Saturday, December 20, 2014

Mann-Dixon, Canada East Finish 4th

Friday was a good day for Russian goaltenders.

While Ilya Sorokin made 51 saves in a 2-1 overtime victory over Canada in world junior pre-tournament action, Ilya Samsonov made 46 saves in a 2-0 win over Canada East in the bronze medal game of the World Junior A Hockey Challenge.

According to Hockey Canada, Samsonov set a tournament record for saves in a shutout.

Sea Dogs goaltending prospect Blade Mann-Dixon was at the other end of the ice and made 27 saves in the loss. It was another solid outing for Mann-Dixon who had a strong tournament despite Canada East having its struggles.

Here’s how he performed in each game:

Dec. 14: 21 saves in 4-3 loss to Switzerland
Dec. 16: 43 saves in 3-2 loss to the United States
Dec. 17: 38 saves in 4-2 win over Canada West
Dec. 18: 40 saves in 7-1 loss to the United States
Dec. 19: 27 saves in 2-0 loss to Russia

Mann-Dixon finishes the tournament with a 3.34 goals against average and a .909 save percentage.

The United States plays Denmark for gold today at 4:30 p.m. The game can be seen on TSN.

Photo: Hockey Canada

Friday, December 19, 2014

Eichel Shoots Down Rumours

So there’s that.

Team USA defeated Boston University 5-2 in world junior pre-tournament action tonight in Boston.

DiDomenico To Play At Spengler; Mann-Dixon Goes For Bronze Tonight

Chris DiDomenico will play for Team Canada at this year’s Spengler Cup.

The 25-year old has been playing overseas for the past three years. This season, he has 19 goals and 24 assists in 27 games with Langnau of the National League B in Switzerland.

The Spengler Cup, an annual club team tournament that features a Canadian national team, begins on Boxing Day. Canada will play host HC Davos in their first game. The championship game will be held on New Year’s Eve.

DiDomenico spent two-and-a-half seasons with Saint John and became the team’s first major offensive star. He was traded to Drummondville during the 2008-09 trading period in what proved to be one of the most significant in team history.

In 203 career QMJHL games, the Woodbridge, Ont. Native registered 90 goals and 161 assists. He added 19 goals and 56 assists in 43 playoff games.

DiDomenico was a sixth-round pick of the Toronto Maple Leafs in the 2007 NHL Draft. He later had his rights traded to the Chicago Blackhawks.

He spent the 2010-11 and 2011-12 seasons playing in the AHL and ECHL before moving to Italy to play.

This will be DiDomenico’s second time playing for Team Canada. In 2009, he helped Canada win gold at the world juniors in Ottawa.

In other international news, Blade Mann-Dixon and Canada East will play for bronze at the World Junior A Hockey Challenge tonight against Russia. After making 38 saves in a 4-2 win over Canada West on Wednesday, Mann-Dixion allowed seven goals on 47 shots in a 7-1 loss to the United States last night. The US will face Nikolaj Ehlers and Denmark for gold tomorrow.

Photo: Twitter

Notebook: The Trading Begins

Today’s the day – the QMJHL’s holiday trading period has arrived.
Deals be going down, son. Trades can be tracked here.

The Hockey News’ Ryan Kennedy has a really good piece on the Jack Eichel situation. Basically, common sense says it is very unlikely Eichel leaves Boston University for the CHL.

Eichel and Team USA play the Terriers at BU tonight at 8:30 p.m.


DRAFT RANKINGS released their latest preliminary rankings for the 2015 QMJHL Entry Draft yesterday.

The website lists Chateauguay forward Maxime Comtois as the top player available.

“Comtois is a great talent and was a unanimous choice as our top prospect,” writes. “He’s a good skater who can play on both wings, already has good size and has outstanding vision and a great touch around the net.”

Forward Shane Bowers of the Halifax McDonalds was the only Atlantic Canadian to crack the top 10, being ranked second. He is “without a doubt the top player from Atlantic Canada this season.”

