Saint John scoring its way to the top of QMJHL

The Saint John Sea Dogs are on fire, winners of eight straight games to streak to the top of the QMJHL standings. The Sea Dogs efforts were recognized in the most recent CHL rankings, shooting up from eighth to fourth, eclipsing Rouyn-Noranda as the top team from the ‘Q’ in the rankings.

The winning streak moved to eight games on Wednesday with a 3-2 win over Acadie-Bathurst. While the Sea Dogs won, the three goals was the second-lowest offensive output of the streak for Saint John, the lowest coming in a 1-0 win over Chicoutimi on January 20th.

The Sea Dogs have made goal scoring look easy. Saint John has scored 40 goals over the course of the streak, 46 if you include the 7-6 loss the Cape Breton on January 15th, the last time the team has come out on the losing side.

Tampa Bay prospect Mathieu Joseph has led the way with 11 points playing in seven games during the streak, including five goals. He’s on a 27-game point streak going back to October 22nd, and has 61 points in 38 games, his 1.61 points-per-game the highest on the team. Fellow Bolts prospect Bokondji Imama, amidst a breakout year in his second full season in Saint John, has five goals over the eight games to up his season total to 32, which leads the team. Montreal prospect Simon Bourque has 10 points in six games.

Bruins prospect Jakub Zboril has 10 points from the back end, with one-goal, two-point performances in each of his last three games. Ottawa prospect Thomas Chabot, who was the defensive ace of World Junior runner-up Team Canada last month, has six points in six games over the streak and has 27 points in 22 games this season.

Saint John is currently second overall in Quebec with 211 goals, eight goals behind league leader Charlottetown. The Sea Dogs have done so with a strong, balanced scoring attack, with 12 players posting 20 points and 17 with at least 10. Just two players sit in the top 20 of the QMJHL scoring list, none higher than Matthew Highmore, whose team-high 73 points are sixth-highest in the league. The Sea Dogs are also the best in the league on the powerplay, clicking at 31 percent.

It should also be noted the Sea Dogs defend well, with the third-lowest goals allowed in the league at 137.

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Kicking Around the Minors: Khokhlachev, Griffith, Czarnik Continue Hot Streaks

A look at the the happenings from around minor league, college, and junior hockey over the weekend:

*The Providence Bruins returned home from a six-game road trip on Sunday, beating Rochester, 5-2. The Bruins, who play 10 of their next 12 games at the Dunkin Donuts Center, began the two-game homestand on a winning note after the 1-5 roadie.

*Alex Khokhlachev, sent down on Saturday after a one-game stint in Boston, tied a season high with four points, scoring two goals. The left-shot center is on a tear, with 7-9–16 totals in 12 games since returning from a hand injury at the beginning of December.

*P-Bruins leading scorer Seth Griffith, sent down along with Koko following a one-week stint in which he saw action in two NHL games, assisted on three goals, including both of Khokhlachev’s. He leads the Baby B’s with 30 points in 25 games.

*Both Griffith and Khokhlachev rank in the top 10 in scoring in the AHL, with Griffith (10-20–30) tied for sixth and Khokhlachev (11-18–29) tied for ninth.

*Austin Czarnik had three assists for the second time in three games. The rookie out of Miami (Ohio) has seven helpers in his last three games, despite having just one goal in his last seven. Czarnik has 18 points in his last 12 games.

*Providence had four powerplay goals in six opportunities. The Bruins have seven goals in their last 15 man-advantage situations. The powerplay unit is the best in the AHL, its success rate currently standing at 24.1 percent.

*Posting a minus-one rating, defenseman Tommy Cross was a minus for the fifth time in his last seven games. He has just one point since the start of November and four since putting up seven in his first six games of the season. The 26-year-old is on a one-year deal that pays $600,000, and will be a restricted free agent this summer.

*Matt Irwin scored 4:27 into the game to open the scoring, extending his goal-scoring streak to three games. The 28-year-old defenseman, in his fifth AHL season, is a plus-four since the start of December. Irwin, who was signed to a one-year deal by the Bruins over the summer and began the season on the NHL roster, playing two games, should be atop the pecking order if Claude Julien is in need of a blueliner.

*Colton Hargrove scored for a third consecutive contest with his tally at 9:49 of the second period. Hargrove has four goals and six points in his last three games.

*Malcolm Subban stopped 27 of 29 shots, shutting out the Amerks in the final 40 minutes, making 18 saves. He hasn’t allowed more than three goals in a game since Nov. 20, a streak of 13 games.

*In World Junior quarterfinal action on Saturday, Team USA advanced to the medal round for the first time since 2013 with a 7-0 win over the Czech Republic. Auston Matthews had a hat trick while Bruins prospects Brandon Carlo and Ryan Donato notched assists.

*It was learned over the weekend that Bruins forward David Pastrnak suffered a finger injury during the tournament, though Julien said the injury isn’t serious. Pastrnak hasn’t played since Oct. 31, missing nearly two months of action before a rehab stint in Providence preceded the World Juniors go-around. The 19-year-old has two goals and four points in 10 games this season.

