With their biggest game of the 2016 – 2017 Canadian Hockey League season on the line with the loser heading home and the winner heading to the 2017 Memorial Cup semi – final on Friday May 26th, the Western Hockey League’s (0 -2) Seattle Thunderbirds took to the ice at the WFCU in Windsor, Ontario to meet the Quebec Major Hockey League’s (0 – 2) St John Sea Dogs on Tuesday May 23rd in major junior hockey league action.
1:14 into the opening period, Sea Dog Joe Veleno fires the first goal of the game with a unassisted goal to give St John a 1 – 0 lead. Jakub Zboril and Spencer Smallman set up Chase Stewart for the QMJHL champions at 14:04 of the middle stanza to bring the lead to 2 – 0. 15 seconds after Stewart’s goal, Mathieu Joseph sinks the Sea Dogs third of the contest with Matthe Highmore and Bokondji Imama adding the helpers on Joseph’s goal. Scoring fourth of the game behind Thunderbird netminder Carl Stankowski and third in 55 seconds was Smallman to increase the lead to 4 – 0 with Julien Gauthier and Veleno adding the contributors on Smallman’s goal. Cole Reginato sank the Sea Dogs’ fifth of the game with Seattle Rykan Toth between the pipes at 16:29 of the period with Simon Bourque and Nathan Noel notching the assists.
With St John’s second unassisted goal of the game, Imama sends the Sea Dogs into the second intermission up 6 – 0 at 17:13 of the period. Veleno registers his second goal of the game at 6:21 of the game when he finds the back of Toth’s net with Highmore and Imama setting up Veleno’s goal. Thunderbird netminders Carl Stankowski and Rylan Toth shared the duties in Seattle’s net with Stankowski turning away 10 of 14 while Toth stopping 11 of 14 shots. Sea Dog goaltender Callum Booth earned a shutout in St John’s 7 – 0 win and making 30 saves for the QMJHL champions.
The Sea Dogs will meet the loser on May 26th between the (2 – 0) OHL Erie Otters and (2 – 0) Windsor Spitfires who meet on May 24th with winner of that contest heading straight to the championship game on May 28th to meet the winner of the semi – final.