After a day off, the 2017 MasterCard Memorial Cup tournament resumes with the semi-final of this 99th edition that will be played between the Saint John Sea Dogs and the Erie Otters.
Saint John Sea Dogs
After starting the tournament 0-2, the Sea Dogs’ chances of winning the MasterCard Memorial Cup seemed to have vanished from Windsor’s WFCU Center. But a convincing 7-0 victory over the Seattle Thunderbirds in their final game of the preliminary round put them back into the saddle.
Highlights of the game against the Thunderbirds available here.
The Sea Dogs will count on the presence of their three veterans in Bokondji Imama, Spencer Smallman and Matthew Highmore who will definitely want to finish their junior career on a positive note.
“Our group has been together for a while and the majority of us for three or four years. We are very proud of what we’ve accomplished, by no means we are satisfied, but come tonight we’ll be ready.” said overager Matthew Highmore.
The last time the two teams met, the Otters had served a hockey lesson to the Sea Dogs, prevailing it by the record mark of 12-5. Despite this thawing, “sea dogs” show a plus / minus -1 differential, having scored 14 goals so far in the tournament.
“It’s in our head, the last game we played against them we we’re embarrassed, frustrated with the way we came out and the way the game ended up, everything is in our hands right now.” adds defenseman Thomas Chabot. “We are going to try to focus on what we build against Seattle and bring our A-game.”
Sea Dogs head coach Danny Flynn spoke to the media prior to tonight’s game.
“We’ll try to make some adjustments, not big ones i think we have to do the things that got us here but we have to be a lot better, sharper with our passing, better with our decisions and ou reads. I thought we we’re a lot better against Seattle and we are going to need to be sharp against Erie”
With a win tonight, the Sea Dogs would face the Windsor Spitfires in the 2017 MasterCard Memorial Cup final.
The Erie Otters were surprised last Wednesday, defeated by the Spitfires, a 4-2 score. The Otters were perfect in the tournament until they met with Windsor.
See the highlights here.
“We are all excited, obviously we would have liked to advance immediately in in the final, but we’re still confortable for tonight” explained Otters’ head coach Kris Knoblauch a few hours before the game. “We know that we had a good game against these guys last time, but it’s not going to be the same game, they’re gonna come out much harder, we’re not going to score as many goals as we did the previous game. It’ll come down to a lot more defence.”
For the players, no question of taking the Sea Dogs too lightly.
“The stakes are a lot higher, we’re both playing’ for our lives.” said captain Dylan Strome. “Hopefully we can follow up on what we did against them last time. It’s obviously going to be a way different game ”
Tonight’s game will be broadcasted on Sportsnet and TVA Sports, puck drop set at 7:00 pm. You can follow the game on our Twitter account and on CHLlive.com.
A text by Frédéric Damiani