Wednesday, May 24, 2017

NOTEBOOK: Sea Dogs will find out semifinal opponent tonight

WINDSOR, Ont. - The Saint John Sea Dogs will find out who their Memorial Cup semifinal opponent is tonight.

The Sea Dogs advanced to Friday's semifinal game with a big 7-0 victory over the WHL champion Seattle Thunderbirds last night at WFCU Centre. Saint John will play the loser of tonight's game between the Erie Otters and Windsor Spitfires. The winner of tonight's match will advance directly to Sunday's championship game.

Tonight's game will be a heavyweight tilt between the two teams that have been by far the best at this year's tournament. Both are 2-0 with Erie outscoring opponents 16-7 and Windsor outscoring teams 10-3.

Erie and Windsor met four times during the regular season. Here are the results:

Sept. 22: Erie 1, Windsor 4
Dec. 16: Windsor 3, Erie 4
Feb 12: Windsor 4, Erie 5 (SO)
March 9: Erie 4, Windsor 2

Although the game will played in the Spitfires' building, the Otters will be the home team tonight.

Last night's game was yet another blowout at this year's Memorial Cup. Three of the five round robin games have been blowouts while the other two featured fairly dominant performances from one team.

Will that trend continue tonight with the big Erie/Windsor showdown?

The offence at this year's event is nearing record totals:
Chase Stewart picked a good time to score his fourth goal of the 2016-17 campaign.

Stewart, who had just three goals all season with Saint John, scored his first goal since March 15 in last night's 7-0 Sea Dogs win over Seattle. Stewart scored Saint John's second goal of the game at 14:04 of the second period, a goal the proved to be the first of three in under a minute.

Sportsnet has a nice story on Stewart here.

Saint John has had offensive contributions from some unexpected sources at this Memorial Cup: Stewart, Cedric Pare and Cole Reginato all have goals.

It wasn't the greatest of tournaments for the Seattle Thunderbirds, who are heading home after going 0-3.

Going 0-3 is bad enough, but the Thunderbirds didn't look great in any of their games, losing 4-2 to Erie, 7-1 to Windsor and 7-0 to Saint John.

Rookie goaltender Carl Stankowski, who went 16-2-2 with a 2.50 GAA and .911 SV% in the WHL playoffs, was pulled in each of Seattle's final two games. Canadian world junior team forward Matthew Barzal had just two assists while Keegan Kolesar, who led the WHL in playoff scoring, had just one goal.

The Sea Dogs have now scored 14 goals in three games at this year's tournament, and they've done so without getting a ton of shots on net.

In their tournament opener, Saint John scored two goals on 22 shots (both goals came in a nine-shot third period). On Monday, the Dogs scored five on 23 shots and last night they netted seven on 28 shots.

Saint John has been outshot in all three games, something that happened just once during the QMJHL playoffs.

The Sea Dogs have yet to lose in regulation time to a WHL team at a Memorial Cup, improving to 2-0-1 with last night's victory. They lost in overtime to Kootenay in 2011, defeated Edmonton in 2012 and beat Seattle this year.

The Sportsnet intermission feature on Sea Dogs equipment manager David "DK" Kelly can be seen here.

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