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 ‘guelph’
Posted: April 11th, 2012

Toronto, ON – The Ontario Hockey League today announced that forward Andrew Agozzino of the Niagara IceDogs is the Leo Lalonde Memorial Trophy winner awarded to the OHL’s Overage Player of the Year for the 2011-12 season.

Agozzino tied for fifth in league scoring with a career-high 88 points in 67 games scoring 40 goals and 48 assists leading the IceDogs to their first Central Division title and best overall record in team history with a record of 47-18-0-3 for 97 points. Agozzino becomes the second member of the IceDogs’ to win the award following his former teammate Michael Swift who earned it in the club’s first season in Niagara back in 2007-08.

“It’s a great feeling to win this award and it’s something I was looking forward to at the start of my overage year,” said Agozzino. “Having the opportunity to be an overager on the same team I started with is something special and I would like to thank the entire IceDogs organization for the opportunities they have given me.”

A 21-year-old native of Kleinburg, ON, Agozzino played all five of his OHL seasons with the IceDogs after being the franchise’s first ever draft pick selected 15th overall in the 2007 Priority Selection. This season the three-year captain led the IceDogs in both goals and points for the third time in five years finishing his career with a franchise record 159 goals and 147 assists for 306 points in a franchise record 318 regular season games played. In 2010, Agozzino represented the IceDogs at the OHL All-Star Classic in Kingston, ON, where he was named Eastern Conference Player of the Game scoring an All-Star Classic record four goals.

“We couldn’t be more happy or proud of Andrew winning the Overage Player of the Year Award,” said IceDogs owner Bill Burke. “Andrew is everything you could ask for in a leader, hockey player and a person and is extremely deserving of this award. He has meant everything to this organization in our five years here and will be impossible to replace.”

The Leo Lalonde Memorial Trophy is awarded annually to the top overage player of the year as selected by OHL General Managers. Teams were not permitted to vote for players from their own hockey club. Players received five points for a first place vote, three points for a second place vote and one point for a third place vote.

Agozzino finished the voting process with 53 points just slightly ahead of Owen Sound Attack forward Mike Halmo who finished with 52 points. Defenceman Beau Schmitz of the Plymouth Whalers finished in third with 28 voting points.

Former winners of the trophy include Bill Bowler (Windsor, 1994-95), and Dan Tessier (Ottawa 99-00), along with current NHL stars Chad LaRose (Plymouth 2002-03), and Ryan Callahan (Guelph, 2005-06). Top scorer Jason Akeson of the Kitchener Rangers captured the award last season.

The Leo Lalonde Memorial Trophy was donated by the trainers of the Ontario Hockey League, in memory of the late Leo Lalonde, former Chief Scout of OHL Central Scouting. Leo Lalonde was also formerly the Chief Scout for the Belleville Bulls as well as a scout for the Peterborough Petes.

Agozzino will be formally presented with the Leo Lalonde Memorial Trophy at the 2011-12 OHL Awards Ceremony scheduled for June 5 at the Hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto.

- From OHL news release

Posted: September 22nd, 2011

Victor Fernandes unveils his predictions for the 2011-12 OHL season:


Eastern Conference

East Division

1. Oshawa

2. Ottawa

3. Peterborough

4. Kingston

5. Belleville

Central Division

1. Niagara

2. Mississauga

3. Sudbury

4. Brampton

5. Barrie


Western Conference

Midwest Division

1. London

2. Kitchener

3. Erie

4. Owen Sound

5. Guelph

West Division

1. Plymouth

2. Saginaw

3. Sarnia

4. Windsor

5. Sault Ste. Marie


Eastern Conference


No. 1 Niagara def. No. 8 Kingston, 4-0

No. 2 Oshawa def. No. 7 Sudbury, 4-2

No. 3 Mississauga def. No. 6 Brampton, 4-1

No. 4 Ottawa def. No. 5 Peterborough, 4-1


No. 1 Niagara def. No. 4 Ottawa, 4-0

No. 3 Mississauga def. No. 2 Oshawa, 4-2


No. 1 Niagara def. No. 3 Mississauga, 4-2


Western Conference


No. 1 Plymouth def. No. 8 Owen Sound, 4-2

No. 2 London def. No. 7 Erie, 4-2

No. 6 Windsor def. No. 3 Saginaw, 4-3

No. 5 Sarnia def. No. 4 Kitchener, 4-2


No. 1 Plymouth def. No. 6 Windsor, 4-2

No. 2 London def. No. 5 Sarnia, 4-3


No. 1 Plymouth def. No. 2 London, 4-2


League finals

No. 1E Niagara def. No. 1W Plymouth, 4-2

Posted: December 10th, 2010

What: Erie Otters (15-14-1-1) at Owen Sound Attack (19-9-0-2)

When: Saturday, 7:30 p.m.

