View Full Version : Good times By: Chuck Lafleur

02-17-2010, 11:17 AM
Good times
By: Chuck Lafleur
February 16th, 2010 @[NO EMAIL POSTING ALLOWED] 4:14pm

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times. With the Niagara Icedogs were very much in command, leading the Oshawa Generals 2-0 with just over 13 minutes to go in the third period, the lights went out in the Jack Gatecliff arena. For over an hour, the fate of the contest was very much in doubt, until, yes we can call it the "Miracle on Ice", power was restored and the game was completed, with the home side prevailing 3-1. Two things here....first, the Icedogs picked up a very large two points on a team they are chasing for a playoff spot. Secondly, WE NEED A NEW ARENA!!!!! The game was delayed just 20 seconds in when there was a problem with the glass inside the Oshawa blueline.Not again..........then the power outage. The Icedogs represent the city of St. Catharines and the entire Niagara region with class and dignity when they are on the road. This team garners attention to Niagara on a regular basis across the country and in Junior Hockey centres in the U.S. on the nightly sports network highlights and on radio and in newspapers the next day. In many ways, this hockey team puts the entire Niagara Region on the map. The arena, however, compared to ANY OTHER OHL FACILITY, and most others around the CHL (some rinks in the Quebec league notwithstanding), is an embarrassment .The team deserves better, the fans deserve better, Niagara deserves better.Bottom line is this....without a new facility, this team is gone.I know there are a number of dedicated individuals working diligently behind the scenes to make sure a new arena happens, and I understand it takes time, but the clock continues to tick in this, year 3 of a 5 year team/city agreement. And please, for the love of God and all that's holy, can someone explain to me again why a four pad was built a few short years ago in St. Catharines with only 12 hundred seats?
Anyhow, back to happier thoughts........Niagara went into Kingston on Friday night and salvaged a point on a late third period goal by Captain Andrew Agozzino. They dropped the shootout, their 5th shootout loss in 6 tries, but the good news is, shootouts don't happen in the playoffs. And believe me, this Icedogs team will be in the playoffs. It's just a matter of who they meet in the first round.So after the 3-2 loss Friday night, the team boarded the bus Saturday afternoon for the short jaunt to Belleville, in front of an emotional crowd of over 31 hundred at the Yardmen Arena. In light of recent events in the news from CFB Trenton, the entire Belleville/Trenton area was in shock that a prominent member of the community had been charged with heinous crimes. As was mentioned over the P.A. in the incredible pre-game salute to our Armed Forces, do not let the actions of one person in any way tarnish what our brave men and women in all branches of the Service do. God bless them.....
The Icedogs held on for a thrilling 4-3 win over a young and energetic Bulls squad,virtually ending any aspirations the Bulls had for the post season.
So now, it's home to Brampton on Thursday, then up to God's country, Sudbury and Sault Ste. Marie. After taking 5 of a possible 6 points last weekend, can the Icedogs do it again? Expect another playoff type atmosphere Thursday against the Battalion, the game in Sudbury on Friday night will go a long way toward determining playoff seedings, and any points from an always tough -on- home -ice Greyhounds team will be a bonus.
I had mentioned in a recent blog that barring a complete meltdown by the Sudbury Wolves and Oshawa Generals, Niagara would likely be battling Brampton for the 8th and final playoff spot in the East. Well a funny thing has happened in a few short weeks. Get this.....four teams who not that long ago were ahead of the Icedogs in the standings, have all gone 2-8 in the past 4 weekends....Belleville, who went to full rebuild mode last summer,Oshawa, who as of this writing have dropped 8 straight and miss Calvin DeHann greatly on defense, Peterborough, who just aren't the same without the injured Ryan Spooner and Austin Watson,and in my mind the most underachieving team in the Eastern Conference, the Sudbury Wolves, have all seen their substantial point leads over Niagara evaporate as the Icedogs picked up 12 of a possible 20 points in their past 10. And not to jinx them, but an Icedog player's Dad pointed out to me at the skills competition this week that Niagara is a perfect 6-0 on home ice on Thursday nights in 2010, against some of the top clubs in the OHL yet.
This hockey club is in a good place right now, young, enthusiastic, looking like their playoff bound, a full cupboard of draft picks available in May, and they are really tight as a group. You can tell that on the road, and you can tell that on the ice.By rights, in a rebuilding year such as this, they should be where Belleville is right now, or maybe even Sarnia.Guess someone forgot to tell the players that.....

02-17-2010, 12:32 PM
can someone explain to me again why a four pad was built a few short years ago in St. Catharines with only 12 hundred seats?

Thank GAWD they only put 1200 seats. I WOULD NOT watch hockey there! That place is a tomb! :eek: Zero excitement with the inner layout of that place.