The Sea Dogs' season came to an end on Friday night in Windsor, falling 6-3 to the OHL champion Erie Otters in the Memorial Cup semifinal.
It was a hard fought game - unlike the first time these two met - in what was arguably the best game of the tournament so far. Saint John's penalty kill was excellent and kept them in the game as the Otters were awarded seven power play opportunities.
Erie's power plays allowed them dominant much of the second period, outshooting Saint John 17-4. Despite the lopsided shot total, the game was tied 2-2 after two periods. But the Otters scored two quick goals in the third period en route to a 6-3 victory.
Taylor Raddysh scored twice for Erie while singles came from Darren Raddysh, Dylan Strome, German Poddubnyi and Warren Foegele. Troy Timpano made 20 saves in the victory.
Joe Veleno, Julien Gauthier and Thomas Chabot all scored for Saint John. Callum Booth made 31 saves in the loss.
To the notes...
- Saint John nearly opened the scoring while shorthanded early in the first period when Mathieu Joseph fed Simon Bourque in front. But DeBrincat pulled the puck off the goal line to keep it scoreless.
- Erie opened the scoring at 9:56 when Darren Raddysh made a great play in front, spinning around in front of the net and roofing the puck over a down Booth.
- Saint John tied things at 1-1 at 14:10 when Veleno batted in a rebound of a Spencer Smallman shot.
- The Otters were dominant at puck possession at times early in the second, forcing Booth to make some nice saves.
- Imama went to the box at 10:39 for a check from behind. On the power play at 10:57, an Anthony Cirelli shot was stopped but a rebound was produced. Taylor Raddysh was in the slot to put it in after a scramble, making it 2-1 Otters.
- Then Chabot headed off for a penalty. Then Highmore. Then Chabot again. Erie had plenty of pressure on all three power plays but could not add to their lead.
- Then at 18:51, it looked as though the Otters were getting a power play, so Booth skated to the bench. Taylor Raddysh grabbed the puck but no whistle was blown. Raddysh entered the zone and fired the puck past an unprepared Booth, appearing to make it 3-1. But the goal was called off, as there was indeed an Erie penalty.
- On the ensuing power play, Matthew Highmore was at the dot and fed Joseph down low. Joseph then tapped the puck to Gauthier who beat Timpano, tying the gam at 2-2 at 19:18.
- Just 2:38 into the third, Strome went around Chase Stewart and beat Booth with a low wrist shot, giving the Otters the lead back.
- Then at 3:45, Saint John turned the puck over in the corner. Ivan Lodnia grabbed the puck and fed Poddubnyi in front who beat Booth blocker side.
- On another power play at 12:31, Taylor Raddysh was near the goal line and slid the puck between a down Booth and the post, making it 5-2 Erie.
- The Sea Dogs didn't go away, though. At 16:28, Gauthier was along the boards and found Chabot streaking in. Chabot fired the puck past Timpano just before running over the Erie goaltender, making it a 5-3 game.
- The Dogs had Booth pulled for a while but could not net the equalizer. At 19:26, Foegele hit the empty net to make it a 6-3 final.
- The first period was a bit different than Monday's match between the two where the Otters were up 5-2 and outshot Saint John 17-4.
- Erie's power play heavy second period gave them a 17-4 shot advantage over Saint John in the frame.
- Chabot took three minor penalties in the game.
The Sea Dogs were without defencemen Ian Smallwood, Oliver Felixson and David Comeau along with forwards Landon Quinney and Samuel Leblanc.
Erie's two quick goals in the third period gave Erie all the momentum.
SN THREE STARS
1. Spencer Smallman
2. Matthew Highmore
3. Bokondji Imama
TWEET OF THE GAME
NEXT GAMEWhat a year— QMJHL (@QMJHL) May 27, 2017
What an effort
What a fantastic group of players
Proud of everything that @SJSeaDogs has accomplished this year.
We'll see you all at the QMJHL Entry Draft next Saturday at Harbour Station.