Where: Harry Lumley Bayshore Community Centre – Owen Sound, Ontario

On the air: WFNN-AM/1330, (live stream)

Players to watch

Erie – C Greg McKegg (21 goals, 25 assists, 46 points), RW Shawn Szydlowski (17-13-30), RW Anthony Luciani (11-16-27), G Ramis Sadikov (15-10-1-1 record, 2.75 goals-against average, .916 save percentage, 2 shutouts), C Phil Varone (11-11-22)

Owen Sound – LW Andrew Fritsch (14-15-29), RW Bobby Mignardi (10-14-24), RW Liam Heelis (7-17-24), D Geoffrey Schemitsch (1-11-12, plus-12), G Jordan Binnington (9-6-0-2, 3.01, .889, 1 SO)

Fast facts

Erie – The Otters have won three straight and five of their last six games to move one game above .500 on the road (8-7-0-1). … They have four hat tricks in the last six games (Szydlowski 2, McKegg, Varone). … Szydlowski has three of his four career hat tricks in the past nine games. His goal total ranks among the OHL’s top 25. … Varone has an eight-game point streak (seven goals, 15 points), the second-longest streak of his career. He had points in 11 consecutive games with London from Jan. 13-Feb. 8, 2008. … McKegg has points in the past six games (seven goals, 15 points). He has moved into a tie for fifth in the OHL scoring race. … Sadikov has made 21 straight starts, three shy of equaling Josh Disher’s record of 23 set from Sept. 28-Nov. 27, 2003. … … Luciani has points in three straight games and nine of his past 10 games (seven goals, 20 points). He has eight goals and 22 points in 12 games since returning from a broken wrist. … The Otters stand second in the league on the power play (22.9 percent).

Owen Sound – The Attack are expected to play without LW Garrett Wilson (25-19-44, 11 power-play goals), C Joey Hishon (17-25-42) and D Jesse Blacker (7-20-27, plus-9) because they head to Toronto today for Canada’s National Junior Team selection camp, according to the team’s website. … The Attack also have three injured players – G Scott Stajcer, D Curtis Crombeen and 2010 first-round pick Jarrod Maidens – and suspended Fs Mike Halmo and Cameron Brace out of the lineup, the team announced. … The Attack have lost six of their past 10 games to fall into a tie with Kitchener for the Midwest lead.

Up next: at Guelph (Sunday, 2 p.m.), vs. Brampton (Friday, 7 p.m.)

– Victor Fernandes

Posted: December 9th, 2010

What: Erie Otters (14-14-1-1) at London Knights (13-13-2-1)

When: Friday, 7:30 p.m.

Where: John Labatt Centre – London, Ontario

On the air: WFNN-AM/1330, (live stream)

Players to watch

Erie – C Greg McKegg (21 goals, 22 assists, 43 points), RW Shawn Szydlowski (14-12-26), RW Anthony Luciani (9-14-23), G Ramis Sadikov (14-10-1-1 record, 2.70 goals-against average, .916 save percentage, 2 shutouts), C Phil Varone (10-10-20)

London – RW Jared Knight (12-16-28), RW Vladislav Namestnikov (9-17-26), G Michael Houser (12-9-2-1, 2.92, .914, 1 SO), C Daniel Erlich (7-18-25), D Michael D’Orazio (4-17-21)

Fast facts

Erie – The Otters’ five-game winning streak – their longest in two years – ended Saturday in a 3-2 shootout loss to Sarnia. … The Otters begin a three-game road trip through the Midwest Division by trying to snap a 24-game winless skid in London. Their last win at Labatt Centre was on Dec. 27, 2002 – their first visit to the rink. They lost in London 5-3 on Oct. 14… If the Otters win, they will have a winning record for the first time since a season-opening win at Brampton. … The Otters are one point ahead of London in the Midwest Division standings, although the Knights have a game in hand. … Varone takes a seven-game point streak (six goals, 13 points), the second-longest streak of his career, into his first game in London since being traded Oct. 26. He had points in 11 consecutive games with the Knights from Jan. 13-Feb. 8, 2008. … McKegg has points in the past five games (seven goals, 12 points). He has goals in six of his past eight games. … Sadikov has made 20 straight starts, three shy of equaling Josh Disher’s record of 23 set from Sept. 28-Nov. 27, 2003. … The Otters could reach the .500 mark on the road (6-7-1-0). They have won two straight and four of five since a 10-3 loss in Oshawa Nov. 19.

