Friday, August 18, 2017

RECAP: Sea Dogs lose 5-4 (OT)

FINAL (OT): Halifax 5, Saint John 4

MONCTON – The Saint John Sea Dogs dropped their first game of the 2017 Rookie Challenge on Friday afternoon.

Despite leading for much of the game and then tying things up in the final minute, the Sea Dogs fell 5-4 in overtime to the Halifax Mooseheads at Moncton’s Superior Propane Centre.

Halifax’s newest weapons – first-round picks Justin Barron and Xavier Parent – teamed up to score the overtime goal. Barron also had a goal in regulation time while singles came from Kyle Petten, Patrick Kyte and Felix Gascon. Maxime Emery made 25 saves in the loss.

Saint John goals came from Ben Reid, Alexandre Lafreniere, Jeremie Jacob and Kevin Mason. Stewart Bagnell played the first half of the game and allowed a goal on nine shots. Andrew McLeod played the second half, allowing four goals on 19 shots.

Rookie Challenge Game Day: vs Mooseheads

MONCTON - The 2017 Rookie Challenge begins today in Moncton with the Saint John Sea Dogs taking on the Halifax Mooseheads at 4 p.m.

The other games feature the Charlottetown Islanders taking on the Acadie-Bathurst Titan at 1 p.m. and the Moncton Wildcats facing the Cape Breton Screaming Eagles at 7 p.m.

TV/Radio/Webcast: None/None/YouTube

Rookie record: This is the first game of the tournament for both clubs.

Rosters: Saint John's 34-man rookie camp roster (18 forwards, 12 defencemen and four goalies) has been reduced to 29 players; Halifax's 25-man rookie camp roster (nine defencemen, 13 forwards and three goalies).

Head-to-head: The Sea Dogs were 6-2-0-0 against the Mooseheads last season while Halifax went 2-6-0-0 against Saint John.

Players to watch
Halifax: Xavier Parent - the fourth overall pick in this summer's QMJHL Entry Draft, the 16-year-old forward had 55 points in 34 games in midget AAA last season.

Saint John: Alexandre Lafreniere - the 18-year-old appeared in 13 games with the Sea Dogs last year, recording a goal and two assists. He spent the rest of the year in the MHL.

Notes: Halifax won last year's tournament while Saint John finished fourth... the Mooseheads had two first round picks in this year draft, selecting Parent and Justin Barron... Saint John didn't select until the third round in this year's draft, taking Brendan Sibley 52nd overall.

Next game: The Sea Dogs take on the Moncton Wildcats at 7 p.m. on Saturday.

Sea Dogs announce Rookie roster moves

SAINT JOHN - The Saint John Sea Dogs have made their first round of reassignments.

The team announced this morning that seven players are no longer at Rookie Camp:
  • F Justin Hryckowian - leaving after 48 hours to maintain NCAA eligibility
  • F Jack Keough - leaving after 48 hours to maintain NCAA eligibility
  • F Josh MacDonald - leaving after 48 hours to maintain NCAA eligibility
  • D Tyler Hungerbuhler - leaving after 48 hours to maintain NCAA eligibility
  • F Shawn Milord - injured
  • D Lucas Fabijancic
  • D Mark Perone
Hryckowian (2017, 11th round), MacDonald (2017, 10th round) and Milord (2017, 11th round) are all draft picks of the Sea Dogs.

All seven of the players reassigned were long shots to make the Dogs' roster this year.

The team has also added forward Samuel Leblanc, who played in 54 games with Saint John last season, and free agent forward Nicholas Cardone (1999-04-30).

Saint John's Rookie Camp roster now sits at 29 players. The team begins the 2017 Rookie Challenge in Moncton this afternoon, taking on the Halifax Mooseheads at 4 p.m.

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Moncton Rookie Challenge begins tomorrow

SAINT JOHN - The Moncton Rookie Challenge begins on Friday at Superior Propane Centre.

All six Maritimes Division teams will be taking part in the three day tournament. This is the second year for the event.

All six teams will dress lineups with little to no QMJHL experience. Saint John's lineup, for example, will likely feature the likes of Ian Smallwood and Alexandre Lafreniere - both of whom played with the Sea Dogs last year - along with newcomers Brendan Sibley and Aiden MacIntosh.

The Sea Dogs had 32 players take part in rookie camp this past week at Harbour Station. The team has not publicly announced any cuts yet.

