IceDogs roll over Colts on home ice

Akil Thomas earns first-star hon­ours with five-point night against Bar­rie

The Niagara Falls Review - - Sports - ROD MAWHOOD Spe­cial to The St. Catharines Stan­dard

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@ ni­a­ 905-225-1624 | @ TribS­port­sDesk

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