Bolts in the pipeline: Mathieu Joseph, Boko Imama headed to the QMJHL Finals

The Saint John Sea Dogs fight for their first President Cup since 2012.

Mathieu Joseph (F) / Bokondji Imama (F)
Saint John Sea Dogs vs Chicoutimi Sagueens

The QMJHL Semi-finals weren’t what we expected. When the second round playoffs began, most people thought it would be a maritime series in the semi-finals, with the Sea Dogs facing off against the Charlottetown Islanders in one series, and in the other it would be a battle of the hyphens with the Rouyn-Noranda Huskies against the Blainseville-Broisband Armada. The Chicoutimi Sagueneens had other ideas, and when they upset the reigning QMJHL champion huskies, it shook everything up.

Instead the Sea Dogs faced off against the Sagueneens while the Islanders would go up against the Armada. Now we have our series for the President Cup set: Armada vs Sea Dogs.

Aside from game five when neither put up any points, both Lightning prospects contributed in each game. The Sea Dogs fought hard, and will now fight for their first QMJHL title since 2012. The series begins Friday May 5, and if you’re not in the Montreal suburbs or in New Brunswick to see the games live, you can stream them via QMJHL Live.

April 21st: Home
W 4-1 - 1G, 0A, / No Points

The Sea Dogs were the only Bolts CHL team to win their opening game, and they did so decisively. From the Sea Dogs:

Nathan Noel carried the puck in on the left side, cut to the middle and ripped a quick shot toward the net that was blocked. Reginato pounded the rebound past Billia.

One minute later, Joseph worked a give-and-go on the left wing and rifled a heavy wrist shot past the blocker of Billia to make it a 3-0 game.

All three goals came in a 4:10 span.

April 22nd: Home
L 3-2 2OT - 0G, 1A, +1 / 0G, 1A, +1

As it’s the season for overtime, it took five minutes into the second extra frame to end this one. The Sagueneens score three straight to overcome a two goal deficit. This was the Sea Dogs first loss this post season. From the Sea Dogs:

The Sea Dogs outshot the Sagueneens 19-11 in the first overtime period. Saint John’s best chance to score came with about two minutes remaining when Bokondji Imama was found wide open on the left wing side. The overager snapped a quick wrist shot that Billia denied with his blocker.

The winning goal came during another Chicoutimi power play early in the second overtime.

Roy received a pass near the left side of the crease, spun to the front of the net and slipped the puck through Booth’s legs.

Roy was named first star with the game-winning goal and an assist.

April 25th: Away
W 5-0 - 1G, 0A, +2 / 2G, 0A, +3

Big game from Imama in Chicoutimi, scoring the game winning three minutes in then adds the insurance goal in the third period. The Sea Dogs are not planning on taking this series far into the spring. They want to be rested when they get to the finals. From the Sea Dogs:

Saint John got the only goal of the opening period just three-and-a-half minutes in.

Matthew Highmore stole the puck on the right side of the Chicoutimi blueline and fed Imama, who was wide open in the middle of the ice. The overage winger took two strides and then blistered a heavy wrist shot over the blocker of Julio Billia and under the crossbar.

April 26th: Away
L 4-3 - 2G, 0A, +2 / 1G, 0A

The Sea Dogs find themselves tied 2-2 in a series most observers thought would be easier for them to win. The Sagueneens are putting up a big fight to move on the the QMJHL finals, and a big night from Mathieu Joseph wasn’t enough to keep them at bay. From the Sea Dogs:

Joseph tied the score with a power play goal four minutes into the second period.

The Tampa Bay Lightning prospect took a pass inside the top of the right circle and whipped a low wrist shot that beat Billia on his stick side.

The Sagueneens regained the lead seven minutes later when Hamelin, providing a screen in front of the net, knocked down a shot from the left point, spun and snapped a shot through the legs of Booth.

April 28th: Home
W 4-0 - No Points / No Points

The Sea Dogs shutout the Sagueneens in the key game five match up. They had the advantage of only needing one win as they boarded their bus and left New Brunswick. From the Sea Dogs:

The Sea Dogs pushed their advantage to 3-0 before the six-minute mark in the third.

Chabot picked up the puck behind his own net, weaved through the neutral zone and attempted to sneak past two Chicoutimi defenders for a chance alone. The 2015 Ottawa Senators’ first-rounder lost control of the puck before he could get a shot, but grabbed it again, moved into the right circle and rifled a wrist shot that got past Billia’s glove on the short side.

Veleno rounded out the scoring halfway through the period.

April 30th: Away
W 6-5 - 0G, 2A, +2 / 1G, 1A, +1

In a close game between two strong teams, Imama was the hero, when he scored the game winner to advance the Sea Dogs to the finals, and one step closer to the trip to Windsor for the 99th Memorial Cup Tournament. From the Sea Dogs:

Bokondji Imama’s goal with just over five minutes remaining in the third period proved to be the winner, as the Saint John Sea Dogs came from behind to defeat the Chicoutimi Sagueneens, 6-5, in Game 6 of the President Cup semifinal, Sunday at Centre Georges-Vezina.

The Sea Dogs have advanced to President Cup Final for the fourth time in franchise history.

Thomas Chabot and Jakub Zboril finished the game with a goal and two assists each while Joe Veleno, Julien Gauthier and Samuel Dove-McFalls also found the net.