Sunday, November 13, 2016

Sea Dogs have been good defensively

A lot can be said about the Saint John Sea Dogs' offence of late, but the team has also been getting it done on the backend.

Here are a few things to consider:
  • The Sea Dogs have allowed 61 goals in 21 games this season, which is good for the fifth fewest in the league. Blainville-Boisbriand (46), Rouyn-Noranda (48), Shawinigan (51) and Chicoutimi (53) sit ahead of Saint John.
  • Saint John is averaging 2.88 goals against per game, also fifth best. Moncton has the worst average at 4.73.
  • Shot differential has really stood out in a number of games this season. Saint John is averaging a league high 36.72 shots per game while allowing a league low 22.97 shots against. The next closest team to the Sea Dogs in shots against per game, the Armada, are averaging nearly three shots more against.
  • Saint John has only been outshot once all season - a 3-2 overtime loss in Blainville-Boisbriand on Oct. 12.
  • Saint John has historically been a good penalty killing team, and they have been solid so far this year. Their penalty kill rating of 82.1% is fourth best in the league while their home penalty kill rating (85.7%) is third best.
  • No doubt one of the reasons for Saint John's penalty killing success has been the team's offence. The Dogs lead the league in shorthanded goals with eight. Mathieu Joseph is tied for the league lead in shorthanded goals with four while Samuel Dove-McFalls and Matthew Highmore are both tied for the lead in shorthanded assists with two each.
  • While I am not a fan of the +/- statistic, Bailey Webster is a +16 this year, good for second best in the league.
  • Saint John's goaltending tandem of Alex Bishop and Alex D'Orio hasn't been spectatcular, but it's been respectable. Of note, Bishop has the sixth best goals against average in the QMJHL with a rating of 2.79.
Something that has also given Saint John a boost this season is that the defence has been dialed in when it needs to be.
Charlottetown leads the QMJHL in goals with 98 (Saint John is second with 87). Of note, the Islanders had 16 shots in the first period alone on Saturday night in Halifax.

It's no surprise that the defence has been strong this season. They team has a fairly veteran core - Thomas Chabot, Jakub Zboril, Luke Green, Bailey Webster, etc. - along with a couple promising youngsters - Vincent Martineau and Bryson Michel.

So here's to Paul Boutilier and the Saint John defence core that's been getting it done. We'll see if this trend continues on Friday in Bathurst - a team the Sea Dogs have struggled against this year.

Photo: Marc Henwood/Station Nation

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