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12-03-2009, 04:41 PM
Pietrangelo off to national junior camp



Posted By BERNIE PUCHALSKI

Posted 9 hours ago

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Niagara IceDogs defenceman Alex Pietrangelo has been invited to take part in Canada's national junior selection camp Dec. 12-16 in Regina.
The St. Louis Blues have confirmed they will loan the defenceman to the team and the King City native will attend the selection camp.
Monday, Pietrangelo, was scratched from the lineup for the sixth straight game by the Blues and the ninth time in the past 10 games.
"It's tough because you hope that when guys get injured, that's going to be your opportunity," Pietrangelo told Yahoo! Sports Canada. "But (the Blues) do things for a reason, and I'm not going to argue with them. I'm going to keep doing what I'm doing and my time will come.
"You're playing at this level, so it's good. But in the same sense, it would be nice to get into games and test yourself and see where you're at."
Other OHL players invited to the camp were: goalie Matt Hackett of the Plymouth Whalers; defencemen Calvin de Haan of the Oshawa Generals, Ryan Ellis of the Windsor Spitfires and Shawn Lalonde of the Belleville Bulls; and forwards Stefan Della Rovere of the Barrie Colts, Greg Nemisz, Taylor Hall and Adam Henrique of the Windsor Spitfires, Cody Hodgson of the Brampton Battalion, Nazem Kadri of the London Knights, John McFarland of the Sudbury Wolves and Tyler Seguin of the Plymouth Whalers.
DOGS SEEK FOCUS
With a pair of games coming up this week against the hottest team in the OHL, the Colts, the Icedogs have no choice but to put the distraction of Chris DeSousa and Jay Gilbert leaving the team behind them.
"Obviously, we want guys focusing on this weekend and not what has happened," assistant captain Alex
Friesen said. "We need to get on a winning streak because we have a tough weekend
coming up." The team got together Monday night to discuss things and Friesen said the mood in the dressing room is still upbeat.

