By Victor Fernandes Erie Times-News staff blogger
Staff writer Victor Fernandes has ice in his veins. Hockey – he plays it, coaches it and provides the region's best coverage of it.   Read more about this blog.
 Phone: 814-870-1716
Posts tagged ‘alex friesen’
Posted: September 17th, 2012

This week, I’ll break down all 20 OHL clubs division by division and unveil my predictions for the 2012-13 season. Today, let’s look at the Eastern Conference’s Central Division (listed in alphabetical order):

Barrie Colts
Coach/GM: Dale Hawerchuk/Jason Ford
2011-12 finish: 40-23-3-2, 2nd division, 3rd conference
Playoff finish: Lost to Ottawa in conference semifinals
Key players: LW Tanner Pearson (37 goals, 54 assists, 91 points; signed with Los Angeles), C Mark Scheifele (23-40-63 in 47 games; signed with Winnipeg), G Mathias Niederberger (29-14-1-2 record, 2.68 goals-against average, .918 save percentage, 3 shutouts), C Zach Hall (19-40-59), D Ryan O’Connor (8-28-36)
Key losses: C Colin Behenna (26-48-74), C Ivan Telegin (35-29-64; signed with Winnipeg)
Outlook: The continued emergence of standouts like Pearson and Scheifele, and the play of Niederberger in his first season, sparked the Colts to a 25-game improvement in the win column. Now these Colts could be tough to contend with this year.

Brampton Battalion
Coach/GM: Stan Butler
2011-12 finish: 36-22-3-7, 3rd division, 4th conference
Playoff finish: Lost to Niagara 4-0 in conference semifinals
Key players: RW Barclay Goodrow (26-26-52; Carolina prospect), G Matej Machovsky (24-13-0-4, 2.36, .902, 5 SO; Ottawa prospect), D Dylan Blujus (7-27-34), D Cameron Wind (2-19-21, +16), LW Brandon Robinson (15-9-24)
Key losses: C Sam Carrick (16-23-39; signed with Toronto), LW Ian Watters (16-14-30)
Outlook: Defense is the name of the game in Brampton, which has featured one of the league’s top defenses the past several seasons. Machovsky anchors this year’s unit, while a defense led by Blujus and Wind provide plenty of help.

Mississauga Steelheads
Coach/GM: James Boyd
2011-12 finish: 33-28-1-6, 5th division, 6th conference
Playoff finish: Lost to Barrie 4-2 in conference quarterfinals
Key players: LW Riley Brace (33-49-82), D Dylan DeMelo (7-40-47; signed with San Jose), C Kristoff Kontos (15-32-47), D Stuart Percy (4-30-34, plus-50; signed with Toronto), D Trevor Carrick (6-13-19)
Key losses: G Brandon Maxwell (33-22-1-3, 2.92, .913, 6 SO), LW Jamie Wise (31-17-48)
Outlook: This club has a new owner – Mississauga, Ontario, businessman Elliott Kerr, and nickname. But the Steelheads’ new goaltending tandem of Spencer Martin and former Otter Tyson Teichmann will have the biggest impact on this team’s success.

Niagara IceDogs
Coach/GM: Marty Williamson
2011-12 finish: 47-18-0-3, 1st division, 1st conference
Playoff finish: Lost to London 4-1 in league finals
Key players: C Ryan Strome (30-38-68 in 46 games; signed with N.Y. Islanders), D Dougie Hamilton (17-55-72, +37; signed with Boston), D Jesse Graham (4-37-41, +25; N.Y. Islanders prospect), RW Brett Ritchie (24-21-45; signed with Dallas), G Chris Festarini (16-10-0-0, 2.85, .904, 2 SO; former Otter)
Key losses: G Mark Visentin (30-9-0-2, 1.99, .926, 10 SO; signed with Phoenix), C Andrew Agozzino (40-48-88), LW Freddie Hamilton (35-51-86; signed with San Jose), C Alex Friesen (26-45-71; signed with Vancouver), RW David Pacan (29-35-64)
Outlook: Festarini faces serious pressure as Visentin’s replacement in net. But Festarini has plenty of experienced talent – led by Strome and Hamilton – in front of him that will help keep the puck out of the net as well as score a lot of goals.

Sudbury Wolves
Coach/GM: Trent Cull/Blaine Smith
2011-12 finish: 36-26-4-2, 4th division, 5th conference
Playoff finish: Lost to Brampton 4-0 in conference quarterfinals
Key players: LW Joshua Leivo (32-41-73), D Justin Sefton (3-16-19, 143 penalty minutes; San Jose prospect), LW Nathan Pancel (23-21-44), D Frank Corrado (3-23-26, +26), C Matthew Campagna (8-23-31 in 45 games)
Key losses: C Michael Sgarbossa (36-46-82; signed with San Jose), D Josh McFadden (19-53-72; signed with Florida), G Johan Mattsson (23-11-2-1, 3.16, .910), LW Andrey Kuchin (25-40-65), RW Derek Schoenmakers (26-24-50; traded to Windsor)
Outlook: The Wolves spent little time in the playoffs the past two seasons, as they were swept both times. But the departure of skilled leaders like Sgarbossa, McFadden, Mattsson and Kuchin might keep these Wolves out of the playoffs entirely.

