IceDogs finish off pesky Generals

By Bernie Puchalski, St. Catharines Standard

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With nine National Hockey League draft picks on its roster, it was obvious the Oshawa Generals weren’t going to be easy pickings for the Niagara IceDogs in the first round of the Ontario Hockey League playoffs.

After underachieving during the regular season and earning the eighth and final playoff spot in the OHL’s Eastern Conference, the Generals dropped the first two games of the series against the Eastern Conference champions from Niagara. But the Generals fought back to tie the series 2-2 and headed into the third period of Saturday’s game in St. Catharines with the score tied at 2-2.

Led by a two-goal effort from New York Islanders draft pick Ryan Strome, the IceDogs won game 5 of the series 5-3 and then clinched the best-of-seven series with a 4-1 win in Oshawa Sunday night. Again it wasn’t easy, as Sunday’s game was deadlocked at 1-1 heading into the third period before consecutive goals by Florida Panthers draft pick David Pacan helped the IceDogs put away the pesky Generals.

Sunday’s win came as a relief to IceDogs head coach/general manager Marty Williamson, who didn’t want to play a deciding Game 7 Tuesday night in St. Catharines.

“We’re very happy,” he said. “I’ve seen too many Game 7s go up, down and sideways, and we wanted to get it done tonight.”

The Niagara IceDogs will now have four days to rest before opening the Eastern Conference semifinals Friday night at the Jack Gatecliff Arena. With two of the four Eastern Conference quarter-finals going to a Game 6 Monday night, the IceDogs’ next opponent has yet to be determined.


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