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SERIES PREVIEW: Mississauga St. Michael’s Majors (1) vs Niagara Ice Dogs (3)

Radio: The Haze FM.ca (Mississauga), CFLZ-FM 105.1 (Niagara)

TV: Rogers (Mississauga, Niagara), OHL Action Pak SPO33 (Mississauga, Niagara)


The Eastern Conference Final teams have been set. Regular season #1 ranked Mississauga Michael’s Majors play host to the 3rd Eastern seed Niagara Ice Dogs. On paper the Majors dominated the Ice Dogs in their regular season series winning 7 of 8 times. However, playoffs are always a different story.





The two teams are fairly evenly matched. Both teams have a great offensive depth and can ice three solid lines. The Majors have 5 players with 20 or more regular season goals including the team’s leading scorer and Hurricane’s prospect, Justin Shugg with 41 goals. The Ice Dogs have 6 players with 20 or more regular season goals. Ryan Strome led the way in the regular season with 108 points which was good for 3rd overall in the OHL.





In the playoffs, Maxim Kitsyn has emerged as the Majors leading scorer. Since joining the team in the last half of the season, Kitsyn scored 26 points in 32 games and added 9 points in 8 playoff games. On the other side, Darren Archibald leads the Ice Dogs in the playoffs with 14 points in 9 games. Archibald comes into the series off a successful weekend scoring 4 goals and 6 points in 3 games over the weekend and being named the OHL Player of the Week.





The Majors had the least amount of goals against in the regular season with 170. The next lowest team allowed 197, a good 27 goals more. A lot of this success is due to the likes of goaltender JP Anderson and defencemen Marc Cantin, Brett Flemming and Stuart Percy – three of the better two-way defencemen in the league.





The next lowest team allowing on 197 goals in the regular season were the Niagara Ice Dogs. Goaltender Mark Visentin helped lead the Canadian U19 team to a gold medal win in the 2011 World Junior Championships. Visentin finished second in the league in goals against average and save percentage. In front of Visentin is top rated 2011 NHL draft eligible Dougie Hamilton who’s big size allows him to be solid on both ends of the ice.





Behind the bench are two coaches who were in this same position last season. Majors head coach, Dave Cameron, led his team to the Eastern Conference finals last season. The Majors did not advance as the Barrie Colts eliminated them in 5 games. Cameron was the head coach of the Canadian men’s team in the 2011 IIHF World U20 Championships who won the silver medal. Cameron is in his 10th season as an OHL head coach. He started his OHL career with the Sault Ste Marie Greyhounds in 1997 and moving on to coach the Toronto St. Michael’s Majors in 2000. He had a three year stint with the AHL’s Binghamton Senators and returned as Head Coach for the new Mississauga St. Michael’s Majors in 2007. Cameron’s only OHL team to miss the playoffs was his first season with the Greyhounds.





Ice Dogs bench boss, Marty Williamson led the Barrie Colts to the OHL’s J Ross Robertson Finals last season but ended up losing to a high-flying Windsor Spitfires team in 4 games. Williamson spent his first 6 seasons with the Barrie Colts with only two teams finishing under .500. All Williamson’s team have made the playoffs and only two teams failed to make it out of the first round.





HEAD-TO-HEAD





Mississauga 2 @ Niagara 1 (Mar 17 2011) Final

Niagara 1 @ Mississauga 10 (Feb 20 2011) Final

Mississauga 6 @ Niagara 3 (Jan 23 2011) Final

Niagara 5 @ Mississauga 3 (Jan 21 2011) Final

Mississauga 2 @ Niagara 1 (Dec 9 2010) Final SO

Niagara 1 @ Mississauga 2 (Nov 19 2010) Final

Niagara 1 @ Mississauga 3 (Nov 10 2010) Final

Mississauga 3 @ Niagara 0 (Nov 4 2010) Final





KNOWN LINEUP CHANGES





Mississauga St. Michael’s Majors



No major injuries





Niagara Ice Dogs



No major injuries





PLAYERS TO WATCH (regular season stats)





