Sunday, December 11, 2016

RECAP: Sea Dogs win 4-1

FINAL: Blainville-Boisbriand 1, Saint John 4

Lorne Webster | SN Staff

SAINT JOHN – The Saint John Sea Dogs defeated the Blainville-Boisbriand Armada 4-1 Sunday afternoon on the annual Teddy Bear Toss Day at Harbour Station. 

The win allowed Saint John to move two points clear of the Armada for first place overall in the QMJHL. Both teams had entered the day with identical 20-7-3-1 records - and both were coming off overtime losses in their last games.

Bokondji Imama had his second hat trick in the past month to lead the Sea Dogs. Matthew Highmore added a shorthanded goal and rookie Alex D'Orio stopped 12 shots to help lead the Sea Dogs to the win.    

Remi Anglehart replied for Blainville-Boisbriand, while the Armada's star goalkeeper Samuel Montembeault was forced to make 36 saves in defeat. 

  • Imama fired a laser beam past Montembeault on a power play at 9:58 of the first period to set off a flurry of flying teddy bears and other assorted stuffed animals at Harbour Station. The puck went in and then out so fast that the goal had to be reviewed - while the Saint John Police and other volunteers cleared the ice surface - to confirm that is was good.   
  • The Armada failed to register a shot on goal in the first period, while the Sea Dogs had 13.
  • Imama scored his second power play goal of the game at 1:26 of the second, when he redirected a slap pass from Highmore over Montembeault's shoulder to put the hosts up 2-0.
  • Armada rookie Anglehart scored his first goal of the season, when he converted a back door feed at 8:41 of the second to make it 2-1.
  • Imama completed his hat trick - while skating four-on-four - at 12:17 of the second after batting the rebound of a Samuel Dove-McFalls shot into the net.
  • Tempers flared after Imama made it 3-1 with a couple of scrums and fisticuffs between Bailey Webster and Daven Castonguay (late in the second) and then Cole Reginato and Michael Kemp (early in the third period).
  • Highmore capped the scoring with a shorthanded goal, at 6:19 of the third, with a rocket past a defender and over Montembeault's glove.
  • Jakub Zboril leaves Monday for the Team Czech Republic training camp and will be missed during the Sea Dogs last two games before the Christmas break.
  • Affiliates Ben Reid (St. Stephen - MHL) and Alex Lafreniere (Woodstock - MHL) were called upon to help fill the void at forward in the Sea Dogs line-up. Reid and Lafreniere were teammates last season on the Saint John Vito's team that won silver at the Canadian midget 'AAA' championships.
  • The Armada entered play on Sunday with the least goals allowed in the QMJHL. It was 72 goals but they now have only given up 76.
  • Various reports - including Cape Breton's own Patrick McNeil - indicated that the Screaming Eagles will send Pierre-Luc Dubois to the Armada during the upcoming QMJHL trade period. The rumours suggested that Joel Teasdale (BBA's 2015 12th overall selection) and two future first round draft choices will be sent from Blainville-Boisbriand to Cape Breton. At the same time, other reports out of Quebec indicate that the Sea Dogs may acquire power forward Julien Gauthier and goaltender Etienne Montpetit from Val-d'Or. And the QMJHL rumour mill also has Chicoutimi adding import German Rubtsov (Russia), overage forward Joey Ratelle (Drummondville) and the Klima twins (Kevin &Kelly - Moncton).  If these rumours prove to be true, the battle for the President's Cup will be extremely interesting.  
  • Sea Dogs prospect Nathan Cyr-Trottier and the team from Trois-Rivieres won the CCM Midget AAA Challenge on Sunday.
  • Per Eastlink announcer Kris Abbott, officials Jean-Philippe Sylvain and Luc Voyer worked their third straight game of Blainville-Boisbriand's road trip through the Maritimes. With several "no calls" in favour of the Armada, many were wondering if the referee and linesman were actually travelling on the Armada's team bus. #BringYourOwnRef

Dove-McFalls - Highmore - Smallman
Imama - Pare - Reginato
LeBlanc - Quinney - Ward
Reid - Lafreniere

Zboril - Stewart
Felixson - Webster
Luke Green - Bernier


The hard fought win on Sunday was very impressive, especially since stars Mathieu Joseph and Thomas Chabot were away at the Team Canada selection camp. The Sea Dogs were also missing Joe Veleno (lower body), Nathan Noel (upper body), Matt Green (upper body), John Warren (upper body) and Bryson Michel (upper body).  

A virtually perfect defensive effort in the first period to hold Blainville-Boisbriand without a single shot on goal - paired with Imama's two power play goals - set the Sea Dogs on a clear path to victory. 

1. Bokondji Imama
2. Matthew Highmore
3. Jakub Zboril

The Sea Dogs host the high-flying Halifax Mooseheads on Friday at 7 p.m.

Photo: Marc Henwood/Station Nation

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