Trade returning big dividends
Robertson nets hat trick, Paquette scores first goal for Niagara as ’Dogs win fourth in a row
A quick glance at the box score from Thursday night’s Niagara IceDogs game would likely tell you one story – Jason Robertson is one heck of hockey player.
However, if you look a little deeper into the IceDogs 6-5 win over the Saginaw Spirit, you’ll notice all six goals scored by the ’Dogs involved the two players Niagara general manager Joey Burke recently acquired in a trade with the Kingston Frontenacs.
Robertson tallied a hat trick and added two helpers, while defenceman Jacob Paquette scored once as the IceDogs won their fourth straight game.
It was Paquette’s first goal in a Niagara uniform.
“A lot of people know me as a shut-down D (defence), but obviously playing on a team like this we get a lot more opportunity to show our offence,” said the 6foot-3 Nashville Predators seventh-round draft pick.
“I haven’t seen my goal yet, can’t wait to watch it, but it was nice to score here.
“I just love playing here, it’s awesome. There is so much skill
here, it’s just fun as (heck).”
IceDogs head coach Billy Burke said Paquette is more than a stay-at-home defenceman.
“To be honest, we kind of thought he was a two-way defenceman a little bit,” Burke said. “He’s just so rock solid, and it’s nice for him to get a goal for us tonight.”
As for Robertson, he now has six goals and 19 points in just six games since arriving from Kingston.The Dallas Stars secondround draft pick is now tied for the league lead in points with 57, including 30 goals. That includes an Ontario Hockey League-best 13 tallies on the power play.
Niagara was a perfect 4-for-4 with the man advantage Thursday night, and Robertson scored all three of his goals on the power play.
“Everyone has skill on that top power-play unit, all future NHLers,” said Robertson, a Northville, Mich., native who leaves for Team USA world junior training camp next Friday.
“It’s just awesome to be a part of that, and for me coming in here and getting comfortable on the power play, I just fit in perfectly.”
Ben Jones also connected with the man advantage, while Lleyton Moore had the other goal for the IceDogs who outshot the Spirit 47-36.
Niagara led 2-1 after one period of play, and 5-4 heading into the third after blowing a 5-2 lead midway through the second period.
“We had that big lead in the second period, and they got a couple of goals back, so it kind of tested us, a little adversity for the team,” Robertson said. “It’s my sixth game here, but the first time for me to see how the team adjusts to it (adversity) and I think the team did a fantastic job.”
“He’s a great guy first and foremost,” Burke said when asked about the immediate impact Robertson has made with the IceDogs.
“He’s a great teammate. I can really see why his teammates would be attracted to him,” the coach said. “He comes to work every day and is always early and never the first one off (the ice). “Unbelievable impact.” Niagara now welcomes the North Bay Battalion Saturday. Game time at Meridian Centre in St. Catharines is set for 7 p.m.
Saturday night’s contest is the annual Teddy Bear Toss Game in support of Victim Services Niagara. Everyone in attendance is encouraged to throw a new or gently used teddy bear or stuffed animal onto the ice after the IceDogs score their first goal of the game. ’Dog Biscuits: Mason Howard, D; and Jonah De Simone, F; were scratched for Niagara. De Simone was honoured before the game as the IceDogs academic
player of the month for November. He is averaging 92 per cent in his Grade 11 and 12 universitylevel courses at Governor Simcoe Secondary School in St. Catharines … Cameron Lamour, G; Caleb Everett, D; Hayden Davis, D; Reagan O’Grady, D; and Duncan Penman, D; were out for Saginaw. Davis is a former firstround pick of the IceDogs … Both teams were perfect on the power play in the game: Niagara, 4-for-4; Saginaw, 2-for-2.
Niagara’s Jason Robertson celebrates a power-play goal in Ontario Hockey League action versus Saginaw Thursday night at Meridian Centre.
Niagara’s Jason Robertson (19) scores on Saginaw goaltender Ivan Prosvetov on Thursday night Ontario Hockey League action..