Mike Sanderson

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  • QMJHL’s semifinal preview: Rested versus restless in Q’s third round

    Louis-Philip Guindon has been perfect so far for Rimouski, boasting a 5-0 playoff record. The Oceanic open their series against the Val-d'Or Foreurs Friday. (Ghyslain Bergeron / CP)Louis-Philip Guindon has been perfect so far for Rimouski, boasting a 5-0 playoff record. The Oceanic open their series against the Val-d'Or Foreurs Friday. (Ghyslain Bergeron / CP)
    An age-old hockey question will be asked again this playoff year: would you rather come into a series winning late and carrying momentum? Or would you rather be well-rested and ready?

    Both QMJHL semi-final series feature teams that will attempt to answer these questions.

    All the favourites from the previous series advanced to the semi-finals in the QMJHL, but two teams took a heck of a battle to get here.

    The Val-d’Or Foreurs overcame a 3-0 series deficit over the Baie-Comeau Drakkar to defeat them in seven games in overtime. The Moncton Wildcats overcame a 2-0 series deficit to dispatch the Halifax Mooseheads in seven.

    The Rimouski Oceanic and the Quebec Remparts both have extended breaks coming into the next series, so both matchups feature a well-rested team. The long-standing battle of rest versus momentum carries on.

    The 2015 Memorial Cup hosts are still alive, handling the young upstart Charlottetown Islanders in a four game sweep after having trouble with the Cape Breton

    Read More »from QMJHL’s semifinal preview: Rested versus restless in Q’s third round
  • Foreurs make history while Garland, Wildcats bury Mooseheads in pair of emotional game 7s

    Foreurs forward Alexis Pepin was the hero in Val-d'Or's game 7 overtime comeback win. The Foreurs were just the fifth team in the history of the QMJHL to come back from a 3-0 series deficit. (CP / Ghyslain Bergeron)Foreurs forward Alexis Pepin was the hero in Val-d'Or's game 7 overtime comeback win. The Foreurs were just the fifth team in the history of the QMJHL to come back from a 3-0 series deficit. (CP / Ghyslain Bergeron)
    Finally, semi-final matchups are set in the QMJHL, and it took some heroics to do it.

    Alexis Pépin buried a 2-on-1 with Pierre-Maxime Poudrier to give the Val-d’Or Foreurs a 4-3 win in game 7 of their series against the Baie-Comeau Drakkar.

    The end of the game was marred by a fight between Baie-Comeau's Chad Pietroniro and Val-d'Or's Jeremy Fraser. The fight happened after the final buzzer while the Foreurs were waiting for the customary post-series hand shakes to take place. The Drakkar were apparently upset with Fraser's celebration while passing their bench on the game winner. They also reportedly took umbrage with a clip the Foreurs showed on the video scoreboard of goalie Philippe Cadorette smashing his stick during their playoff game last season which they also lost.

    Both teams left the ice without ever shaking hands.

     The Foreurs, who escaped getting swept in the series in double overtime in game 4, clawed all the way back to win games 5 and 6, and won game 7 Tuesday 4-3 on

    Read More »from Foreurs make history while Garland, Wildcats bury Mooseheads in pair of emotional game 7s
  • Yates, Sea Dogs agree to split in surprising move

    Ross Yates had a record of 46-60-6-7 in parts of two seasons behind the Sea Dogs bench. (SaintJohnSeaDogs.com)Ross Yates had a record of 46-60-6-7 in parts of two seasons behind the Sea Dogs bench. (SaintJohnSeaDogs.com)
    The Saint John Sea Dogs will continue their rebuilding efforts next season, and will have a new man behind the bench to coach their young prospects and first overall selection.

    The team and head coach Ross Yates have agreed to part ways Tuesday, according to the team’s press release.

    From the release:

    "Ross Yates is a man of integrity who was a true professional in all of his roles with our club," said Sea Dogs President Wayne Long. "We have very high expectations for next season and beyond. We just felt, as an organization, that we wanted to make a change."

    "I met with Wayne at the end of the year and we decided, mutually, that it was best to part ways and go in different directions," Yates said. "I enjoyed my time in Saint John and wish the team success in the years to come."

    Yates was a good company man who had to mold together a couple of mediocre Sea Dogs teams into something competitive. He got his start as an assistant to Mike Kelly in 2012, ultimately taking over for Kelly in

    Read More »from Yates, Sea Dogs agree to split in surprising move
  • Tigers, Remparts win game 2s in overtime, while post-draft bliss glows in Ontario: the coast-to-coast

    Calgary goalie Mack Shields, left, makes a save against Medicine Hat's Blake Penner during game 2 of their series Sunday. Shields would surrender an overtime goal to Tigers blueliner Matt Staples from center ice. (Larry MacDougal / CP)Calgary goalie Mack Shields, left, makes a save against Medicine Hat's Blake Penner during game 2 of their series Sunday. Shields would surrender an overtime goal to Tigers blueliner Matt Staples from center ice. (Larry MacDougal / CP)
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    WHL