London – The struggling Knights have lost three straight and eight of their last 11 games. … The Knights, one of the OHL’s most potent offenses for many years, rank near the bottom with 93 goals. … They also have the league’s worst power play (15.2 percent) and rank near the bottom on the penalty (79.2). … They have nine losses in 18 home games. They lost only four home games last season. … Houser, a native of the Pittsburgh suburb of Wexford, ranks among the top 12 in goals-against average and save percentage. … They have lost two of three meetings with the Otters this season.

Up next: at Owen Sound (Saturday, 7:30 p.m.), at Guelph (Sunday, 2 p.m.)

– Victor Fernandes

Posted: November 28th, 2010

Shawn Szydlowski put the Erie Otters in position. David Shields finished it off.

Shields scored with 3.5 seconds left in overtime to seal a 5-4 win against Guelph in front of 2,444 at Tullio Arena on Sunday. Szydlowski forced overtime with 1:45 left in regulation on his third goal of the game, which capped his second hat trick of the season and fourth of his Ontario Hockey League career.

The Otters have (13-14-1-0) have a four-game winning streak for the first time since the middle of last season. They also have recorded hat tricks in three straight games for the first time in franchise history.

The Otters wasted little time in getting their offense in gear against the Storm.

Szydlowski gathered a loose puck at center ice and fired a wrist shot past goaltender Brandon Foote for a 1-0 lead 1:14 into the opening period. But after that, these Midwest Division rivals settled into a defensive struggle. They combined for 11 more shots in the period, with the Storm holding a 7-5 edge.

The Otters began the second period as they did in the first – with a quick goal. A hooking penalty to Storm center Michael Latta led to David Broll’s fourth goal of the season 1:42 into the period.

Phil Varone assisted on the goal – his ninth point in a season-high, five-game point streak. Greg McKegg also earned an assist for his team-leading 39th point. The Storm sliced Erie’s lead in half at 2-1 less than three minutes later, as Cody McNaughton scored through a goal-mouth scramble during a delayed penalty.

Then the Storm capitalized on a 4-on-3 power play, as Peter Holland fired a slap shot past a screened Ramis Sadikov 7:31 into the period to tie the score at 2. Guelph took their first lead of the game at 3-2 on Tyler Carroll’s power-play goal with 7:49 left in the period – a rebound of a shot that glanced off the post. But the Otters responded on the power play, with Szydlowski scoring his second goal 1:23 later.

Szydlowski responded after Guelph’s Taylor Beck scored on the power play with 4:41 left in the third period. He completed his hat trick off assists from Shields and Brett Cook to force overtime.

Then Shields stole the spotlight in overtime to cap a franchise-record ninth win in November.

Latta had a goal and three assists for the Storm (10-12-2-1), which have lost five straight games.

* News and notes: The Otters finished November with a 9-3 record. … The Otters won in overtime for the first time in nearly a year – a 5-4 win against Guelph on Nov. 27, 2009. They won in overtime at home for the first time since Nick Palmieri’s goal in a 4-3 win against Belleville on Nov. 22, 2007, which snapped a franchise-record, 16-game losing streak. … Guelph’s No. 1 line of Latta, Beck and Holland combined for three goals and seven goals. They had a goal and two points in the first two meetings with the Otters. … The Storm (10-11-3-1) have lost five straight and eight of their last 11 games.

- Victor Fernandes

Posted: November 24th, 2010

What: Belleville Bulls (7-15-0-2) at Erie Otters (10-14-1-0)

When: Today, 7 p.m.

Where: Tullio Arena

On the air: WFNN-AM/1330, (live stream)

Players to watch

Erie – C Greg McKegg (14 goals, 17 assists, 31 points), RW Shawn Szydlowski (11-11-22), RW Anthony Luciani (7-8-15), G Ramis Sadikov (10-10-1-0 record, 2.90 goals-against average, .912 save percentage, 1 shutout), D Derek Holden (2-11-13)

Belleville – RW Richard Panik (13-15-28), C Andy Bathgate (9-11-20), RW Luke Judson (10-9-19), G Tyson Teichmann (4-11-0-1, 4.10, .887), RW Austen Brassard (5-8-13)

