Sea Dogs Ready for Road Trip Challenge through Quebec
The Sea Dogs begin a five day road trip through eastern Quebec tonight in Rimouski when they take on the Océanic at 8:30pm AST. This is their final road trip through Québec this regular season, one that will see them play four games in five nights. Saint John's most recent excursion through Québec back in early December saw them pick up two out of three wins, with their only loss coming to the top ranked Sherbrooke Phoenix. Their current road record is 11-12-1-0.
Overager Nicholas Deakin-Poot knows this will be a tough stretch of games in a short period of time for the team, but the impact these games could have on the standings at the end of the year means the team will need to focus and play smart.
"This road trip is gonna be big for the season, it could put us into a solid playoff spot. I think our focus has to be to play a complete team game. Four games in five days is never easy, but if we take care of our bodies and make sure to play a team game, we will have success."
vs. Rimouski - Tuesday, January 28th @ 8:30pm AST
The Océanic are currently in a dog fight atop the Eastern Conference standings alongside Chicoutimi, Moncton and Cape Breton. Star forward and consensus #1 NHL Draft pick Alexis Lafreniere has returned to his superhuman point production after leading Canada to a gold medal at the World Juniors. He has 14 points in seven games since returning to the Océanic lineup, but is coming off a pointless game on Sunday against the Remparts, only the sixth time this season he's been held off the score sheet.
This will be the first meeting of the Océanic and Sea Dogs since a Christmas trade period deal saw the Sea Dogs send team captain Nicolas Guay to Rimouski in exchange for overage forward, Jeffrey Durocher. Rimouski General Manager Serge Beausoleil says Guay will be a game time decision as he deals with a stiff neck. Guay has seven goals and two assists for Rimouski while Durocher has seven goals and five assists since arriving in Saint John.
Rimouski defeated the Sea Dogs 6-1 on Halloween in their only other meeting this season.
vs. Québec - Wednesday, January 29th @ 8:00pm AST
Saint John currently leads the Remparts by four points in the Eastern Conference standings and hold a game in hand. The two squads are fairly evenly matched in power play, penalty kill and goals against, with Saint John having a slight advantage in goals per game, 3.57 to Québec's 3.16.
Rookie winger James Malatesta has had a strong first season for Québec, tallying 22 goals and 15 assists in 43 games. He's currently second league wide in rookie goals and third in rookie points.
Québec took the win in the first match up of the season, 7-5 at TD Station. The Remparts stormed back with three straight goals late in the third period to steal the win. This will be a revenge game for the Sea Dogs with an important four point swing in the standings on the line.
vs. Chicoutimi - Friday, January 31st @ 8:30pm AST
The Sea Dogs will head north for a Friday night battle with the top team in the Eastern Conference. The Saguenéens looked unstoppable since adding elite forwards Raphael Lavoie and Dawson Mercer to their roster at the trade deadline, until recent back-to-back losses to the Phoenix and Océanic proved otherwise. Lavoie has six goals and five assists in eight games with Chicoutimi while Mercer is still looking for his first goal.
The Sags are a deep team at both ends of the ice with the league's third best goals for total and third best goals against.
Chicoutimi held on for a 5-4 win in their visit to TD Station back on November 22nd.
vs. Baie-Comeau - Saturday, February 1st @ 5:30pm AST
The Drakkar and Sea Dogs continue to swap positions in the standings meaning Saturday's contest may be the most important of the road trip. Baie-Comeau has not won in their past six games, but have managed to squeeze out three points with a pair of overtime losses and a shootout loss to stay one point ahead of Saint John.
Saint John shutout the Drakkar 3-0 on January 12th at TD Station, Zachary Bouthillier's second shutout of the season.
Forward Ben Badalamenti is expected to return to the line up this week after missing the last nine games with a lower body injury. Badalamenti has 19 points in 35 games this season.
Defencemen Jérémie Poirier is only two goals away from taking over the single season record for goals by a Sea Dogs defenceman. Alex Grant has held the record (15) since the 2007-2008 season. Poirier's defence partner William Villeneuve is also closing in on the single season record for assists by a Sea Dogs defenceman. His 33 assists have him nine helpers away from passing Nathan Beaulieu's 2011-12 total of 41.
Forward Jeffrey Durocher is nearing a career milestone. The five year veteran currently has 294 games played in the QMJHL.
Josh Lawrence has seven goals in the month of January, doubling his goal production since the start of the season.
Anderson MacDonald scored his first goal as a Sea Dog on Friday night in a 2-1 loss to the Charlottetown Islanders. MacDonald has five points since joining his hometown team.
Images from this story
Saint John Sea Dogs lineup
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Quebec Major Junior Hockey League Stories from January 28, 2020
- Poirier Scores in 3-2 Loss to Rimouski - Saint John Sea Dogs
- Eagles Edge Wildcats in Overtime Thriller - Cape Breton Eagles
- QMJHL, AQPS and CMHA Team up - QMJHL
- Sea Dogs Ready for Road Trip Challenge through Quebec - Saint John Sea Dogs
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