- Victor Fernandes

Posted: March 8th, 2012

Niagara C Alex Friesen won’t be suspended for his collision with Erie Otters G Ramis Sadikov in Sunday’s game, OHL vice president Ted Baker confirmed today.

Sadikov suffered an apparent concussion on the play 1 minute, 45 seconds into the game, which forced Otters forward Connor Crisp to enter the game as the emergency goaltender. Friesen received a major charging penalty and game misconduct, which prompted an automatic review by the league.

Yet Baker said league officials “felt it was more a collision as opposed to a player going out of his way to hit the goaltender.” Baker pointed to Sadikov being out of the crease. Baker also said Friesen was looking back at the play as he skated to the net.

In related news, Baker has seen Internet footage of Plymouth RW Tom Wilson‘s hit that injured Otters rookie D Travis Wood in the first period Wednesday at Tullio Arena.

Baker said the play doesn’t warrant an automatic review, since Wilson wasn’t penalized. But league commissioner David Branch plans to review the same Internet footage, and league officials have requested video of the play from the Otters, because Wood was injured and taken to the hospital. If deemed necessary, Baker said league officials will review the play for possible disciplinary action.

Wood was taken off the ice wearing a neck brace and on a backboard and transported to a local hospital. Wood, whose tests were negative, is listed as day-to-day. He was released from the hospital late Wednesday night. He will undergo cognitive tests in the next few days to determine the extent of his injury.

However, the league will conduct an automatic review of Otters RW Johnny McGuire‘s game misconduct Wednesday. He was penalized for being the aggressor in a fight with Wilson seconds after the faceoff that followed Wood’s injury. Baker said the league could issue their rulings as early as later today.

- Victor Fernandes




Posted: January 20th, 2012

The Erie Otters had a chance to beat the short-handed Niagara IceDogs on Friday night.

But the Otters mustered only 21 shots on goal in a 3-2 loss in front of 2,469 at Tullio Arena, which extended their second-longest losing streak of the season to nine straight games.

Even without several key veterans, including NHL first-round picks Ryan Strome (facial fractures) and Dougie Hamilton (10-game suspension), Niagara dominated the Otters from the outset.

The IceDogs built a 20-7 advantage in shots in the opening period. They also built a 2-0 lead through 20 minutes on goals from Alex Friesen and David Pacan 40 seconds apart midway through the period.

Friesen turned Andrew Agozzino’s centering pass into his 16th goal of the season at the 9:13 mark. Then Pacan redirected Myles Doan’s cross-ice pass past Otters goaltender Ramis Sadikov, who had 43 saves.

The IceDogs controlled the play to start the second period as well. But a fortunate bounce allowed the Otters to slice Niagara’s lead in half at 2-1. Goaltender Mark Visentin stopped Dane Fox’s shot, but the rebound caromed to Connor Brown. The rookie winger scored into an empty net 6:45 into the period.

Jimmy McDowell also earned an assist on the goal for his first point as an Otter. Niagara regained a two-goal lead at 3-1 on Agozzino’s rebound – his 24th goal of the season – with 10:53 left in the period. But Fox scored on the power play on an assist from McDowell to pull the Otters within 3-2 just 3 minutes later. The Otters were within a goal despite being outshot 36-17 through two periods.

Yet the Otters couldn’t find their offense in the third. They recorded one shot on goal in the opening 10 minutes of the third. They finished with four shots on goal in the period. Their best chance to tie the game – Anthony Cortellessa’s shot from the right wing – caromed off the post behind Visentin.

Agozzino had a goal and assist for the IceDogs (27-13-0-3), which has won six straight and 10 of their past 11 games. Fox (goal, assist) and McDowell (two assists) paced the Otters (5-36-1-1).

- Victor Fernandes




IceDogs 3, Otters 2

Niagara  2  1  0  —  3

Erie  0  2  0  —  2

1st Period — 1. Niagara, Alex Friesen 16 (Agozzino), 9:13. 2. Niagara, David Pacan 20 (Doan, Verhaeghe), 9:53. Penalties — Fox (E) hooking, 2:51; Agozzino (N) goaltender interference, 12:00.

2nd Period — 3. Erie, Connor Brown 15 (Fox, McDowell), 6:45. 4. Niagara, Andrew Agozzino 24 (Ritchie, Doudera), 10:53. 5. Erie, Dane Fox 16 (McDowell), 13:46 (pp). Penalties — Graham (N) interference, 12:48.

