Maksimov makes his mark early with IceDogs
Kevin Bahl of the Ottawa 67’s crashes into, and almost over, the boards in Thursday night’s game against the Niagara IceDogs in OHL action at Meridian Centre in St. Catharines. (Julie Jocsak/St. Catharines Standard/Postmedia Network)
Pre-scouting is huge in hockey. It’s grown so big that even minor hockey teams look to video to learn the tendencies of their opponents.
That’s why it was no surprise that Kirill Maksimov made an immediate impact, and paid immediate dividends, for the Niagara IceDogs Thursday night.
Maksimov, acquired in a trade with Saginaw on Tuesday, sparked a struggling IceDogs powerplay with a goal and an assist as the Dogs downed the Ottawa 67’s 6-3 in front of 4,543 fans at Meridian Centre.
“That’s why we traded for him, 100 per cent,” said Niagara head coach Dave Bell when asked about putting Maksimov on the powerplay.
“Maxi is a pretty heady guy, and a real skilful guy that kind of goes to good areas and that opens up seems.
“We knew in his draft year watching tape on him he’s a skilly, skilly guy — that’s his game, and that’s why we got him.”
Maksimov’s powerplay goal tied the game at one 3:05 into the game. And the IceDogs would never look back.
“It feels good to score in my first game,” said a smiling Maksimov, who played his bantam and midget hockey with the Toronto Jr. Canadiens.
“We have to continue to build on our powerplay every game.”
As for how he sees himself as a hockey player, Maksimov prefers the non-selfish approach.
“I think I’m more of playmaker. I like to score goals, but I like to make good plays and help my (teammates) get better, and score goals.”
Johnny Corneil’s empty-net goal late gave him his first career hat trick, while Ben Jones finished with four points on two goals and two assists. Captain Ryan Mantha chipped in with three helpers and goaltender Stephen Dhillon made 43 stops.
“We implemented a bit of a D-zone (defensive) change four of five games ago, and the shots got up there tonight, but I think their (opponents) secondary and grade-A chances have gone down. I’m really happy with that,” Bell said.
“And offensively to get six, that’s big for this team.”
IceDogs 6 67’s 3
Standard Star of the Game: IceDogs forward Johnny Corneil with his first career OHL hat trick.
For Niagara: Corneil 3 (15) Ben Jones 2 (10) Kirill Maksimov (7 and first as an IceDog)
For Ottawa: Tye Felhaber 2 (11) and Sasha Chmelevski (16).
Game stats: Shots on goal by the IceDogs on Leo Lazarev (41); by the 67’s on Stephen Dhillon (46). Penalty Minutes: Niagara (13); Ottawa (15). Powerplays: IceDogs: 2-for-4; 67’s 1-for-4
Up Next: The IceDogs welcome Flint Friday night. Puck drop at Meridian Centre is 7 p.m.
Dog Biscuits: Pavel Demin and Justin MacPherson were scratched for Niagara . . .Overage forward Justin Brack had three shots on goal, a penalty and went 6-for-14 on faceoffs in his IceDogs debut . . .Willy Lochead earned a split decision over Ottawa captain Travis Barron in a first-period fight . . . 67’s forward Kody Clark is the son of former Toronto Maple Leafs great Wendel Clark, who was in attendance Thursday night.