The Niagara Icedogs have been clipping along at a torrid rate lately. They have positioned themselves well in the playoff picture and are peaking at the right time of the season. This past weekend they were able to handle the Barrie Colts by a score of 6-5 and pushed around the Ottawa 67’s 8-3 (game sheet here: http://www.ontariohockeyleague.com/schedule/show/game/68587). When the dust settled at the end of the weekend, Niagara remains in fifth place in the conference with 6 games left on their schedule. Ottawa is only 3 points ahead (after losing 2 games in row on the road) and North Bay is 5 points ahead in third place (4 wins in their past 10 GP). Niagara is the second hottest team in the league right now with 8 wins in their past 10 starts – only Sault Ste Marie is better with 10 straight wins.
The Dogs survived the weekend without Graham Knott (5 goals and 1 assist in his past 2 games), overager Cody Payne (26 pts in 46 games) and steady D-man Brian Brosnan due to injuries/illness. Michael Aagard notched a hat trick on Saturday vs Ottawa – he had six points this weekend. Blake Siebenaler was in the right place at the right time and was a +6 in Saturday’s game. Team scoring leader Carter Verhaeghe had 2 goals pushing his total to 33. Brendan Perlini had 2 assists giving him 55 points in only 37 games played this season.
Niagara invades Erie on Wednesday March 11 – Erie has clinched their playoff position so they may be resting some of their bumped up players. This coming Saturday night the Dogs host the last place Sudbury Wolves (who beat Belleville on the weekend 3-0). Sunday they will host the Windsor Spitfires at 2:00 pm. The Spits are battling for the last playoff spot in the Western Conference and trail the Saginaw Spirit by one point. This game marks the return of Hayden McCool and Niagara-drafted defector Logan Brown. Brown has 43 points in 56 games this season and McCool has 28 points and a -18 rating in his 42 games with Windsor. Look for Josh Ho-Sang to light up his former team – he has 54 points in 43 games played with Niagara this season and recently notched his 200th OHL point.
For the final weekend of the regular season, Niagara will host Barrie on Thursday March 19 (current 3 game losing streak), Mississauga on Saturday March 21 (2 wins in their past 10 games) and complete the schedule with Connor McDavid playing his final game of Junior Hockey to a sold out crowd on Sunday March 22 at 2 PM.
Doggie Bits: Billy Jenkins needs 2 more to hit the 100 assist mark in his OHL career. Jordan Maletta started his OHL career in Windsor – notching 32 points in 93 games played. Brendan Perlini’s current rate of 1.49 points per game average is the best for this club since 2012/13 when Ryan Strome hit 94 points in 53 games. Carter Verhaegthe was 15/21 in the face-off circle in Saturday’s victory over Ottawa. Jordan Marlette left the game in the third period with a wrist injury – he did return to the game and is listed as day to day.