Saint John's first game is on Friday at 4 p.m. against the Halifax Mooseheads. Here is the full tournament schedule:

Friday, Aug. 18
1 p.m. - Charlottetown vs Bathurst
4 p.m. - Halifax vs Saint John
7 p.m. - Moncton vs Cape Breton

Saturday, Aug. 19
1 p.m. - Bathurst vs Halifax
4 p.m. - Cape Breton vs Charlottetown
7 p.m. - Saint John vs Moncton

Sunday, Aug. 20
10 a.m. - To be determined
1 p.m. - To be determined
4 p.m. - To be determined

Halifax won last year's event. Saint John finished fourth.

Similar events are being held with the Quebec teams in Chicoutimi, Sherbrooke and Shawinigan.

Teams will use the events to decide which players receive invites to main camps next week.

The "real" pre-season begins on Wednesday for the Sea Dogs with the team hosting the Acadie-Bathurst Titan at Harbour Station.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Notes from day one of Rookie Camp

Kevin Chambers | SN Staff

The Sea Dogs opened Rookie Camp on Wednesday with a pair of scrimmages.

I checked in on the second game of the day on Wednesday afternoon which Team Blue, coached by former Sea Dogs netminder Karel St. Laurent, took by score of 4-2.

Picking up the goals for Team Blue were Isiah Campbell, Justin Hryckowian, Alexis Lyonnais, and Kevin Mason. Scoring for Team White were Josh MacDonald and Justin Lush.

Goaltenders on Wednesday were Stewart Bagnell and Joel Goguen for Team White while Andrew MacLeod tended the nets for Team Blue.

As expected, the returning players from last year's camp were impressive - the most notable being Campbell, whose large frame made him easy to spot.

Flynn joins Winterhawks staff

Danny Flynn has found a new home.

Just a few weeks after leaving his role as head coach of the Saint John Sea Dogs, the Western Hockey League's Portland Winterhawks have named Flynn an assistant coach.

The Winterhawks also added Paul Gaustad as assistant coach/player development.

“We are excited to add both Danny and Paul to our staff,” said Portland head coach and Dartmouth native Mike Johnston. “I have known Danny for a long time and consider him to be one of the best junior coaches in Canada. We are very fortunate to add him to our staff. Paul is a Winterhawks alumni who has an impressive resume as a player and is now transitioning into coaching. This year he will work with our forwards while organizing a development plan for each player on our protected list.”

Flynn surprisingly announced he was leaving the Sea Dogs on July 28 to pursue other opportunities. The 59-year-old coached the Sea Dogs for two seasons, leading the club to a President Cup title last year.

Both Flynn and Johnston are Dartmouth natives and both have coached Atlantic University Sport hockey. Johnston is a former head coach of the UNB Varsity Reds while Flynn previously led the StFX X-Men.

Flynn joins one of the top organizations in junior hockey. The Winterhawks are essentially the London Knights of the WHL. They are consistently among the league's best and are able to attract top talent.

This will be Flynn's first coaching position in the WHL. He has spent time in both the OHL and QMJHL.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Rookie camp roster, schedule released

SAINT JOHN - The Saint John Sea Dogs have finally unveiled their rookie camp roster and schedule.

The team will begin on-ice sessions on Wednesday at 10:30 a.m. at Harbour Station with a scrimmage. The Dogs will hold a second scrimmage at 2 p.m. All scrimmages are open to the public and free to attend.

Thursday will follow the same schedule. On Friday, Saturday and Sunday, the team will take part in the QMJHL's Rookie Showcase in Moncton.

34 players will attend this year's rookie camp. According to a press release, "the list includes 18 forwards, 12 defencemen and four goalies. Twenty players were drafted by the Sea Dogs while one was acquired in a trade."

Here is the full roster (click to enlarge):
Lynden Breen, Tim Noble, Patrick Moynihan and Robert Griffin were the only 2017 Sea Dogs draft picks not included on the camp roster. Any or all could be holding out for NCAA reasons - Breen is a Maine commit while Moynihan and Griffin are American - and it will be interesting to see if any show for main camp.

The Sea Dogs' 2017 CHL Import Draft picks - Czech winger Ostap Saffin and Czech defenceman Radim Salda - were also not included, but that could be for a variety of reasons. Halifax's import pick, Filip Zadina, was not included on the Mooseheads' roster.

Rookie camp participants will look to earn an invite to main camp, which begins next week.

Sea Dogs returning to Fredericton

QMJHL hockey is returning to Fredericton.

