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Old 11-16-2021, 09:56 AM
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Default Niagara IceDogs + and -

Borrowing the idea from CogecoTV’s weekly program “IceDogs Xtra”, here are my early season pluses and minuses…

At the 20% mark of the season…

PLUS

+ Cam Peters!

+ Notwithstanding a couple of uncharacteristic off-nights nights, Tucker Tynan has given the IceDogs a chance to win the majority of the games thus far - and for a team that often had 10 rookies in the lineup, you can’t ask for much more than that.

+ Mason Howard. Along with solid play in the defensive zone, fearless PK shot blocking, Howard has the attention of every player in the league with his ability to hit like a freight train.

+ The emergence of both Dakota Betts and Landon Cato. Betts and Cato are contributing offensively, defensively, on special teams and providing this young IceDogs team a strong physical presence.

+ The three rookie D-man don’t play like rookies. Of course, a few expected mistakes each game, but all three have demonstrated a lot of skill and confidence in high pressure situations. It's still early, but my first impression - it will not take long for Alec Leonard to develop into one the league’s elite defenceman!

+ Since they were put together, the line of Gushchin, Uberti and Butler win the majority of their shifts and despite spending way too much time in the penalty box and press box (see minuses below) – the three have combined for 16 goals in the limited time they have actually been on the ice together.

+ OHL history has shown that only 14 games is too small a sample size to define a rookie, as every player’s learning curve, development, maturation and skill set are uniquely different. It’s fair to say that each one of the 7 rookie forwards have shown some level of inconsistency, but also have shown themselves to be highly skilled players that in time will be part of strong core and bright future. The two players furthest along, that shouldn’t be of any surprise, are the 04 1st rounders - Pano Fimis and Aidan Castle.

+ Fan support has been outstanding and those attending games have been entertained (most nights) by this new, young and exciting group of players.


MINUS

- The necessity of playing Tucker has left Rozey and Costanzo on the bench. It wouldn’t be so much a minus if Joey Costanzo was perhaps playing regularly in Jr B this season.

- Gushchin, Uberti and Butler take way too many unnecessary penalties (suspensions). They need to be on the ice, together for their 20+ shifts consistently. So much of the game’s momentum is lost when they are in the box and not on the ice together.

- Isaac Enright, along with his bad moments, has also had good moments – so he just need to regain his confidence and find consistency in his game. His passing, hockey IQ and defensive zone coverage were his strengths in his rookie year. He is too talented to not figure this out. So perhaps, that old school slugfest might be just what he needed to turn it around.

- Power play (1st unit).

- Unnecessary offensive zone penalties (and just penalties in general).

- Concession stand prices (beer and popcorn).

- Not playing .500 hockey to this point. There were enough winnable games that it was possible.


…excited and interested to see what the next 20% of the season brings!

Go Dogs!

Last edited by Blacksox; 11-16-2021 at 02:50 PM.
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