    The Medicine Hat Tigers got the win on Sunday on a fluke – a shot from Tigers defenceman Matt Staples from center ice that got through Calgary Hitmen goaltender Mack Shields and in for the overtime winner. Series tied, but thankfully for Shields, game 3 is Monday. (Calgary Herald)

    The Brandon Wheat Kings are rolling, with a 2-0 series lead against the Regina Pats as the series shifts to the Saskatchewan capital. (Brandon Sun)

    Speaking of, Pats coach John Paddock will be inducted to the Manitoba Hockey Hall of Fame later this year, announced Sunday. Paddock had stopovers in Winnipeg and Ottawa as head coach in the NHL, and won a total of five Calder Cups in the AHL, two as a player and three as a coach. (Brandon Sun)

    The Spokane Chiefs are done, but they had good things to say on locker-cleanout day, as they overcame some steep odds with injuries in the middle part of the year. (Spokesman.com)

    Read More »from Tigers, Remparts win game 2s in overtime, while post-draft bliss glows in Ontario: the coast-to-coast
  • Bent roughs up Malatesta with questionable hit in Game 2 of Halifax-Moncton series

    Mooseheads forward Kelly Bent is no stranger to getting rough, with two suspensions and 15 fights to his name this season. (CP / Ghyslain Bergeron)Mooseheads forward Kelly Bent is no stranger to getting rough, with two suspensions and 15 fights to his name this season. (CP / Ghyslain Bergeron)
    It’s not all cheery for the Halifax Mooseheads, surprise leaders in their second round series with the favoured Moncton Wildcats.

    Mooseheads forward Kelly Bent, he of the rough and tumble variety, made his mark known in the first period of game 2, getting tangled up with Wildcat blueliner Zach Malatesta.

    Malatesta went to hit Bent at the Wildcats blueline, but Bent stood him up and they got entangled, leaving Bent with a hand free to handle Malatesta, take his head and appear to drive it squarely into the glass.

    You can watch the hit on the video below. Bent received two minutes for roughing on the play.

    Bent has been suspended twice in 2015, once in February for his role in a brawl against the Sherbrooke Phoenix, and once in March for his penalties in a game against the Acadie-Bathurst Titan. Both suspensions were two-gamers.

    Bent had 160 penalty minutes in the regular season, enough for third in the QMJHL, and he has 18 minutes in penalties so far in the post-season. The Mooseheads

    Read More »from Bent roughs up Malatesta with questionable hit in Game 2 of Halifax-Moncton series
  • No. 1 seed Rimouski draws tough Gatineau in the round of eight: QMJHL second round preview

    The Olympiques knocked off the no. 3 seed Armada thanks to their big and talented forwards like Valentin Zykov. (CP / Ghyslain Bergeron)The Olympiques knocked off the no. 3 seed Armada thanks to their big and talented forwards like Valentin Zykov. (CP / Ghyslain Bergeron)
    When you’re a team that comes through with 13 wins in 16 games to close out the season, teams will learn to take you seriously.

    That’s what the Blainville-Boisbriand Armada learned, taking on the sleeping giant in the Gatineau Olympiques. The Olympiques relied on their veterans and a well-seasoned coach in Benoit Groulx to send the Armada packing in six.

    Now it’s the Rimouski Oceanic’s turn to take on the Olympiques, and the Oceanic have been sitting a while, waiting. Can the league’s number one seed stomp out Cinderella, or will the shoe fit for another series?

    All series open up Friday night.

    (6) Val-d’Or Foreurs (35-25-3-5, 78 points) vs. (7) Baie-Comeau Drakkar (35-25-5-3, 78 points)

    Season series: Val-d’Or 2-0-1. Final Dynamic Dozen rankings: Foreurs 16th, Drakkar 33th. Prediction: Drakkar in 6.

    Series in a sentence: In a series of experience, the bigger team in Baie-Comeau should prevail.

    Why the Foreurs should win: The Foreurs outscored the Drakkar 14-to-7 in three games in the

    Read More »from No. 1 seed Rimouski draws tough Gatineau in the round of eight: QMJHL second round preview
  • Kelowna, Regina, Brandon and Rimouski move on to the second round: the coast-to-coast

    Leon Draisaitl and the Kelowna Rockets will move on to the second round in the WHL playoffs with their 5-3 win over the Tri-City Americans. (CP / Don Denton)Leon Draisaitl and the Kelowna Rockets will move on to the second round in the WHL playoffs with their 5-3 win over the Tri-City Americans. (CP / Don Denton)
    Combing all corners of the country and the blogosphere for your junior hockey headlines ...

