Penalties sink IceDogs

Ontario Hockey League

Ontario Hockey League

It’s never too early for a young OHL hockey club to learn a valuable lesson.

Sunday afternoon in Oshawa, the Niagara IceDogs discovered staying out of the penalty box is an excellent idea.

“Five on five, I thought we were fine, but they scored three power-play goals and in the second period 13 of the 20 minutes we were short-handed,” IceDogs head coach/GM Marty Williamson said.

The end result was a 4-1 loss to the Generals, which dropped Niagara’s pre-season record to 1-2-1.

“They were dumb penalties on us and it better be a quick lesson that you never survive in this league allowing the other team to put its best players on the ice when you’re trying to kill penalties,” he said.

Hunter Smith scored twice to lead the Generals while 17-year-old Welland native Matt Gillard netted his third goal in the last two games for Niagara. The fourth-roud pick in the 2012 draft is making a strong push to stay with the Dogs.

“He has been pretty consistent and I think he has battled hard,” Williamson said. “He seems to have a nice little touch around the net; they’re not fancy goals but they are good goals.”

Williamson also likes the fact Gillard goes to the dirty areas of the ice.

Assisting on the Gillard goal were Alex Mikulovich and Alex Protapovich.

Heading into exhibition games Friday in Windsor and Saturday at home against Kitchener, the IceDogs are getting closer to finalizing the roster.

“The defence is pretty set with eight or nine guys and we will have to get to the eight number because that’s what we are going to carry early in the year,” Williamson said.

Defenceman Aaron Haydon, who broke his foot at the team’s golf tournament, will have X-rays on the foot Tuesday or Wednesday and Niagara is hoping to have him back in the lineup for the start of the season.

At the forward position, there are still 17 players vying for spots.

“We’re going to have to make at least two cuts, possibly three, and that will happen after next week’s games,” Williamson said. “That’s where the constant evaluation is going on with those guys.”


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