Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Sea Dogs to face Foreurs in next round

The Saint John Sea Dogs will face the Val-d'Or Foreurs in the second round of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League playoffs.

This will be the first ever playoff meeting between the two.

The Foreurs surprisingly advanced to the second round by upsetting the third-seeded Shawinigan Cataractes in six games. The 14th-seeded Foreurs got excellent goaltending from Etienne Montpetit (2.35 GAA and .937 SV%) and he'll need to be great again if they hope to pull off another upset.

Saint John swept the Rimouski Oceanic in the opening round, having little trouble other than a hard fought Game 4.

On paper, this should be an easy series win for Saint John. The Sea Dogs are the No. 1 seed, finishing with 102 points. The Foreurs finished with 61 points and didn't secure their playoff spot until the final week of the regular season. But, Val-d'Or upsetting Shawinigan is big, and, as we've seen in the past, teams like the Foreurs can often give teams like Saint John a good challenge in the second round (remember Victoriaville in 2011). It could end up being another easy series for the Dogs - but it could also be quite a challenge.

The Sea Dogs won both regular season meetings against the Foreurs, recording a 4-2 road win on Oct. 15 and a 4-1 home win on Oct. 21.

Val-d'Or features former Sea Dogs defenceman Jason Bell and goaltender Alex Bishop. Saint John features former Foreurs star forward Julien Gauthier.

Game 1 of the best-of-seven series is Friday night at Harbour Station.

The Foreurs-Sea Dogs series was confirmed on Monday night with the Rouyn-Noranda Huskies eliminating the Halifax Mooseheads. Another second round series has also been confirmed: the Acadie-Bathurst Titan will face the Blainville-Boisberiand Armada.

The Huskies, Charlottetown Islanders and Chicoutimi Sagueneens have also already advanced to the second round.

There is still one first round series that has yet to end. The Gatineau Olympiques, who were once down 3-0 in the series, have forced a Game 7 on Tuesday against the Cape Breton Screaming Eagles.

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