Bokondji Imama didn’t get suspended? What if everyone on the Sea Dogs’ roster was present and healthy? It’s not out of the question to say the Sea Dogs may still be playing right now if some things had gone their way. But it is what it is. And that’s no doubt a bit frustrating.

But at the same time – and for the same reasons – this playoff run proved to be surprising and pleasant. This team found ways to score goals without two of their top goal scorers. Other players stepped up into bigger roles. This team pleasantly surprised on a number of nights – and gave plenty of reasons to be excited about next season and beyond.

This year’s post-season was certainly entertaining. The first round wasn’t an awful lopsided series, which was nice. The second round against Cape Breton was one of the best in Sea Dogs history – and finally featured a game seven. And the third round had the Shawinigan-Saint John matchup we’ve been waiting years for. You’ve got to be pretty happy with all that.

Some other takes from the playoffs…
  • Sam Povorozniouk finishes with 14 goals and 11 assists in 17 playoff games. He finished his one-year QMJHL career with 53 goals in 85 games. He will be missed.
  • Thomas Chabot finished the playoffs with an incredible three goals and 18 assists, which places him sixth in overall scoring. The Sea Dogs might be missing him next year as well, but that's up to the Ottawa Senators.
  • Obviously, the third round could have been a whole lot different if the Sea Dogs had pulled off wins in games three and four at home. Oh well.
  • Saint John finished the post-season with an average of 4,321 fans per game, which is the highest amount of any remaining team.
  • I don’t care what you think of Shawinigan and their fans, it would be something to have that kind of atmosphere inside Harbour Station.
  • Joe Veleno was quiet at times this post-season and then looked like an exceptional player at other times. He was unreal in game four and finished the playoffs with six goals and an assist. It’ll be fun to watch him moving forward.
  • The Sea Dogs ended the playoffs with a four-game losing streak.
  • In four of the five games against Shawinigan, Saint John gave up five or more goals. Anthony Beauvillier led the way with six goals and six assists.
  • Saint John managed to score three or more goals on Philippe Cadorette in four of the five games, so that’s something.
  • Marc-Antoine Turcotte posted a 6.00 GAA and .810 SV% in the semifinals. The Sea Dogs simply could not contain the Cataractes’ big guns.
  • Will the Sea Dogs ever win an elimination game in Shawinigan? That’s a building that has not been kind to Saint John.
  • It was nice to see Matthew Highmore have a strong post-season – and regular season as well – after the season he had last year.
  • If you didn’t catch the 96.1 NewSong FM post-game show on Friday, it was revealed that Matt Murphy did indeed suffer a separated shoulder in game two.
  • Murphy played in his 76th and final career QMJHL playoff game on Friday. That’s a lot.
  • The Sea Dogs played 17 playoff games this year. They played 17 en route to a QMJHL title in 2012. Makes ya think.

Photo: Marc Henwood/Station Nation

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