2017 Memorial Cup recap: QMJHL Champions fall to Windsor Spitfires 3-2

Sea Dogs seek to refocus after winning the QMJHL championship.

The Saint John Sea Dogs ran through the QMJHL playoffs with a 16-2 record, and are looking to carry that momentum over from winning a championship into a short round-robin to bring home another trophy.

Before the games began, Sea Dogs coach Danny Flynn downplayed the Sea Dogs sweep of the Armada (one of three sweeps en-route to a 16-2 playoff record). “When you go through the high of winning your league over eight weeks and then you have to refocus and go to a tournament against teams you don’t really know, the teams are better, the stakes are higher. You have to get your team emotionally ready for this. You have to park your league championship, and come in here with your edge, is one of the biggest challenges coaches have.”

Asked how they’d be able to pre-scout and prepare for teams they have very little knowledge of, Flynn said that “We were fortunate that we won our series in four, so we were able to catch our breath, and get some preparation and practices in.”

When asked how they prepared, Bokondji Imama was confident “We scouted their video, we watched some of their clips against London, there were some guys we heard about too. So we just tried to do our best to learn about the other team, but we’re just focused on our game.”

Imama and Mathieu Joseph started the game on the Sea Dogs top line, playing opposite wings from each other. They were a bit more in sync than their centre was, who kept falling a bit behind on the play. The Sea Dogs had control of the play a fair bit, and despite taking four penalties in the first 30 minutes, they never let up. The penalty kill was exceptional tonight, with Imama playing a key role on that unit.

This was a very physical game, and both sides were playing things up, but the Sea Dogs are the ones who keep ending up on the wrong side of the officials’ whistles.

No PK went by where the Sea Dogs didn’t keep the puck mostly out of their zone, and get a couple shots on goal. Yes, the Spitfires scored in the first period on the power play, but it happens occasionally, and three out of four killed isn’t bad.

Once the Spitfires started the goal scoring ball rolling, they couldn’t be stopped. In the first Jeremiah Addison (Canadiens) scored from close range, then in the second Jeremy Bracco (Maple Leafs) score a highlight reel goal despite two Saint John defenders trying to stop him [Boooooo - Acha], and then Aaron Luchuk deflects a shot past Booth to take the lead.

The Sea Dogs were lying in wait for the right time to break Michael DiPietro’s shutout. At 16:50 of the third period, Nathan Noel scores the Sea Dogs first goal, and then Thomas Chabot scores again 25 seconds later, to bring the game within one. A minute later Matthew Highmore almost ties the game, but just misses the open Windsor net.

The Sea Dogs played well in this game, but as the game went on, the Spitfires became more and more trouble for them, with the hosts building off a loud and proud Windsor crowd.

The two quick goals show that Saint John has what it takes to be the stand out team in this tournament.

Final stats:
Bokondji Imama: 0G, 0A, -1
Matthieu Joseph: 0G, 1A, -1

Game highlights: