IceDogs roll over Colts on home ice
Akil Thomas earns first-star honours with five-point night against Barrie
Akil Thomas recorded his second five-point game of the season as the Niagara IceDogs rolled over the Barrie Colts 7-2 Thursday night at Meridian Centre in St. Catharines.
Thomas, a 2018 second-round draft pick of the Los Angeles Kings, said a hard week of practice that emphasized on special teams was key in the IceDogs victory.
Niagara went 3-for-6 with the man advantage.
“All week I felt really good in practice," said Thomas, who now has 3 goals and 10 assists on the season.
“I think this week we worked on special teams more than we ever had worked on them before in my two years. We really focused on having a good special teams this weekend, and obviously a good start here so far.”
In fact the three stars on the night — Thomas, first; Kirill Maksimov, second; and Ivan Lodnia, third — combined for 12 points as Niagara improved to 4-2-1-0 on the season.
Maksimov’s four-point game gives him 152 career Ontario Hockey League points and ties him with Thomas for the team lead this season at 13.
Lost in the lopsided win was a stop Stephen Dhillon made in the opening minute of the game robbing OHL leading scorer Ryan Suzuki with a paddle save.
“It was huge,” said IceDogs head coach Billy Burke. “Even though he’s a goalie, he’s a fifth-year guy, a veteran, a leader for us, and that save energized our bench.
“If that goes in, who knows how this game goes."
“That save woke us up for sure,” Thomas said. “They (Barrie) were kind of taking it to us, and after that save we kind of just woke up and we took it to them, so I think
byk, in his 15th year coaching girls hoops at Saint Michael.
Denis Morris, which qualified for the consolation semifinals as the wild card after losing to the Eden Flyers in the second round, defeated the Jean Vanier Lynx 36-25 in one of four games played Friday at Niagara College.
The Reds weren’t expecting to return to the court so quickly after losing to Eden.
“I got the call at 7 o’clock and I had to rally the team and girls had to switch shifts to make it possible we could be here,” head coach Stefanie DeMizio said. “And we did what we could and we put up a great performance.”
Leading scorers for Denis Morris were Jordyn Britton, 11; Lexxus Bell, 10; and Masyn Kwinecki, 6. Corrynn Parker topped Vanier with 15.
Vanier assistant coach Tricia Poulin said the Lynx are learning they need to outwork their opponents. “Yesterday, when we were down – we were down the whole game until the fourth quarter – and when they came back to beat Centennial, that was all from outworking the other team.”
Saint Paul’s loss in the elimination game gave the Patriots a lot to think about as they prepare for the rematch on their home court.
Livia Piccirillo, with 12 points; and Juliana Fabiano, with 11; also scored in double digits for Saint Paul.
Bernd.Franke@ niagaradailies.com 905-225-1624 | @ TribSportsDesk