The Niagara IceDogs are opening this weekend’s road back to back tonight with a tilt against the Sarnia Sting. The ‘Dogs, well rested after a week of practices are looking to get back into the win column, and start another point streak to close out the first half of the 2019-2020 season.
Coming into this afternoon’s game, the IceDogs have collected at least a point in five of their past six games.
Tonight will be the first time they’re facing the Sting this season. Sarnia will be in Niagara in a week for the IceDogs’ annual Teddy Bear Toss and Ugly Christmas Sweater game.
The Sting come into this game having won two of their past six games. Most recently, they fell 5-2 to the Soo Greyhounds on Sunday. Sarnia is led on the scoresheet by Sean Josling, who has 42 points on the season. Josling’s 21 goals through 23 games is third in the Ontario Hockey League. Ryan Roth leads the league in game winning goals with 5, while Jamieson Rees is third in the league with 3 insurance goals.
Sarnia’s power play ranks fourth in the league with 27.3% efficiency, and their penalty kill is 16th and is successful 74.2% of the time. Comparatively, Niagara’s penalty kill ranks 14th with a 75% success rate, and their power play is ranked 10th, with 22.5% efficiency. The IceDogs’ power play will need to be on point tonight as the Sting’s Rees is third in the OHL with 2 shorthanded goals on the season.
Veteran defenseman Elijah Roberts has been targeting this weekend to return from injury, although that has not yet been confirmed. In his absence, rookie defenseman AJ Cook has seen an increase in ice time and responsibility, and he has certainly been taking full advantage of the opportunity. Seeing second pairing minutes, Cook has used his skating to jump into the rush, and to get back defensively when needed. IceDogs fans can look to Cook to help create space and time for the teams’ forwards.
Tonight’s game will be broadcast live on YourTV, and Newstalk 610 CKTB. Fans can also live stream the game on OHL Live, and follow live updates through the Niagara IceDogs’ Twitter.