The Sea Dogs clinched the QMJHL's regular season title for the fourth time in franchise history on Wednesday night in Moncton, defeating the Wildcats 5-0.
Not only does the victory give the Sea Dogs home ice advantage throughout the playoffs, it also gives the team 100 points for the fourth time and the Maritimes Division title for a second consecutive season.
Spencer Smallman scored twice in Saint John's eighth straight victory while Mathieu Joseph, Chase Stewart and Matthew Highmore added singles. Callum Booth made 17 saves to earn the shutout.
Matthew Waite had a solid performance in the Wildcats' net, keeping Moncton in it for much of the game. He made 42 stops in the loss.
To the notes...
- Saint John opened the scoring just 45 seconds in when Joseph deflected a shot past Waite, making it 1-0.
- Despite scoring just once, the Sea Dogs were dominant in the opening frame, outshooting the Wildcats 17-4.
- The Sea Dogs continued to pour the pressure on in the second period but had a difficult time beating Waite.
- Finally, at 13:16, Stewart fired a shot from the blue line that beat an out-of-position and/or distracted Waite, giving Saint John a 2-0 advantage.
- Smallman made it 3-0 Saint John at 17:41, finishing off a shorthanded two-on-one with Jakub Zboril.
- Saint John scored again midway through the third, on a goal from Cole Reginato, but the goal was called off due to the play being offside.
- The Sea Dogs officially made it 4-0 at 13:57 of the third on a five-on-three advantage. Joseph showed great patience in front, forcing Waite to go down before sending the puck over to Highmore for an open net goal.
- Kyle Ward was given a five-minute major and game misconduct for charging at 17:24. On the ensuing penalty kill, Smallman scored his second shorthanded goal of the game at 18:11, making it a 5-0 final.
- With an assist on Saint John's first goal, Thomas Chabot became the Sea Dogs' franchise leader in defencemen scoring.
- Stewart's goal was his third of the season.
- Smallman extended his point streak to eight games. He now has 30 goals on the season.
- Saint John scored their league leading 19th and 20th shorthanded goals of the season.
- Julien Gauthier returned to the Saint John lineup after missing Saturday's game with an injury.
SCRATCHESHere's a look at tonight's #SJSeaDogs lineup, brought to you by @CantrburyDental. #AlwaysWearYourMouthguard pic.twitter.com/YTneUZc2GP— Saint John Sea Dogs (@SJSeaDogs) March 15, 2017
The Sea Dogs were without Samuel Leblanc, Oliver Felixson, Landon Quinney, David Comeau and Ian Smallwood.
The Sea Dogs announced early Wednesday that they had recalled Smallwood from the Woodstock Slammers. The Slammers' season came to an end last weekend.
Chase Stewart's weird goal in the second period started to get floodgates opening and ensured Matthew Waite would not steal the show.
SN THREE STARS
1. Spencer Smallman
2. Jakub Zboril
3. Mathieu Joseph
TWEET OF THE GAME
NEXT GAMELes @SJSeaDogs sont les champions de la saison régulière de la #LHJMQ grâce à une victoire de 5-0 contre @monctonwildcats #Icinb pic.twitter.com/8NLFVG4CJq— Stéphan Bénard (@Benard_RC) March 16, 2017
The Sea Dogs visit Charlottetown to face the Islanders at 7 p.m.