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Majors muzzle Ice Dogs in series opener

By: Kathryn Jean

MISSISSAUGA – It all caught the Niagara Ice Dogs by surprise as the Mississauga St. Michael’s Majors skated to a 3-0 victory to lead the Eastern Conference Final series 1-0. The win marks the Majors’ 19th straight victory starting from a 6-1 regular season win over the Belleville Bulls back on February 27th. JP Anderson was solid in nets and picked up his 4th shutout of the season by setting aside all 23 shots fired his way.

The Majors opened the scoring 48 seconds in to the first period as Jordan Mayer got the puck past Mark Visentin. Standout European import, Maxim Kitsyn made a great individual effort on the play obtaining control of the puck in front of the net before passing it back to Mayer. Devante Smith-Pelley made it 2-0 for the Majors after scoring on the sharp angle with 6 minutes remaining in the opening frame.

The quick opening goal and 2-0 lead deflated the Ice Dogs. They were not able to recover against the defensive-minded Majors team. The Majors dominated the play for the majority of the game outskating the young Ice Dogs defense and winning the battles in front of the net.

Halfway through the second period Jamie Wise gets a hold of a rebound and shoots the puck short side and in past Visentin to put the Majors up by a score of 3-0.

Despite having the #1 ranked powerplay in the OHL playoffs, the Ice Dogs were unable to capitalize on their 5 powerplay chances. The Majors defensive core did a great job of shutting down the Ice Dogs’ usual powerplay point leaders Andrew Agozzino and Freddie Hamilton. This did not come to a surprise to the Majors’ faithful as the team has been ranked #1 on the penalty kill for the OHL playoffs.

In an effort to spark a fire under his team, Ryan Strome – an unlikely candidate – dropped the mitts with Dylan DeMelo late in the second period. The Ice Dogs showed some life in the third period creating a ton of chances even strength, but were unable to finish. JP Anderson continued his dominance improving his record to 6-0 and 4 goals against vs the Niagara Ice Dogs.

Game 2 is Thursday night when the Ice Dogs will look to even up the series in front of a home crowd at the Gatorade Garden City Complex in Niagara. Puck drops at 7:05pm.

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