Weekend update: IceDogs, River Lions, Junior B hockey
Colton Incze had a strong game Saturday to lead the Niagara IceDogs past the Sudbury Wolves. Photo by: OHL Images.
The Niagara IceDogs capped off a productive weekend with a point in a 4-3 shootout loss to the North Bay Battalion in Ontario Hockey League action Sunday afternoon in North Bay.
Coupled with a solid 6-2 win at Sudbury Saturday and an exciting 6-5 overtime victory at home Friday, Niagara picked up five of a possible six points in a span of two-and-a-half days.
The IceDogs, 26-14-4-2, lead the Central Division by one point over the Barrie Colts. The Colts own a game in hand.
Sam Miletic continued his torrid scoring pace with his 24th of the season for the lone goal of the first period.
After Andy Baker tied things up early in the second, Kirill Maksimov gave Niagara a 2-1 lead with his 27th goal at the 7:44 mark of the second.
The Battalion scored two goals in the first two minutes of the third by Luke Burghardt and Brad Chenier but Ben Jones tied things up halfway through the third with his 18th of the season.
Niagara dominated the overtime outshooting the Battalion 4-0 but came up empty.
It took eight shooters before Brandon Coe won it for North Bay. Maksimov and Adam Thilander each scored on their team’s third attempt before Coe won it.
Christian Propp turned back 41 shots in goal for the Battalion.
Stephen Dhillon made 25 saves for the IceDogs.
Niagara are at Ottawa Friday and Kingston Saturday.
Saturday in Sudbury, the IceDogs jumped out to a 2-0 lead after one on goals by Bradey Johnson (9) and captain Johnny Corneil (14).
Akil Thomas (13), Jones (17) and Matthew Philip (13) scored for Niagara in the second while Anthony Tabak replied for the Wolves.
Peter Stratis got Sudbury within three at 5-2 early in the third before Billy Constantinou fired his second of the season later in the period to wrap up the scoring.
Colton Incze turned in a solid effort in net for Niagara with a 29-save performance.
The IceDogs outshot the Wolves 34-31 and went 1-for-3 with the man advantage.
River Lions 103 Titans 101
The Niagara River Lions returned to action after a week on the sidelines and escaped with a 103-101 victory over the Kitchener-Waterloo Titans in a Canadian Basketball League game Sunday afternoon at the Meridian Centre.
The win improves Niagara’s record to 11-13.
The expansion Titans are 3-15.
River Lions coach Joe Raso explained the week off was used as a mini training camp.
“It was a week off but not your regular week (off). We kind of decided this was a point in the season where we had to renew ourselves, we had to make some changes and do some things. It wasn’t like your prep week.”
The River Lions have made a series of roster moves recently so Raso and the coaching staff felt the time off came at a perfect juncture of the season.
“It was a very new team that hit that floor today,” he said. “We put some guys in some real tough situations.”
Newcomer Carl Hall was dominant at both ends of the floor and paced the River Lions in scoring with 26 points.
“We have some flexibility with our bigs (big players) and they all do certain things differently,” Raso said. “We have some options but it doesn’t depend on what you do offensively, it depends on what you do defensively.
“The thing with Carl is we put him in some tough situations and we asked him to switch and he did a pretty good job for us so that was really important.”
Guard Joe Rocca, who has been sidelined with an injury, returned to the lineup and chipped in with 17 points, including four three-pointers.
“Joe can shoot and score and is a good offensive player,” Raso said. “We waited a long time to get his rehab and he’s a guy who had a good week of practice.”
Ronnie Johnson, a 6-foot guard from Indianapolis, joined the team this week and netted seven points in 11 minutes of play in his River Lions debut.
“He’s been with us for three days and I thought did a real good job,” Raso said. “He hit a big three for us in the second half.”
The River Lions also added 6-foot-8 forward Devonta Pollard from Porterville, Miss. Raso said Pollard joined the team Saturday and made it to St. Catharines in time for part of practice.
“He’s going to be a player,” Raso said. “We felt that it was worth activating him so we had some length and athleticism for a situation like that at the end of the game.”
Jaylon Tate also hit for 17 for Niagara while C.J. Aiken and Guillaume Boucard added 10 each.
Kevin Rogers had 23 and Derek Hall 21 for the Titans.
Niagara led 27-15 after one quarter and 45-43 at the half. The game was tied 75-75 after three.
“We got pushed today. That was a desperate team looking for wins,” Raso said. “I knew this was going to be a tough one.”
The River Lions are back in action Friday in Windsor and Saturday in London.
Junior B hockey
The St. Catharines Falcons reeled off their ninth straight win with a 5-2 victory at Fort Erie Saturday night at the Leisureplex.
The win improves St. Catharines’ record to 30-7-1-2. They lead the Ancaster Avalanche by one point for second place behind the league-leading Caledonia Corvairs.
“It was a good win for our guys. Back-to-backs are never easy, especially on the road, so it was good to take care of business,” Falcons coach Dan Fitzgerald said.
Carson Edwardson, Lucas Smilsky, Dakota Miskolczi, Liam Dunda and Zach Lawrence scored for the Falcons. Dunda and Lawrence’s goals were shorthanded.
Former Falcon Brady Lee netted both goals for the Meteors, who fell to 9-26-1-5.
Dillon Lamarche made his second consecutive start in goal for St. Catharines made 21 saves for the win.
“Lamarche had a great weekend. He’s been a great teammate and it was awesome to see him step in and be a huge part of two wins,” Fitzgerald added.
The Falcons are at Thorold Thursday and home to Welland Friday.
Corvairs 4 Canucks 1
The Caledonia Corvairs took care of the visiting Niagara Falls Canucks Saturday night at the Haldimand Centre.
Frank Pucci scored for the Canucks less than a minute into the game before the Corvairs regrouped and netted four unanswered goals by Eddie Schulz, Bobby Harrison, Andrew Burns and Jamey Lauzon.
Avalanche 2 Panthers 0
The Avalanche shut down the visiting Pelham Panthers Saturday at the Morgan Firestone Arena.
Nicholas Breault and Matthew Bridgwater scored while Ryan Dugas made 20 saves for the shutout.
Blackhawks 6 Panthers 3
The Thorold Blackhawks jumped out to a 3-0 lead after one period at Pelham Sunday afternoon en route to a 6-3 victory.
Francesco Gigliotti, Trevor Neumann, Spencer Blackwell, Griffen Fox, Mitch Britton and Daniel Rocco scored for the winners.
Thomas Young had two and Connor Brown one for Pelham.