The Saint John Sea Dogs (21-23-1-0) take on the Gatineau Olympiques (16-24-3-0) on Wednesday night at TD Station at 7pm, for their second meeting of the season. Saint John had a convincing win over the Olympiques back on December 4th at the Centre Robert-Guertin, 8-4. Gatineau currently finds themselves in 17th place, two points out of a playoff spot but have been playing well post Christmas break–amassing wins in four straight and going 9-1 in their last 10 games.
Saint John is coming off back-to-back losses to their rivals, the Moncton Wildcats but still hold a playoff position in the overpowered Eastern Conference. The Sea Dogs can leap frog the Baie-Comeau Drakkar into 6th place with a win on Wednesday night.
With only 23 games left in the regular season, the importance of every game has increased. Sea Dogs forward Maxim Cajkovic says the team is staying calm and not giving into the pressures of an approaching post season.
“Every game is very important and they are getting even more important the closer we are to the end of regular season. But I wouldn’t say we are feeling under pressure. We are trying to play our best game every game and enjoy it as much as we can. If we keep doing that the results will come.”
Against a Gatineau team that is surging as of late, Cajkovic believes focus and controlling the tempo will be the keys to the game.
“We can stop them by following our system properly, because we saw it worked last time we played these guys. We can’t underestimate this team they have wins in their last four games and will be flying out there, so we will have to be focused and dictate the tempo of the game from the beginning.”
Special teams will be am important part of the match-up as Saint John’s 4th ranked power play (22.2%) will look to take advantage of Gatineau’s 18th ranked penalty kill (73%). Saint John’s penalty kill has struggled at times this season but has seen noticeable improvement, increasing from 68% to 76.3% since November.
The Olympiques are powered by a pair of forwards, rookie Zachary Dean and Belgium’s Metis Roelens. Dean is coming off a hat trick performance in an 8-3 win over Halifax on Sunday, while Roelens has points in six of his last eight.
For Saint John, the work load has been shared up and down the lineup with every line contributing on the scoreboard but the standout player post Christmas has been goaltender Zachary Bouthillier. Bouthillier started the the post Christmas break with a career high 43 save shutout in a 1-0 win over Moncton, before repeating the no-no against the Baie-Comeau Drakkar on January 12th. Take away one rough start against Cape Breton and Bouthillier has shined with a .923 save percentage over his last 10 starts.
Tickets for tonight’s game are available at the TD Station Box Office or online.
🏟 TD Station
📺 Rogers TV
🎟 Purchase tickets online – https://bit.ly/2SZJtQT
👨👩👧👦 Grab a Gemtec Family Pack and save! 4 tickets (minimum two children) and 4 small popcorn for $39.99+tax – visit the box office for details.
🍺 Visit the Moosehead Light Ice Bar and grab drinks/food you can’t get anywhere else in the arena. No additional ticket/fee – you just need your game ticket! (Must be 19+)