    WHL

    Kelowna moves on to the next round after sweeping Tri-City, and Eric Comrie’s 66-save effort in the loss. (Castanet.net)

    Regina completed the sweep as well, defeating Swift Current 4-0 Wednesday to win 4-0 in games. (SWBooster.com)

    Brandon moved on as well, with an emotional five-game win over Edmonton, culminated by John Quenneville’s overtime winner in his home rink. (EdmontonJournal.com)

    Everett held back and buried their first good chance of the second extra frame to beat Spokane and go up 2-1 in their series, while the Chiefs had most of the chances in the extra fun periods. (Spokesman.com)

    One day after an emotional 8-7 win, Calgary made it 3-1 in their series with Kootenay, with a dominant 7-2 win in Cranbrook. (CalgaryHerald.com)

    Prince George took advantage of their home-ice in Game 3, doubling up Victoria 4-2 to win their first game of the series in their first home playoff game in

    Read More »from Kelowna, Regina, Brandon and Rimouski move on to the second round: the coast-to-coast
  • Dubeau not happy with Chicoutimi coach Jean’s rough, but expected, tactics

    Wildcats goalie Alex Dubeau is a five year veteran of the QMJHL and he's not happy with getting run by Chicoutimi forwards. (Ghyslain Bergeron / CP)Wildcats goalie Alex Dubeau is a five year veteran of the QMJHL and he's not happy with getting run by Chicoutimi forwards. (Ghyslain Bergeron / CP)
    Moncton Wildcats netminder Alex Dubeau is a veteran in the QMJHL. He’s played five seasons in the league, won a Memorial Cup with the Shawinigan Cataractes in 2012, and has played in the post-season in all five of his seasons.

    If there’s anyone actively playing who has seen it all, it’s Dubeau.

    He wasn’t happy with what he’s been seeing, and more importantly, feeling through two games in his team’s series against the Chicoutimi Saguenéens. The Sags upset the heavily-favoured Wildcats 3-2 Sunday which saw the series even up at one game apiece.

    “It’s flagrant,” Dubeau said about the frequent run-ins he’s had with opposing forwards so far in the series.

    “The refs have to know; it’s been two games now. We want the game to be fair.”

    Saguenéens coach Yanick Jean wouldn’t comment on specific game strategies, but did say that it’s the Wildcats who feel the pressure of the series. He added he was satisfied with the discipline of his team in game two, even though the Wildcats scored twice on

    Read More »from Dubeau not happy with Chicoutimi coach Jean’s rough, but expected, tactics
  • QMJHL first round playoff preview: Part 2 – the maybes

    Young forwards like Daniel Sprong in Charlottetown are the key to their success if the Islanders hope to make it past the first round. (Ghyslain Bergeron / CP)Young forwards like Daniel Sprong in Charlottetown are the key to their success if the Islanders hope to make it past the first round. (Ghyslain Bergeron / CP)
    Part 1 of Buzzing The Net’s first round QMJHL playoff preview – the top teams versus the bottom feeders – can be found here.

    Moncton-Chicoutimi have a bizarre schedule of Thursday-Sunday for the first two games, otherwise every other series starts off Friday-Saturday for games 1 & 2.

    (8) Sherbrooke Phoenix (36-26-2-4, 78 points) vs. (9) Charlottetown Islanders (35-28-1-4, 75 points)

    Season series: Tied 1-1. Final Dynamic Dozen rankings: Phoenix 29th, Islanders 30th. Prediction: Islanders in 6.

    Series in a sentence: You may as well flip a coin, but the Islanders are slightly bigger and slightly better on special teams.

    Why the Phoenix could win: If the Phoenix can get Daniel Audette, Kay Schweri and Tim Weiser clicking on the powerplay, not to mention playmaker Cam Darcy from the point, they could feast on a big Islanders team. Charlottetown is tough, but they take a lot fo penalties and play a lot on the penalty kill.

    They also have the dynamic Jérémy Roy, who could be an x-factor all

    Read More »from QMJHL first round playoff preview: Part 2 – the maybes
  • QMJHL first round playoff preview: Part 1 – contenders vs. pretenders

    Remparts shiny new netminder Zach Fucale will need to overcome a poor regular season and play like an elite goalkeeper in the playoffs if Quebec wants to enter the Memorial Cup through the front door. (Ghyslain Bergeron / CP)Remparts shiny new netminder Zach Fucale will need to overcome a poor regular season and play like an elite goalkeeper in the playoffs if Quebec wants to enter the Memorial Cup through the front door. (Ghyslain Bergeron / CP)
    While the OHL and the WHL have tidy conference series to get though, their partner in la belle province and all points eastward does the early-80s-NHL thing and lines all the teams up, 1-to-16, and matches them up. While it does insure that, most of the time, the best teams and best matchups are saved for later, it can lead to some stinkers in the early rounds.

    These series below are the top President’s Cup contenders and their first round opponents, who will largely try and extend a quick and painless death. Though upsets do happen to the top seeds in the first round, they are very rare.

    Moncton-Chicoutimi have a bizarre schedule of Thursday-Sunday for the first two games, otherwise every other series starts off Friday-Saturday for games 1 & 2.

    (4) Québec Remparts (40-25-1-2, 83 points) vs. (13) Cape-Breton Screaming Eagles (31-31-3-3, 68 points)

    Season series: Cape Breton 1-0-1-0. Final Dynamic Dozen rankings: Remparts 15th, Screaming Eagles 38th. Prediction: Remparts in 5.

    Series in

    Read More »from QMJHL first round playoff preview: Part 1 – contenders vs. pretenders

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