Tuesday, May 23, 2017

NOTEBOOK: Sea Dogs look for big rebound in do or die game tonight

WINDSOR, Ont. - Saint John Sea Dogs head coach Danny Flynn tried to explain his team's 12-5 loss to the Erie Otters following the game last night.

"We knew how tough it would be," said Flynn. "Our passing and our decisions with the puck have been well below average. In a tournament like this you've got to make good reads and you've got to move the puck. We've turned pucks over we've mishandled pucks. They must have stolen 30 pucks from us tonight.

"It was a strange game. They got five on the power play. We got five (goals) throughout the game. Usually when you score five goals at a Memorial Cup you're in the game - we weren't in the game."

Flynn said the team will try and throw that game away and move on from it as quickly as possible. The team will have to move on quickly from it, playing a do or die game this evening against the Seattle Thunderbirds.

"We've got a sudden death game (Tuesday)," said Flynn. "We've got a great group of kids. They hate to lose. I think we were a little surprised at how good the teams are in this tournament. I think we've been on our heels a little bit, especially when they scored first shot today. We've got to regroup. Those two games are gone. We have to do what Windsor did in Rimouski when they went 0-2, win that third game and live to fight another die."

Game time tonight is 8 p.m. The winner will play in Friday's semifinal against the loser of tomorrow's Erie/Windsor game.

When Alex D'Orio took over for Callum Booth in the Saint John net, it was his first game action since March 18. D'Orio did not play at all in the QMJHL playoffs.

It looked as though D'Orio was going to come in earlier than he did, but Booth quickly retook the net. Flynn explained the move after the game.

"I was trying to buy a little time," the coach said. "By putting the backup goalie in - young guy, good goalie - who hasn't played for quite a while, I was going to try to put him in, slow the game down. Then I elected just to call a time out and talk to them at length rather than put the goalie in and try and get a quick message. I knew the game was slipping as it was and I wasn't worried about the time out late in the game or anything like that. I wanted a longer time to talk to them so I put Callum back in."

Last night's game was the first time Booth had been pulled since allowing four goals on 21 first period shots on Feb. 22 against Bathurst. Saint John ended up losing that game 8-7 in overtime.

Cedric Pare had a big night for Saint John on Monday, scoring twice. Pare scored five goals in the regular season and once in the playoffs. He did not score twice in any game and only had two multi-point games.

The Sea Dogs have only played the WHL twice in their Memorial Cup history. In 2011, the Sea Dogs lost 5-4 in overtime to the Kootenay Ice in a game that was meaningless for Saint John. The Dogs opted to rest several regulars for that game, but still managed to tie the game late and take it to overtime.

In 2012, the Dogs faced the Edmonton Oil Kings in their second round robin game and won 5-2.

The Sea Dogs were on the wrong side of a few Memorial Cup records last night. Dylan Strome's seven points, Erie's 12 goals and the combined 17 goals the two teams scored were all tournament records.
It's been a lopsided tournament so far. Even though the scores were close in the first two games, Windsor and Erie were definitely the better teams in those games.

The OHL has proven to be the best league - so far - in this year's tournament. Windsor and Erie are 4-0, outscoring opponents 26-10.
One team will have to lose tomorrow when the Otters and Spitfires meet at 8 p.m. The winner will go straight to Sunday's final while the loser will face the winner of tonight's Seattle/Saint John game in Friday's semifinal.

There weren't a lot of Sea Dogs highlights last night, but this was a pretty nice play by Thomas Chabot and Mathieu Joseph.
Maybe it's best to just have a good laugh about last night and move one. Turn up the volume on this video.
There have been some interesting in-game promotions and activities during the Memorial Cup this year. Here's an inflatable hamburger that was tossed around the stands last night.
Hungry, hungry hippos was played at intermission with real human beings.

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