Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Sea Dogs to play Sagueneens in semis

The Saint John Sea Dogs and Chicoutimi Sagueneens are set for another third round battle in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League playoffs.

The Sagueneens confirmed their spot in the league's final four with a 4-3 overtime Game 7 victory in Rouyn-Noranda on Tuesday. The Sags' Olivier Galipeau tied the game while shorthanded and with their goaltender pulled with 1:11 remaining in regulation time. Galipeau then scored at 4:22 of overtime to eliminate the QMJHL's No. 2 seed and defending champions.

Chicoutimi, seeded eighth, will now face the top seeded Sea Dogs in round three. They won't have much time to rest with Game 1 set for this Friday at Harbour Station.
The Sags and Sea Dogs met in the 2012 semifinals as well, where Saint John won a memorable series in five games. The Sea Dogs lost Game 3 of that 2012 series, which ended up being their only loss en route to the President Cup. Games 3, 4 and 5 all went to overtime.

The two teams meet under similar circumstances this year. Saint John is the top seed, the favourite and have cruised through the playoffs so far. Chicoutimi is the underdog, perhaps better than their record shows and are coming off a second-round upset that went the distance.

Saint John won both regular season meetings against Chicoutimi this year, defeating the Sags 1-0 on Jan. 20 at Harbour Station and 4-2 on Feb. 18 at the Georges-Vezina Centre.

The other semifinal will feature the fourth-seeded Charlottetown Islanders and the fifth-seeded Blainville-Boisbriand Armada. The Armada hammered the Acadie-Bathurst Titan 7-1 in Game 7 on Tuesday, completing the comeback after being down 3-1 in the series.

The winners of the two semifinals will meet in the President Cup final, something the Islanders and Armada franchises have never done. The Sea Dogs haven't been to the final since 2012 while the Sags' last trip there was in 1997.

In the OHL, the Erie Otters defeated the reigning Memorial Cup champions 5-4 in overtime to advance. The Otters will play the Owen Sound Attack in the Western Conference final while the Mississauga Steelheads will play the Peterborough Petes in the East.
In the WHL, the Lethbridge Hurricanes defeated the Medicine Hat Tigers - who had 51 wins this season - 5-4 in Game 7 overtime to advance. The Hurricanes will now play the top seeded Regina Pats while the other conference final will feature the Seattle Thunderbirds and Kelowna Rockets.

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