"We think we're getting close," he said. "We're in a lot of one-goal games and we knew that coming into the season.
"We're working hard in practice and our practices are up tempo. It's just a matter of finding that next gear."
After missing six games with injuries, the Niagara-on-the- Lake native has found the extra gear he had before his injury. Friesen went pointless in Friday's and Saturday's games before collecting three assists in Sunday's 4-3 loss to Oshawa.
"The last weekend was good for me, to get three games in three days. It does take you a little well to get back, even if you're practising."
MCCOURT RALLIES TROOPS
Like Friesen and the rest of the IceDogs leadership group, head coach Mike McCourt will play a major role in keeping his team focused on the games ahead.
"We had a very productive meeting (Tuesday) with the staff, Dave (GM Brown) and the players, and they had a chance to speak and have some input in the conversation," he said. "Right now, their biggest concern is taking that step forward and not letting it be a distraction."
With the departure of Gilbert and DeSousa, opportunity is knocking for some of the other IceDogs.
"It's a chance for guys to get some increased responsibility and command more minutes," McCourt said. "It will be an opportunity for the younger guys to step up a little more."
Among the younger guys who could enjoy an increased role are Andrew Shaw, Johnson Andrews, Michael Hasson and Matt Baldassarra.
"We're kind of at the bare bones right now, and it's going to give everyone a chance," he said.
Rookie right winger Andrew Fritsch skated Tuesday on his own, but McCourt expects him to miss at least one more week.
OFFENSIVE BOOST
Hasson gave the IceDogs a much-needed dose of added offence Saturday, potting a pair of goals in a 3-2 Icedogs victory over the visiting Ottawa 67's.
It was Hasson's second and third goals of the season and his third in the last seven games. The Ariss, Ont., native is a plus-2 player over Niagara's last nine games and the two-goal outburst should give him a needed confidence boost.
"More than half the game is the mental part of it and he has been working hard in practice," McCourt said. "And with that hard work, he's starting to show some results."
Niagara's coach believes Hasson is still finding his niche as a player.
"He's a fantastic skater and a big body, and he's starting to use his physical attributes a little more to his advantage."
The 6-foot-1, 195-pound Hasson was relieved to add some offence.
"I'm a skilled player, and it's what I expect to do," the 18- year-old said. "I expect to score goals and put up points for the team.
"Hopefully, I can continue to get more ice time to show the people that's what I'm supposed to do."
For the most part, Hasson has been happy with his season.
"I got injured there, and I was a little down and didn't have the confidence, but now, coming into Christmas, I have quite a bit of confidence. Everything is starting to come together for me again."
And using his size and speed to his advantage is paying dividends.
"I got moved down to the fourth line a little bit, and he (McCourt) told me what he wanted me to do," Hasson said. "I played that role for a little bit, but then as I got moved up, you have to start scoring goals and doing other things."
DOGGONE GOOD FEELING
Rookie rearguard Dougie Hamilton became the latest IceDogs player to net his first OHL goal when he scored Nov. 29 in a 4-3 loss to Oshawa.
Friesen carried the puck along the boards on a three-on- two rush and beat a defenceman wide before feeding the puck to Hamilton, who was driving the net.
"It was awesome. Right away I just screamed, 'Yeah,' and jumped up and down," the 16- year-old St. Catharines resident said.
The 6-foot-3, 180-pounder put the puck on the mantle in the family room.
The IceDogs' second-round pick has been pleased with his progress this season.
"I think I'm playing pretty good and developing, and I'm having lots of fun," he said.
UNIVERSITY HOCKEY:Brock forward Steve Mullin reaping rewards of hard work and patience
ICEDOGS THIS WEEK
AT BARRIE THURSDAY
Barrie Colts:First in Eastern Conference with a 22-4-0-1 record, including 10-0 in the last 10 games. Home record is 13-0-0-1 and road record is 9-4.
Local content:None.
Leading scorers:Luke Pither 20-19-39; Taylor Carnevale 12- 20-32; Alexander Burmistrov 9- 22-31; Alex Hutchings 14-16- 30.
Top goalie:Peter Di Salvo 17-4-0-1, .920 save percentage, 2.47 G. A. A.
NHL picks:LW Hutchings, fourth round, 93rd overall by Tampa in 2009; C Bryan Cameron, third round, 82nd overall by Los Angeles in 2007; LW Kyle Clifford, second round, 35th overall by Los Angeles in 2009; D Nick Crawford, sixth round, 164th overall by Buffalo in 2008; LW Josh Brittain, third round, 71st overall by Anaheim in 2008; D T. J. Brodie, fourth round, 114th overall by Calgary in 2008.
Preliminary NHL draft rankings in OHL:C Burmistrov, fifth-ranked skater.
Previous meeting:beat Niagara 5-4 in overtime on Sept. 19; beat Niagara 7-0 on Oct. 29; and, beat Niagara 2-1 on Oct. 31.
Top IceDogs vs. Colts:Alex Friesen 2-1-3; Chris DeSousa 1-1-2; Andrew Agozzino 1-1-2.
Colts vs. Niagara:Burmistrov 2-4-6; Pither 4-2-6; Hutchings 1-3-4.
SARNIA FRIDAY Sarnia Sting:Tenth in Western Conference with a 10-17-1-0 record, including 1-9 in the last 10 games. Road record is 5-10.
Local content:None. Leading scorers:Kale Kerbashian 8-15-23; Ben O'Quinn 7-10-17; Jordan Hill 3-11-14.
Top goalie:Adam Courchaine 5-9-0-0, .902 save percentage, 3.58 G. A. A.
NHL picks:RW Kyle Neuber, seventh round, 197th overall by Columbus in 2009.
Preliminary NHL draft rankings in OHL:No players ranked.
Previous meeting:Haven't played this year. Last season, Niagara was 1-1-0-0 against Sarnia.
BARRIE SATURDAY See above.
PRO DOGS
Following are former Niagara IceDogs players who have moved on to the pro ranks. Skaters stats are listed in order of games played, goals, assists, points and penalty minutes. Goalies are listed in order of record, goals against average and save percentage.
NHL Alex Pietrangelo, St. Louis
Blues: 9-1-1-2-6. Matt Corrente, New Jersey
Devils: 4-0-0-0-5 AHL
Luca Caputi, Wilkes-Barre Scranton Penguins: 21-9-8-17-27
Michael Swift, Lowell Devils: 20-5-6-11-19.
Drew Schiestel, Portland Pirates: 19-1-2-3-6.
Stefan Legein, Adirondack Phantoms: 13-4-0-4-13.
Sebastian Dahm, Peoria Rivermen: Hasn't played yet.
ECHL Scott Fletcher, Reading
Royals: 16-2-1-3-34. Jeremy Smith, Cincinnati
Cyclones: 6-4-1-2.45-.903.