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Friday the 13th.......Ice Dog Style

by Susan Tromanhauser
Just when the Niagara Ice Dogs thought they finally had the pieces of the puzzle together, Friday the thirteenth struck and proved to be an unlucky day for the a team filled with bad luck this season. With players returning late from NHL camps, injuries, suspensions, the World Junior tournament and more injuries, the Ice Dogs finally got their team back together as whole unit. But in one game against the Sudbury Wolves, the Dogs lost three key players.

Dougie Hamilton:
This week Hamilton was suspended for ten games as supplemental discipline for a check to the head of Sudbury captain Michael MacDonald who suffered a concussion on the play. The OHL imposed the ten game supplemental discipline after deciding Hamilton’s hit was a check to the head on a vulnerable player that resulted in an injury.
Niagara Coach Marty Williamson felt the suspension was “Unfortunate. It’s one of those hits the league is trying to get rid of and Dougie would be the first guy to say he’d like to have it back. Dougie’s not a dirty player, he plays the game clean, but there was a player injured and the league is making a bold statement about what they do in those situations.”
Williamson had earlier this season predicted it would be difficult for Hamilton due to his size to avoid a hit such as this. “It’s hard for big guys and you have to watch those hits coming across the middle. …….if a guy ducks on you, it’s awfully tough.”

Ryan Strome
Ryan Strome’s adventure in Sudbury got him a goal, an assist and a broken nose. In a scrum around the net, Brody Silk punched Strome in the face resulting with much blood on the ice and ending Strome’s night early.
There is controversy whether Silk should receive supplemental discipline as many believe fights happen in hockey and Strome was just as guilty for throwing punches. Others feel this was not a fight but rather Strome was punched from behind when he was not expecting it. Williamson believes it was a “bad punch. Fights happen, this wasn’t a fight, it was a scrum.” The only opinion that matters of course is the OHL as they handed out a twelve game suspension to Silk.
The other controversy talked about in the twitterverse was the fact Strome played the game against Barrie on Saturday night with a broken nose only to return home and discover on Monday the injury was much more severe, including additional broken facial bones. William assures there is no controversy. “(Strome) had a broken nose….we were told he could get it looked after Monday. Ryan wanted to play and felt good. …if this was play off time he could possibly be playing today. We are going to give him time to heal.” Williams also assures the surgery went well and “(Strome) looks better than ever.” Strome is expected to be out for one month.

Brock Beukeboom
After sitting out the first six weeks of the season with two cracked bones in his back, Brock Beukeboom suffered his fourth concussion against the Wolves. Again the confident Williams assures the concussion is not too worrisome as Beukeboom’s parents report the concussion is not as serious as previous ones he has suffered and he appears to be on his way to full recovery.
On top of missing three players in one game Joel Wigle is still out with a shoulder injury and many other players are not 100% due to a flu bug going through the Ice Dog dressing room.
In order to fill out the player roster, the Dogs turned to the St. Catharines Junior B Falcons many times this year. However, the “B” roster is getting slim as well. Broderick Kelly has already played nine games with the Ice Dogs and one more game will mean he is no longer eligible to play with the Falcons. Jimmy Sheehan is out with an ankle injury. The Ice Dogs have now turned to Falcons' Brad Col to bolster the defense.

Amid this upheaval the Ice Dog coach remains calm, insisting everything will be all right. Williamson insists “these things happen over a 68 game schedule” When asked how the Dogs will go forward in the wake of the bad luck his quick response is “Keep trying to win hockey games.”

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