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Sea Dogs establish team record for wins, points

by Mike G. Morreale
The Saint John Sea Dogs, the top-ranked team in the Canadian Hockey League for 13 straight weeks, established a new team record for wins and points Thursday in pretty dramatic fashion.

2011 Entry Draft-eligible prospects Tomas Jurco and Jonathan Huberdeau each scored in the shootout to give the Sea Dogs a 3-2 victory against the Rimouski Oceanic. Jurco, who has made a name for himself this season with his unbelievable poise and pizzazz in the shootout, scored off a nifty backhand before Huberdeau closed it out with a speed rush and tuck underneath Oceanic goalie Morgan Clark (29 saves).

The club improved to 54-6-1-2, setting a new team record for wins and points (111) and keeping alive hope of establishing a new Quebec Major Junior Hockey League record for wins in a season. With only five games remaining, including Friday's meeting with the Acadie-Bathurst Titan, the Dogs could best the record of 58 victories set by Sorel Eperviers in 1973-74 and matched by the Trois-Rivieres Draveurs in 1978-79.

Huberdeau scored his team-leading 39th goal -- along with his franchise-record 98th point -- with just 1:50 left in regulation on a deflection in front. Rimouski would square the contest at 2-all with just 21 seconds left in regulation when Patrick Delisle-Houde fired a loose puck through a crowd and past Sea Dogs goalie Mathieu Corbeil (28 saves).

There's a good possibility as many as four players from the Sea Dogs could be selected in the opening round of the 2011 Entry Draft on June 24 at Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul, Minn. Those players include Huberdeau, the No. 4-ranked North American skater on NHL Central Scouting's mid-term list; No. 9 Nathan Beaulieu; No. 12 Zack Phillips; and No. 24 Tomas Jurco, who is 4-for-5 in shootout attempts this season. Jurco led the QMJHL with 9 shootout goals on 11 chances as a rookie in 2009-10.

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