One thing everyone can count on is a different Saint John Sea Dogs team showing up Friday night in the Mastercard Memorial Cup semifinal.
Armed with a second wind, the QMJHL champs will face off against the OHL champion Erie Otters, a team that ran away with a 12-5 thrashing the last time the teams met on Monday.
“The last game we played them, we were embarrassed, frustrated the way we came out and the way the game ended up, but it’s in our hands right now,” said Sea Dogs star defenceman Thomas Chabot.
“All of the mistakes we made that last game are things we can control … We’re just going to focus on that and be ready to bring our A game.”
Monday’s loss seemed to be the kick in the butt the Sea Dogs needed since they responded with a 7-0 win over the Seattle Thunderbirds the next night, knocking the WHL champs out of the tournament.
Despite outshooting the host Windsor Spitfires 35-19 on Wednesday, the Otters fell 4-2 and failed to earn that coveted bye into the finals.
Friday’s game will feature five Tampa Bay Lightning prospects, one of them being Otters trade deadline pickup Anthony Cirelli, a Memorial Cup champion with the Oshawa Generals in 2015.
He’s played enough hockey to know how a team can respond after a beating like Saint John received Monday.
“We played them once and it probably wasn’t their best showing,” Cirelli said.
“I assume they’re going to come out a lot harder than they did the last game, so we’ve got to be ready for them.”
Erie enters the game with six of the tournament’s top 10 scorers, including Taylor Raddysh and Dylan Strome, first and second with nine and eight points respectively, most of which came against the Sea Dogs.
Mathieu Joseph leads Saint John with four points (two goals and two assists) while five teammates (Chabot, Spencer Smallman, Julien Gauthier, Joe Veleno and Bokondji Imama) have three.
Saint John started the tournament at 0-2 and only one other team, the 2009 Windsor Spitfires, have battled back from facing elimination in the round robin to win the tournament.
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