Antoine Morand of Chateauguay rounds out the top three. The top 10 can be seen for free on

Thursday, December 18, 2014

RECAP: Sea Dogs Lose 4-3

FINAL: Bathurst 4, Saint John 3
SAINT JOHN – A tremendous opening half to the 2014-15 season ended on a sour note for the Saint John Sea Dogs on Thursday night.

A late third period goal from Egor Popov gave the Acadie-Bathurst Titan a 4-3 victory over the Sea Dogs, extending Saint John’s losing streak to three games. The loss was also Saint John’s first in regulation time at Harbour Station this season.

On top of all that, Saint John’s loss combined with a Moncton win means the Sea Dogs finish the first half in second place in the Maritimes Division – one-point back of the first-place Wildcats.

The Sea Dogs didn’t have a whole lot of flow in this game and let it slip away in the third with a couple of missed defensive assignments. They ended up outshooting the Titan 25-24 but had just nine “dangerous shots” in the game.

Andrew Ryan, Jeffery Truchon-Viel, Yan Plourde and Popov scored for the Titan while Alexandre Lagace and Jacob Brennan combined to make 22 saves in the win. Julien Tessier, Daniel Del Paggio and Luke Green scored for the Sea Dogs and Sebastien Auger made 20 stops in the loss.

Saint John went to the power play just 20 seconds into the game but it would be Bathurst opening the scoring. At 2:02, Ryan skated past Luke Green to go in alone on Auger. He made a deke and beat the Dogs ‘tender to make it 1-0 Titan.

Saint John tied things up at 13:37. A Braydon Blight shot was stopped but Tessier put the rebound in to make it a 1-1 match.

Shots were 12-9 Saint John in the first. Adam Bateman and Adam Marsh each hit a post in the frame.

At 2:58 of the second, Del Paggio scored on a power play to give Saint John their first lead of the game. Nathan Noel fired a pass from down low to Del Paggio who put it off his skate, to his stick and into the net. That was the end of Lagace’s night - for whatever reason - as Jacob Brennan took over the Titan goaltending duties.

Saint John’s power play continued to produce at 10:43. Green fired a slapper from inside the line and past Brennan to make it 3-1 Dogs.

Just over three minutes later, the Titan made it a one-goal game again. Auger let out a big rebound of an Anthony Gingras shot and Viel floated the rebound in to make it 3-2 contest after two. Shots were 11-9 Bathurst in the middle frame.

Just 48 seconds into the third, Bathurst tied it at 3-3. Popov found Plourde who was left all alone, allowing him to skate above the crease and beat Auger five-hole.

Neither team generated many scoring chances until 18:54. Popov, uncontested, performed a wraparound and slipped the puck past Auger to give the Titan a late 4-3 lead.

Saint John pulled Auger in the final minute to try and even things up but they could not, ending the first half of their season with a loss.

Siska Invited To Slovakian Camp

Sea Dogs forward Juraj Siska has been invited to participate in Slovakia’s world junior training camp.

According to the Sea Dogs, he is leaving today to join the camp in Peterborough, Ont. He was one of 14 forwards to receive an invite.

Slovakia is scheduled to play their first pre-tournament game on Sunday against Switzerland in Peterborough. They will also play the Czech Republic next Tuesday.

The team will open up tournament play on Boxing Day against Team Canada at the Bell Centre. The Hockey News predicts the Slovaks to finish eighth at this year’s world juniors.

Siska, selected ninth overall by Saint John in the 2013 CHL Import Draft, has three goals and six assists in 31 games with the Sea Dogs this season. He has been struggling of late, posting just one point – an assist – since the end of October. Hopefully this experience will help rejuvenate the forward.

As the Sea Dogs news release notes, Siska has played for the “Slovakian Under-17 and Under-18 programs and its Under-20 team between 2011 and 2013.”

Photo: Marc Henwood/Station Nation