The Armada & Sea Dogs: Eyes on the same prize
Of the 16 playoff teams who set out to compete for the Rogers President Cup, only the Blainville-Boisbriand Armada and the Saint John Sea Dogs remain. The champions will be punching their ticket to the MasterCard Memorial Cup, which begins May 19th in Windsor, Ontario.
The Sea Dogs
After 2 rounds won in only 4 games apiece, the Sea Dogs needed 6 matches to defeat the Chicoutimi Saguenéens. The Sea Dogs roster is mature, with 18 players either 19 or 20 years old. Since September 22nd, they have racked up 60 wins in 82 games.
Thomas Chabot is their defensive cornerstone. #5 has earned 19 points in 14 games, including 6 points in the last 3 games against the Saguenéens. Defensemen Simon Bourque, Jakub Zboril will also be out show what they can do.
The Sea Dogs offense has been firing on all cylinders since the start of the playoffs. The Rimouski Océanic, the Val-d’Or Foreurs and the Saguenéens all fall victim, conceding an average of 4.7 goals per game. Mathieu Joseph sits atop his team’s scorers, with 22 points in 14 games. He will be backed up by Julien Gauthier, Matthew Highmore, Bokonji Imama, Spencer Smallman and Joe Veleno.
Sea Dogs head coach Danny Flynn already has a President Cup ring from 2010, when he led the Moncton Wildcats to the championship. Players Simon Bourque (Rimouski-2015) and Julien Gauthier (Val-d’Or-2014) have also hoisted the Cup.
Goaltender Callum Booth leads the QMJHL with his goals-against average of 1.85.
The Blainville-Boisbriand Armada are not afraid to face teams with a lot of offense. Joël Bouchard’s team managed to snuff out this season’s best offensive squad, the Charlottetown Islanders. Goaltender Samuel Montembeault gave up 14 goals in 5 games against the Islanders. The 20-year-old net minder is the centerpiece of the Armada’s success.
The duo of Alex Barré-Boulet and Pierre-Luc Dubois is in the best of the league. Barré-Boulet leads the QMJHL with 29 points in 16 games and Dubois follows in third place with 21 points. The two veterans have taken control of play since the fifth game against the Acadie-Bathurst Titan.
Antoine Crête-Belzile, Pascal Corbeil, TJ Melancon, Tobie Paquette-Bisson and Charlie Roy will be responsible for minimizing the Sea Dogs’ scoring chances.
The Sea Dogs have to avoid the penalty box in this series. The Armada have already scored 20 power play goals, for an efficiency rating of 35.7%. However, Saint John can boast of having the best penalty kill so far, with a success rate of 88.5%. The Armada have already conceded 15 short-handed goals.
After winning gold at the last World Junior Hockey Championships, Pierre-Luc Dubois (BLB), Thomas Chabot, Julien Gauthier, and Mathieu Joseph (SNB) will all be looking raise the QMJHL’s iconic trophy.