Monday, February 26, 2024

Notebook: What are those?

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STANDINGS UPDATE
Who will take the final playoff spot in the Quebec Maritimes Junior Hockey League? It's like it will be a race between the Saint John Sea Dogs and Quebec Remparts.

With 11 games to play, both teams have 42 points and sit in a tie for 16th overall. The top-16 teams in the QMJHL standings qualify for the playoffs.
It may not be the prettiest race to the finish line for the Sea Dogs and Remparts. Both clubs are just 1-7-2-0 in their last 10 games. It's not impossible for the Val-d'Or Foreurs to get back into the race, but being seven points back at this stage is a big hill to climb.

The Sea Dogs will face the Baie-Comeau Drakkar and Halifax Mooseheads this week while the Remparts will take on the Victoriaville Tigres and Rimouski Oceanic.

DOGS/VOLTS IN PLAYOFFS?
The good news? The Sea Dogs won't see the Drummondville Voltigeurs again in the regular season. Saint John dropped both games in the season series and were outscored a combined 15-3.

The bad news? If the Sea Dogs make the playoffs, they'll likely face the Voltigeurs in the first round.

The way things are shaping up, the 16th-place team will crossover into the Western Conference and be the No. 8 seed. The Voltigeurs look poised to be the No. 1 seed in the Western Conference, which would setup a first round meeting with the No. 8 seed.

The Sea Dogs crossed over into the Western Conference last season where they played the Gatineau Olympiques in the opening round.

Saint John and Drummondville have never met in the playoffs.

Sunday, February 25, 2024

Recap: Sea Dogs lose 3-0

FINAL: Saint John 0, Sherbrooke 3
Michael Hawkins/Saint John Sea Dogs
SHERBROOKE, QC - The Saint John Sea Dogs were in it right until the end in a 3-0 loss to the Sherbrooke Phoenix on Sunday at Palais des Sports Léopold-Drolet.

Down 1-0 entering the third, the Sea Dogs had some chances to tie things up — including a power play — but couldn't convert. Lewis Gendron netted his second of the game with 1:18 remaining, beating Justin Robinson with a quick shot from the slot. Olivier Dubois secured the win with an empty net goal in the final minute to make it a 3-0 final.

Robinson, who has not dressed in recent games due to an injury, made his return and looked strong in doing so, making 43 saves in the loss.

Samuel St-Hilaire stopped all 25 shots he faced to earn his second straight shutout win.

The Sea Dogs, who were missing three regulars up front in Eriks Mateiko, Darien Reynolds and Jacob Beaulieu, head home with a 0-2-1-0 record on this final three-in-three road trip through Quebec. With the Quebec Remparts losing to the Halifax Mooseheads, the Dogs remain in a tie for the 16th and final playoff spot with 11 games to play.

Game Day 57: at Sherbrooke

SHERBROOKE, QC - The Saint John Sea Dogs will play in the province of Quebec one last time this regular season later today.

Saint John travels to Sherbrooke to face the Phoenix at 4 p.m. Atlantic. It hasn't been the greatest road trip for the Sea Dogs so far, blowing a 3-1 third period lead and falling in overtime in Quebec City on Friday before getting blown out 9-2 in Drummondville last night.

With Saturday's contest, the Sea Dogs and Remparts have now played the same amount of games. They are tied for the 16th and final playoff spot with 42 points each.

TV/Radio/Stream: None/None/CHL TV

2023-24 regular season records: The Sea Dogs are 17-31-5-3 for 42 points (sixth Maritimes/ninth Eastern/16th QMJHL) while the Phoenix are 26-24-1-5 for 58 points (third Central/fourth Western/10th QMJHL).

Last games: The Sea Dogs are coming off a 9-2 loss in Drummondville last night. Eriks Mateiko and Brody Fournier scored for Saint John. Patrick Leaver made 40 saves in the loss. The Phoenix are coming off a 6-0 win over the last-place Val-d'Or Foreurs last night. Hugo Primeau scored twice for Sherbrooke while singles came from Charles-Antoine Beauregard, Andrew Belchamber, Israël Mianscum and Lewis Gendron. Samuel St-Hilaire made 20 saves in the shutout.