The UNB Varsity Reds announced Tuesday that the Aitken Centre will host a pre-season game between the Saint John Sea Dogs and Moncton Wildcats on Thursday, Sept. 14 at 7 p.m.

"We are so pleased to bring this rivalry to our great fans in the Fredericton region," said Sea Dogs president and general manager Trevor Georgie in the release. "We have been fortunate to have players from this area become captains and key contributors to our success over our history, and there is a strong Sea Dogs flavour to the Varsity Reds' roster as well.”

The game - which will be a Sea Dogs home contest - was not part of the team's pre-season schedules originally. The match should feature near finalized rosters with the game taking place one week before Saint John's regular season opener.

Both the Sea Dogs and Wildcats have played at the Aitken Centre previously - but never against each other. Moncton has played at the venue various times over the years while Saint John last played there during the 2006 pre-season (RIP Lewiston Maineiacs).

Here are some ticket details, via the V-Reds:

Tickets for the game go on sale at 10:00am Friday, August 18th, on-line at: 
In person sales begin Monday, August 21st, at the Aitken Centre box office, at 11:00am. 
Tickets will cost $12 for adults and $10 for seniors, students and youth.

The Varsity Reds men's hockey program will feature five Sea Dogs alumni this year: forwards Mike Thomas, Oliver Cooper and Stephen Anderson along with defenceman Matt Murphy and Olivier LeBlanc.

The Sea Dogs will play three games at this weekend's Rookie Showcase in Moncton followed by five "real" pre-season games. The first "real" game will be next Wednesday, Aug. 23 at Harbour Station against Bathurst.

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Veleno, Canada win Ivan Hlinka gold

Joe Veleno is an Ivan Hlinka Memorial Cup gold medalist.

Veleno captained Team Canada to a 4-1 victory over the Czech Republic in the tournament's gold medal game on Saturday. The Saint John Sea Dogs forward scored what proved to be the game-winning goal early in the second period.
Jared McIsaac, Kevin Bahl and Jack McBain also scored for the Canadians, who suffered just one loss - a shootout defeat to Russia - during the tournament. Olivier Rodrigue made 18 saves in the win.

Veleno, who became the first player to play for Canada twice at the Ivan Hlinka, finished the tournament with two goals and five assists in five games. He had four assists in four games last year.

The strong performance by Veleno will likely help boost his stock for the 2018 NHL Draft and increase his chances of making Canada's world junior team. But there's a lot of time between now and when those events take place.

Veleno, Canada go for gold today

Joe Veleno and Team Canada will play for gold today at the Ivan Hlinka Memorial Cup.

The Canadians advanced to the gold medal game with a 4-1 victory over Sweden in the semifinals yesterday. Canada will take on the Czech Republic, who defeated Russia 2-1 in the other semifinal.

Puck drop is scheduled for noon Atlantic time.

Veleno had another assist in yesterday's game, giving him a goal and five points in four games.
Here's Veleno speaking after the game.

Team Canada also features Quispamsis native and Sherbrooke Phoenix forward Anderson MacDonald.

Gursoy signs with Sea Dogs

According to Kevin Gursoy‏, Kevin Gursoy‏ has signed with the Saint John Sea Dogs.

After tweets started to swirl around Twitter on Friday morning, Gursoy confirmed the news with a tweet of his own.
Gursoy is the first free agent signing news to come out of Sea Dogs land this off-season. The team is expected to release its training camp roster early this week ahead of the Moncton Rookie Challenge.

An 18-year-old forward from LaSalle, Ont., Gursoy put up strong numbers with the GOJHL - a junior 'B' league - Chatham Maroons last season, posting 30 goals and 32 assists in 50 regular season games. He added six goals and five assists in nine playoff matches.

According to Elite Prospects, the 5'11", 176 lbs forward was named to the GOJHL (Western) Rookie All-Star Team.

Prior to playing with the Maroons, Gursoy spent two seasons with the Windsor Jr. Spitfires midget program.

Friday, August 11, 2017

Veleno, Canada look to play for gold

Joe Veleno and Team Canada look to advance to the gold medal game of the Ivan Hlinka Memorial Cup today.

The Canadians can advance to the final with a victory over Sweden in the semifinals. The other semi features Russia and the Czech Republic.

Game time for both semifinals is 2 p.m. Atlantic.

Canada finished second in Group B - behind Russia - with a 2-0-1 record. The team's only defeat was a shootout loss to the Russians.