*Pastrnak finishes the tournament with a goal and four points in foue games. Bruins 2015 top draft pick Jakub Zboril finished with a point. Eighteen-year-old goaltender Daniel Vladar didn’t see any action in the tournament.

*Defending champion Canada was eliminated by Finland, 6-5. The Fins will face Sweden, who beat Slovakia, 6-0, in its quarterfinal match. Jakob Forsbacka Karlsson had two points in the win.

*Jake DeBrusk posted a game-high five points (3-2) in Red Deer’s 10-0 win over Brandon in WHL play on Saturday night. DeBrusk has five goals and 10 points in four games since being traded to Red Deer from Swift Current. He had just a goal and three points in eight games leading up to the trade.

Kicking Around the Minors: Weekend Roundup

The preliminary round of the World Junior Championships kicked off on Saturday, and there’s plenty of Bruins representation in the 40th installment of the tournament, with seven players whose rights are controlled by Boston heading out to Helsinki.

Here are some highlights from the first weekend of play:

*The Czech Republic, seeking its first medal since 2005, is represented by the two most recent first draft picks by the B’s, in David Pastrnak (25th overall, 2014) and Jakub Zboril (13th, 2015). Daniel Vladar, who the Bruins took at 75th overall in 2015, is backing up Vitek Vanecek in goal.

The Czechs notched their first win of tournament play on Monday, a 2-0 win over Slovakia. Pastrnak, coming off a foot injury that sidelined him for two months, scored the winning goal with 3:02 remaining in the second period, with Juraj Siska in the box for tripping. Zboril, who was ejected in the first period of the Czech’s opener against Russia, a 2-1 loss, assisted on the goal. David Kase, a Philadelphia Flyers prospect, also was awarded an assist.

*Bruins prospect Jakob Forsbacka Karlsson scored a goal as Sweden hung a snowman on Switzerland, an 8-3 win, on Saturday. Karlsson, a 2015 second-round pick in his freshman season at BU, scored with 12:50 left in the second period to put the Swedes ahead, 6-2.

The stars of the win were brothers Alex and William Nylander, sons of former Bruin Michael Nylander. Alex, the younger of the duo, assisted on four goals while William opened the scoring 1:21 into the game. William was drafted eighth overall in the 2015 NHL Draft by Toronto. He has an AHL-leading 34 points (14-20) in 27 games for the Toronto Marlies. Alex is projected to be selected in the top half of the first round of the 2016 draft. His 49 points in 33 games leads the Mississauga Steelheads of the OHL.

*Team USA, who hasn’t medaled since winning Gold in 2013, opened the tournament with a 4-2 win over defending champion Canada.

With the Yanks down, 1-0, BC freshman and Hanover, Mass. native Colin White scored the equalizer with 3:27 remaining in the second, the assists coming from former BC recruit Sonny Milano and Arizona Coyotes prospect Christian Dvorak. Team USA went on to score three third-period goals to seal the win.

Team USA is represented by B’s prospects Brandon Carlo, Anders Bjork, and Ryan Donato. Also on the team is Chad Krys (BU ’98 commit), Brandon Fortunato (BU), Charlie McAvoy (BU), White (BC), and Ryan Hitchcock (Yale).

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The Providence Bruins emerged from the Christmas break with a pair of losses over the weekend, falling to Albany (NJ), 4-1, on Saturday before losing to Bridgeport (NYI), 4-3 on Sunday.

*Austin Czarnik scored the Bruins lone goal on Saturday, his ninth of the season. The 23-year-old now has 19 points in 24 games, ranking third on the team. Of the 18 players to appear in 20-plus games for the P-Bruins in 2015-16, he’s the lone plus player (plus-3).

*Seth Griffith factored in all three Providence goals on Sunday, with a goal and two assists. He now has a team-leading 27 points in 24 games. Sixteen of those points have come in the last nine games.

Griffith, who played 30 games for the varsity in 2014-15, could be setting himself up for a promotion. Stay tuned.

*Zack Phillips had his first multi-point game of the season, with a goal and assist. He had five last season, his first in Providence.

*Zane McIntyre got his first start in two weeks on Sunday. He turned aside 24 of the 28 shots the Sound Tigers sent his way, suffering his first loss since Nov. 22. The rookie out of North Dakota is 5-5-3 on the season with a .886 save percentage and 2.94 GAA.

*Former BU netminder Matt O’Connor, who out-dueled McIntyre in the 2015 NCAA semifinal at the TD Garden, got the winning decision for Binghamton (OTT) on Saturday night, a 4-2 win over Hartford (NYR), making 24 saves. The 23-year-old is just 3-9-2 this season, stopping pucks at a .881 rate, but has wins in three of his last four starts, allowing seven goals and posting a .936 save percentage.

*Jake DeBrusk, who the Bruins took with the 14th overall pick, made his debut with the Red Deer Rebels (WHL) on Sunday night, after being traded to Red Deer from Swift Current. DeBrusk scored a goal and assisted on another in the Rebels’ 5-4 win over Edmonton, though he was also on the ice for two of the Oil Kings’ four goals. The 19-year-old forward has 10 goals and 28 points in a combined 25 games between Swift Current and Red Deer.