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Old 07-12-2007, 06:37 PM
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Default IceDog hopefuls take to ice in St. Catharines

[from Niagara This Week]

IceDog hopefuls take to ice in St. Catharines Rookie prospects, free agents vie for a spot at OHL team's main camp
By Robert Lapensée

Sports
Jul 11, 2007


NIAGARA FALLS -- Alex Friesen had his first taste of what it's like to play hockey at the major junior level last weekend and he definitely wants more.
"What I want to do is play at the highest level I can," said Friesen after a scrimmage with other Niagara IceDogs prospects at the Seymour-Hannah Complex Sunday.
Friesen was one of about 40 IceDogs rookie prospects and free agents hitting the ice for a two-day rookie camp.
The players worked out and scrimmaged in front of the Ontario Hockey League team's coaches and scouts, hoping to impress enough to be one of the 25 rookies invited back to the main training camp in late August.
Friesen, fresh off a tryout for the national under-17 team, said he thought he made the most of his ice time in front of the team brass.
"I played my hardest and I think it went pretty well," said Friesen, who was the IceDogs' 35th overall pick in this year's entry draft.
"It was my first taste of OHL hockey. It was fun."
Friesen, from Niagara-on-the-Lake, went to camp with minor hockey teammate Johnson Andrews, also from Niagara-on-the-Lake.
The pair were two of eight players drafted to various teams in the OHL in 2007 from the Niagara Falls minor midget AAA Thunder. Andrews was picked 86th overall.
"I've played with those guys for six years and it was real nice to see them rewarded for their talents," said Friesen.
Bryan Potts of the Niagara Falls Canucks, Mark Difruscio of the Port Colborne Sailors and Josh McQuade of the Welland Canadians were free agents who were invited to the camp.
Andrew Agozzino, the IceDogs' first pick in the 2007 draft from Mississauga, was also at the camp.
IceDogs head coach Mario Cicchillo said he was very pleased with what he saw on the ice over the two days.
"I think our scouts have done an excellent job," said Cicchillo. "We were successful today because our scouts have worked very hard. The scouts made my job and (general manager) Dave Brown's job very easy."
The IceDogs have six spots to fill when the main training camp begins next month with medical tests Aug. 27-28.
The IceDogs will play their first exhibition game Sept. 1 against the Erie Otters in Jamestown, N.Y., and will entertain the Otters at the Jack Gatecliff Arena in a pre-season game Sept. 6. The regular season for the IceDogs begins at home on Friday, Sept. 21 against the Mississauga St. Michael's Majors. Game time is 7:30 p.m.
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