3rd Period — None. Penalties — Kuhnhackl (N) high sticking, 3:11; McDowell (E) interference, 10:14.

Shots on goal — Niagara, 20-16-10—46; Erie, 7-10-4—21.

Goaltenders — Niagara, Mark Visentin 15-7-0-2 (21 shots, 19 saves); Erie, Ramis Sadikov 3-17-1-1 (46 shots, 43 saves).

Power plays — Niagara (0-2), Erie (1-3).

Referees — Joe Celestin, Garrett Rank. Linesmen — Adam Harris, Mike Harrington.

Attendance — 2,469.


Three stars

* Andrew Agozzino, IceDogs (goal, assist) ** Dane Fox, Otters (goal, assist) *** Ramis Sadikov, Otters (43 saves)

Posted: September 30th, 2010

ST. CATHARINES, Ontario – The penalty kill killed the Erie Otters on Thursday night.

The Otters allowed four goals on eight chances in a 5-4 loss to Niagara in front of 2,982 at Gatorade Garden City Complex. The four straight goals against erased the Otters’ early 2-0 lead.

The Otters (1-2-0-0) built that lead on goals from Jordan Coccimiglio and Matthew Paton in the opening eight minutes of the first period. But the IceDogs (2-1-0-0) rallied to tie at 2 with power-play goals from Alex Friesen and Dougie Hamilton less than three

Greg McKegg (Contributed/Toronto Maple Leafs)

minutes apart late in the period.

After a scoreless second period, consecutive penalties to Otters forwards Chris Marchese and Shawn Szydlowski handed the IceDogs a 5-on-3 opportunity midway through the third. Niagara responded with power-play goals from Ryan Strome and newly acquired Jason Wilson to open a 4-2 lead.

The Otters have allowed six goals on 15 power-play chances in three games this season.

Greg McKegg’s first goal of the season, the Otters’ lone power-play goal of the game, sliced Niagara’s lead to 4-3 with 7:25 left. But Steven Shipley scored 56 seconds later to regain Niagara’s two-goal lead.

The Otters moved within 5-4 on Mike Cazzola’s goal with 4:31 left. But they were unable to score the equalizer and avoid a second straight loss. Niagara outshot the Otters 51-31. Ramis Sadikov made 46 saves in the losing effort. McKegg had a goal and assist. Friesen and Strome had a goal and two assists apiece for the IceDogs. Shipley and Hamilton each had a goal and assist.

The Otters return to action today in Kitchener with a 7:30 p.m. game.

- Victor Fernandes


IceDogs 5, Otters 4

Erie  2  0  2  —  4

Niagara  2  0  3  —  5

1st Period — 1. Erie, Jordan Coccimiglio 1 (Gottzmann, McDonnell), 2:29. 2. Erie, Matthew Paton 1 (Hostetter), 8:03. 3. Niagara, Alex Friesen 2 (F. Hamilton, Strome), 14:46 (pp). 4. Niagara, Dougie Hamilton 1 (Friesen, Strome), 17:10 (pp). Penalties — McKegg (E) holding, 13:35; Appio (E) roughing, 16:20; Hamilton (N) checking from behind, 19:39.

2nd Period — None. Penalties — Strome (N) holding the stick, 2:31; Visentin (N) delay of game, 3:09; Gaulton (E) holding, 4:36; Agozzino (N) high sticking, 4:36; Austin (E) 4-min. checking from behind, 5:36; Doan (N) roughing, 5:36; Luciani (E) unsportsmanlike conduct, 15:42; Billingsley (N) cross checking, 15:42; McKegg (E) hooking, 17:41.

3rd Period — 5. Niagara, Ryan Strome 3 (D. Hamilton, Friesen), 10:56 (pp). 6. Niagara, Jason Wilson 1 (Shipley, Pacan), 11:13 (pp). 7. Erie, Greg McKegg 1 (unassisted), 12:35. 8. Niagara, Steven Shipley 1 (F. Hamilton, Wilson), 13:29. 9. Erie, Mike Cazzola 2 (McKegg), 15:29. Penalties — Marchese (E) 4-min. high sticking, 9:02; Szydlowski (E) hooking, 10:03; Pacan (N) delay of game, 12:22.

Shots on goal — Erie, 12-10-9—31; Niagara, 15-13-23—51.

Goaltenders — Erie, Ramis Sadikov 1-2-0-0 (51 shots, 46 saves); Niagara, Mark Visentin 1-1-0-0 (31 shots, 27 saves).

Power plays — Erie (1-4), Niagara (4-8).

Referees — Mike Bolibruck, Matt Parlette. Linesmen — Jesse Wilmot, Darryl Wolfe.

Attendance — 2,982.

Three stars

* Steven Shipley, IceDogs (goal, assist) ** Ryan Strome, IceDogs (goal, 2 assists) *** Alex Friesen, IceDogs (goal, 2 assists)