Saturday, February 24, 2024

Recap: Sea Dogs lose 9-2

FINAL: Saint John 2, Drummondville 9
Michael Hawkins/Saint John Sea Dogs
DRUMMONDVILLE, QC - Well, that's over.

The Drummondville Voltigeurs, one of the top teams in the Quebec Maritimes Junior Hockey League, defeated the Saint John Sea Dogs 9-2 in a lopsided affair on Saturday at Marcel Dionne Centre.

It looked very much like one of the league's top teams going up against one at the bottom for much of the match. There's not much else to say about it. The Sea Dogs, at the very least, did create a few quality chances but couldn't cash on most of them. Eriks Mateiko and Brody Fournier scored in the third period when the game was already well out of reach.

This was Drummondville's 40th win of the season as they continue to sit second overall in the QMJHL standings behind the Baie-Comeau Drakkar.

Predictably, former Sea Dogs forward Noah Reinhart had a hat trick and two assists. Mikael Huchette also had a pair of goals for the Volts while Ethan Gauthier, Peter Repcik, Lukas Landry and Sam Oliver added solo markers. Louis-Felix Charrios made 31 saves in the win.

Patrick Leaver, making his second straight start for Saint John on this three-in-three, made 40 saves in the loss. Unless Justin Robinson is healthy, this likely means affiliate Charles-Antoine Girard will start for Saint John on Sunday in Sherbrooke.

Game Day 56: at Drummondville

DRUMMONDVILLE, QC - The Saint John Sea Dogs continue their road trip today in Drummondville.

The Sea Dogs are coming off a disappointing 4-3 overtime loss in Quebec City last night that saw the team blow a 3-1 third period lead. Saint John still owns the 16th and final playoff spot but are now tied with the Quebec Remparts for that position. The Sea Dogs have played one less game.

On paper, this will be Saint John's toughest game of this three-in-three. The Voltigeurs sit second in the QMJHL with a 39-10-5-1 record and are 8-1-1-0 in their last 10 games.

Game time today at the Marcel Dionne Centre is 5 p.m.

TV/Radio/Stream: None/None/CHL TV

2023-24 regular season records: The Sea Dogs are 17-30-5-3 for 42 points (sixth Maritimes/ninth Eastern/16th QMJHL) while the Voltigeurs are 39-10-5-1 for 84 points (first Central/first Western/second QMJHL).

Last games: The Sea Dogs are coming off a 4-3 overtime loss in Quebec City last night. Nicolas Bilodeau, Matteo Mann and Egan Beveridge scored for Saint John. Patrick Leaver made 26 saves in the loss. The Voltigeurs are coming off a 3-2 overtime loss in Shawinigan last night. Peter Repcik and Maveric Lamoureux scored for Drummondville. Riley Mercer made 16 saves in the loss.

Friday, February 23, 2024

Recap: Sea Dogs lose 4-3 (OT)

FINAL: Saint John 3, Quebec 4 (OT)
Michael Hawkins/Saint John Sea Dogs
QUEBEC, QC - The Saint John Sea Dogs let a 3-1 third period lead slip away in a 4-3 overtime loss to the Quebec Remparts on Friday at Videotron Centre.

Alexandre Desmarais netted the winner at 1:25 of the overtime period, wiring a perfectly placed shot top corner on Patrick Leaver. The win pushed the Remparts into a tie with the Sea Dogs for the QMJHL's 16th and final playoff spot with 42 points each — but Saint John has still played one less game.

The victory ended an eight-game losing streak for the Remparts.

Leaver, as he has done a lot in the second half, kept the Sea Dogs in the game early in the first period when the Remparts were heavily outshooting Saint John. Things took a turn when the Sea Dogs went to the power play with Nicolas Bilodeau and Matteo Mann scoring back-to-back man advantage goals.

The Remparts scored a power play marker of their own late in the first but Egan Beveridge's lovely backhand goal at 2:13 of the second ensured the Sea Dogs maintained momentum. Beveridge finished the night with a goal and two assists.

Quebec got within one early in the third when Pierre-Etienne Cloutier scored just 3:57 in. Then at 13:31, Julien Beland netted his second of the game to send the match to overtime.

Leaver made 26 stops in the loss for Saint John. For Quebec, Louis-Antoine Denault was pulled in the second period after allowing three goals on seven shots. Vincent Filion stopped all 12 shots he faced in relief.