Veleno currently sits 10th in tournament scoring with a goal and four assists in three games. He had fours assists in four games last year.

The Canadian captain netted his first goal of the tournament in Wednesday's 6-1 win over Slovakia.
The Hockey Canada website has an article on Veleno, who is the first player to ever play twice for Canada at the Hlinka.

The gold and bronze medal games will be held tomorrow at noon.

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Veleno earns two assists in Canada win

Joe Veleno and Team Canada earned their first win of the Ivan Hlinka Memorial Cup on Tuesday in Slovakia.

Veleno recorded two assists in Canada's 5-1 victory over Finland, improving the team's record to 1-0-1. It was a strong showing for the Canadians after falling 4-3 in a shootout to Russia on Monday.

Canada scored three power play goals on Tuesday. Both of Veleno's assists came on the man advantage, setting up Calen Addison's second period goal and Jack McBain's third period marker.

Veleno, Canada's captain, now has three assists in two games at this year's tournament. He had four assists in four games last year.

Canada will play their final preliminary round game on Wednesday at 2 p.m. against Slovakia. According to the Hockey Canada website, "a win over the tournament co-hosts would send the Canadians to the semifinals on Friday."

Veleno, meanwhile, was named one of the player's to watch at this year's tournament by FanRag Sports.

Monday, August 7, 2017

Veleno nets nice shootout goal in Hlinka loss

Joe Veleno and Team Canada dropped their first game of the Ivan Hlinka Memorial Cup on Monday in Slovakia, falling 4-3 in a shootout to Russia.

Veleno, who is Canada's captain, had an assist in the game scored a sweet goal in the shootout.
The Saint John Sea Dogs forward was listed on the team's second line with Gabriel Fortier and Luka Burzan.

Friday, August 4, 2017

2017-18 Sea Dogs ticket details released

The Saint John Sea Dogs unveiled single game ticket details this week.

There aren't a lot of changes this year after the huge overhaul the ticket structure went through last summer. Harbour Station has been divided into four pricing zones and the team's home games are designated either best value, regular or premium.

Here's a look at the 34-game home schedule:
Only six matches are designated as "premium games," three of which are against the rival Moncton Wildcats. Eight games are designated as "best value games," all of which will played mid-week. The remaining games are "regular."

Tickets to best value games in Zone D are just $9 for adult, senior and student and $8 for youth.

Full pricing details can be found of the Sea Dogs website.

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Veleno named to Team Canada again

Saint John Sea Dogs forward Joe Veleno has been named to Canada's roster for the annual Ivan Hlinka Memorial Cup tournament.

It's the second straight year Veleno has been named to the under-18 squad. Last year, the 17-year-old recorded four assists in four games.

The 22 players who will represent Canada from Aug. 7-12 in Breclav, Czech Republic, and Bratislava, Slovakia were announced on Tuesday.

Veleno was one of eight QMJHL players named to the team, a promising number for a league that could use a strong 2018 NHL Draft. Joining the Sea Dogs forward are Gabriel Fortier (Baie-Comeau), Benoit-Olivier Groulx (Halifax), Anderson MacDonald (Sherbrooke), Noah Dobson (Bathurst), Jared McIsaac (Halifax), Alexis Gravel (Halifax) and Olivier Rodrigue (Drummondville).

Of note, all three Maritime provinces are represented on this year's team: McIsaac (Truro, NS), Dobson (Summerside, PEI) and MacDonald (Quispamsis, NB).

Team Canada, who has been holding a selection camp in Calgary over the past few days, will open the tournament next Monday against Russia.

The summer tournament will be held in Edmonton next year.

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Reports: Head coaching rumours begin

Rumours and speculation over who the Saint John Sea Dogs are considering for their head coaching position have begun.

According to Craig Eagles, who broadcasts QMJHL games on Rogers TV, Marty Williamson's name has popped up.
Williamson has over a decade of head coaching experience in the OHL, leading the Barrie Colts from 2004 to 2010 and the Niagara IceDogs from 2010 until his firing in 2016 (he was also the general manager in Niagara). He reached the OHL playoffs every season and appeared in the league final twice, losing both times.

Meanwhile, Jon Goyens, the head coach of the Lac St-Louis Lions, is expected to interview for the position, according to a report.
The Lions have been one of the best midget AAA programs in the country over the past five years or so. The club has developed a significant amount of QMJHL talent, including Sea Dogs forward Joe Veleno.