The Second Season Begins
For the 10th straight season in St Catharines, the Niagara IceDogs are set to being the OHL Playoffs. In this decade of on-ice success, the IceDogs have been involved in three Eastern Conference championships, winning two, numerous semi-final berths and one very notable first round upset.
The 2017 edition of the post season begins in Peterborough Thursday as the heavily favoured Petes will take on David Bell's upset minded IceDogs. The Petes, first overall in the east, feature local product Dylan Wells in goal who concluded 2016-2017 with 33 wins, a goals against average of 3.07 and a .916 save percentage. The defence is a veteran group lead by Matthew Timms who had 11 goals among his 63 points. Up front, in addition to former IceDogs forward Chris Paquette, the Petes are deep with the likes of Nikita Korostelev, Zach Gallant and Steven Lorentz. Tops among the front line corps is Logan DeNoble and his 34 goals.
The IceDogs will rely heavily on goaltender Stephen Dhillon who was 13 minutes shy of logging the most minutes of any netminder in the league. Dhillon made over 400 saves more than any other OHL goalkeeper with a goals against of 3.46 and a save percentage of .914. The captain will lead a young "D" core as Ryan Manta is a 30 minute a game player who scored 17 times, with 10 of those coming on the power-play. Up front, Johnny Corneil leads a pack of "Pesky Dogs" with 31 goals, while Kirill Maksimov and rookie of the year candidate Akil Thomas each netted 21.
The Petes held and edge in the season series 3-1 with neither team winning by more than two goals.
610 CKTB is the place to catch all the IceDogs playoff action. It's game one Thursday night from the Peterborough Memorial Arena, the pre-game begins at 6:30.
Larry and Candice talk about the annual campaign and this year's finalists.