Mississauga St. Michael’s Majors



Justin Shugg – 41 goals, 87 points



Devante Smith-Pelly – 36 goals, 66 points



Casey Cizikas – 29 goals, 64 points





Niagara Ice Dogs

Ryan Strome – 33 goals, 106 points



Freddie Hamilton – 38 goals, 83 points



Andrew Agozzino – 43 goals, 74 points





TOP PERFORMERS





Vs Niagara Ice Dogs



Devante Smith-Pelly – 7 goals, 9 points in 8 games



Justin Shugg – 3 goals, 9 points in 8 games



Casey Cizikas – 3 goals, 7 points in 7 games



Maxim Kitsyn – 1 goal, 5 points in 4 games



JP Anderson – 5 wins, 0 losses





Vs Mississauga St. Michael’s Majors



Darren Archibald – 4 goals, 7 points in 8 games



Alex Friesen – 2 goals, 6 points in 6 games



Freddie Hamilton – 3 goals, 4 points in 8 games





NHL DRAFT PICKS





Mississauga St. Mike’s Majors

Maxim Kitsyn (Los Angeles Kings round 6 #158 overall 2010 NHL Entry Draft)

Justin Shugg (Carolina Hurricanes round 4 #105 overall 2010 NHL Entry Draft)

Rob Flick (Chicago Blackhawks round 4 #120 overall 2010 NHL Entry Draft)

Devante Smith-Pelly (Anaheim Ducks round 2 #42 overall 2010 NHL Entry Draft)

Brett Flemming (Washington Capitals round 5 #145 overall 2009 NHL Entry Draft)

Gregg Sutch (Buffalo Sabres round 5 #143 overall 2010 NHL Entry Draft)

Casey Cizikas (New York Islanders round 4 #92 overall 2009 NHL Entry Draft)

Eligible 2011: Stuart Percy (53rd in CS’ North American Skaters midterm ranking)

Eligible 2011: Joseph Cramarossa (63rd in CS’ North American Skaters midterm ranking)

Eligible 2011: Dylan Demelo (121st in CS’ North American Skaters midterm ranking)





Niagara Ice Dogs



Mark Visentin (Phoenix Coyotes round 1, #27 overall, 2010 NHL Entry Draft



Steven Shipley (Buffalo Sabres round 4, #98 overall, 2010 NHL Entry Draft)

Freddie Hamilton (San Jose Sharks round 5, #129 overall, 2010 NHL Entry Draft)



Jason Wilson (New York Rangers round 5, #130 overall, 2010 NHL Entry Draft)

Alex Friesen (Vancouver Canucks round 6, #172 overall, 2010 NHL Entry Draft



David Pacan (Chicago Blackhawks round 6, #177 overall, 2009 NHL Entry Draft))



Tim Billingsley (Phoenix Coyotes round 7, #189 overall, 2008 NHL Entry Draft)



Eligible 2011: Dougie Hamilton (7th in CS’ North American Skaters midterm ranking)



Eligible 2011: Ryan Strome (19th in CS’ North American Skaters midterm ranking)





SPECIALTY TEAMS





Regular season



Powerplay: Mississauga 6th, Niagara 3rd



Penalty Kill: Mississauga 12th, Niagara 3rd





Post season



Powerplay: Mississauga 4th, Niagara 1st



Penalty Kill: Mississauga 1st, Niagara 2nd





SCHEDULE





Game 1: Tuesday, April 19th at Mississauga, 7:05 PM

Game 2: Thursday, April 21st at Niagara, 7:05 PM

Game 3: Saturday, April 23rd at Mississauga, 7:05 PM

Game 4: Monday, April 25th at Niagara, 7:05 PM

Game 5: Tuesday, April 26th at Mississauga, 7:05 PM *if necessary

Game 6: Thursday, April 28th at Niagara, 7:05 PM *if necessary

Game 7: Friday, April 29th at Mississauga, 7:30 PM *if necessary

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