No doubting Tomasino
IceDogs rookie Philip Tomasino proudly displays the puck from his first OHL goal. PHOTO BY: BILL POTRECZ
It’s been quite a week for Philip Tomasino.
Just a couple of days after being named to Hockey Canada’s roster in preparation for the World U17 Hockey Challenge next month, the rookie forward now has something else to celebrate.
Tomasino collected his first career OHL goal as the Niagara IceDogs doubled the Mississauga Steelheads 6-3 in an Ontario Hockey League game Thursday night at the Meridian Centre.
The IceDogs improved to 7-2-1 and have won three of their last four games.
The Steelheads fell to 1-8.
Tomasino, the IceDogs first selection in the 2017 Priority Draft, was predictably all smiles when discussing the goal.
“It was definitely unbelievable; anything I can do to help our team win,” Tomasino said.
Tomasino had four assists in his first nine OHL games before finally cracking the scoresheet in the goal department.
“Relief, probably,” he smiled when asked for his reaction to the milestone. “Anything to help us to the win and I’m just proud of the guys for helping me get that goal.”
Tomasino’s goal was a beauty as he beat a Mississauga defender and fired a laser past Steelheads goalkeeper Jacob Ingham.
“I was lucky enough to get the puck in a one-on-one situation and kind of just dragged it in and just shot it,” Tomasino said. “I kind of got lucky. There it is, my first goal.”
Tomasino, who made sure to retrieve the puck as a keepsake, has more than held up his own so far.
“The guys are a lot bigger and I want to get a little stronger, for sure,” he said. “I just want to be good in the defensive zone and that will lead to offence.”
Tomasino has a big fan in IceDogs head coach Billy Burke.
“That goal was very, very nice,” Burke said. “That goal was incredible skill.
“After that goal I thought his confidence went through the roof. He probably could have had three goals. He’s going to be a star and he should be oozing confidence with the under-17 (announcement) and the goal tonight.”
Tomasino has been performing on a line with Bradey Johnson and fellow rookie Andrew Bruder.
“That whole line, Bruder just gets better every day and Tomasino is the same way. Johnson is a guy that you can put up and down the lineup,” Burke said. “He’s (Johnson) is the hardest working guy in practice every day and doesn’t get much glory.”
Niagara built a 3-1 lead after one period and outshot the Steelheads 11-8 in the opening 20 minutes.
Kirill Maksimov netted the lone goal of the second to extend Niagara’s lead to 4-2 after two.
Oliver Castleman gave Niagara a 5-2 lead early in the third only to see Mississauga strike back seconds later on a goal by Keean Washkurak to make it 5-3. Elijah Roberts then added his first in a Niagara uniform to restore the three-goal lead.
Stephen Dhillon had another solid outing turning back 32 shots.
“We know we are fortunate to have one of the best goalies in the league and when there are those breakdowns, he’s got our back with the timely saves which is huge,” Burke said. “We really stress on the guys to play good team defence. Mississauga has some quality forwards and we wanted to make it a priority to not give up rushes. The guys did a good job of clogging up the neutral zone and creating some turnovers.”
Ice cubes: Jukka Schotter, Justin MacPherson, Joshua Dame, Ian Martin and Billy Constantinou did not dress for the IceDogs . . . Michael McLeod, Issac Walker, Nathan Bastian, Matthew Titus, Brendan Harrogate and Owen Tippett were scratched for the Steelheads . . . Several members of the Montreal Canadiens scouting staff were in attendance . . . Niagara entered the game with the No. 3 power play in the league at 26.1 per cent and the No. 2 ranked penalty kill at 90 per cent . . . A moment of silence was held before the game for singer Gord Downie . . . Video replays were unavailable on the scoreboard due to technical difficulties.
BPSN Star of the Game: IceDogs forward Ollie Castleman with a goal and two assists.
For the Niagara IceDogs: Kirill Maksimov (5); Danial Singer (4); Zach Shankar (2); Philip Tomasino (1); Elijah Roberts (1).
For the Mississauga Steelheads: Shaw Boomhower 2 (4,5); Keean Washkurak (2).
Game stats: Shots on goal: By Niagara on Jacob Ingham (29), by Mississauga on Stephen Dhillon (35); Power plays: Niagara 3-for-8, Mississauga 2-for-9; Penalty minutes: Niagara 10, Mississauga 20.
Up next: Home to Ottawa Saturday at 7 p.m. It’s Autism Awareness Night.