Fast facts

Erie – The Otters begin a three-game home stand with their traditional Thanksgiving Night matchup against the Bulls. … The Otters, which have played on Thanksgiving every year since moving to Erie from Niagara Falls, Ontario, in 1996, face the Bulls for a holiday-best 10th time (3-5-1-0), including the past six years. … Sadikov has made 15 consecutive starts (7-6-0-0 with one no-decision, 2.61, .914). … Luciani (pictured at left)  has points in five of six games, including four multi-point outings, since returning from a five-week layoff with a broken right wrist (four goals, 10 points). … The Otters have nearly identical records at home (5-7-0-0) and on the road (5-7-1-0). However, they have a plus-4 goal differential at home (39-35) and a minus-13 differential on the road (41-54). … McKegg, who ranks among the OHL’s top 20 in scoring, had three-game goal and point streaks snapped in Saturday’s win at Barrie. … Szydlowski has four goals in the past three games after totaling one in the previous seven games. … LW Brett Appio (leg) hopes to play tonight. … D Brady Austin (shoulder) has missed the past four games. … Rookie D Adam Pelech (undisclosed injury) remains day to day. … The Otters hold their annual Teddy Bear Toss tonight. Fans bringing a new or gently used stuffed animal will receive a free ticket to Saturday’s or Sunday’s game. Fans can toss the stuffed animals onto the ice after Erie’s first goal.

Belleville – The rebuilding Bulls have lost seven of their past 10 games. … They rank near the bottom of the league in goals for (61), goals against (96), power play (14.5 percent) and penalty kill (78.4). … Panik has 25 goals and 51 points in 51 games since being acquired from Windsor last season. He ranks among the top 20 in scoring this season. … Rookie D Brendan Gaunce (3-8-11, minus-11), assistant coach Jake Grimes and equipment manager Matt Sands will represent Team Ontario at next month’s World Under-17 Hockey Challenge in Winnipeg, Manitoba, with Grimes serving as head coach. Goaltending prospect Daniel Altshuller, a third-round pick in the 2010 OHL Priority Selection, also is on a team that includes Otters rookies Chris Marchese (3-4-7) and Pelech. … Brassard, Teichmann and LW Michael Curtis (3-4-7) join Otters LW David Broll (3-9-12) on NHL Central Scouting’s preliminary 2011 draft rankings.

Up next: vs. Kitchener (Saturday, 7 p.m.), vs. Guelph (Sunday, 4:30 p.m.)

- Victor Fernandes

Posted: March 14th, 2010

The Erie Otters clinched the eighth seed in the OHL’s Western Conference and will face Windsor, defending league and Memorial Cup champion, in the opening round of the playoffs.

The best-of-seven series begins Thursday at 7:05 p.m. at WFCU Centre in Windsor, Ontario. The Spitfires also will host Game 3 on March 23 at 7:05 p.m. The Otters will have Game 2 Sunday at 4:30 p.m. and Game 4 on March 25 at 7 p.m. at Tullio Arena.

The rest of the series, if necessary, includes Game 5 at Windsor (March 27 at 7:05 p.m.), Game 6 in Erie (March 29 at 7 p.m.) and Game 7 at Windsor (March 30 at 7:05 p.m.) The Otters lost three of four meetings with the Spitfires in the regular season.

The Otters began Sunday tied with Saginaw for seventh in the West with 73 points, one point behind Guelph. But Saginaw beat Plymouth 4-1 Sunday in their finale to move past the Otters and Guelph into sixth. The Spirit will face No. 3 Kitchener in the first round. The seventh-seeded Storm will face No. 3 London. No. 4 Plymouth and No. 5 Sault Ste. Marie meet in the other Western series.

In the East, the series are No. 1 Barrie vs. No. 8 Sudbury, No. 2 Ottawa vs. No. 7 Niagara, No. 3 Mississauga St. Michael’s vs. No. 6 Peterborough and No. 4 Kingston vs. No. 5 Brampton.

Western Conference quarterfinal schedule

No. 1 Windsor vs. No. 8 Erie

Game 1 – Thursday at Windsor, 7:05 p.m.

Game 2 – March 21 at Erie, 4:30 p.m.

Game 3 – March 23 at Windsor, 7:05 p.m.

Game 4 – March 25 at Erie, 7 p.m.

Game 5 – March 27 at Windsor, 7:05 p.m.*

Game 6 – March 29 at Erie, 7 p.m.*

Game 7 – March 30 at Windsor, 7:05 p.m.*

* If necessary

Posted: March 13th, 2010

Anthony Luciani (Contributed/Erie Otters)

The Erie Otters exploded offensively against London in their regular-season finale.

Anthony Luciani led the way in Erie’s regular-season finale with his third OHL hat trick in an 8-3 win against London, played in front of 5,304 at Tullio Arena Saturday night.

Now the Otters (33-28-5-2) will wait until today to learn their opponent in the Western Conference quarterfinals. The Otters (73 points) are tied for seventh with Saginaw, one behind sixth-place Guelph. But the Spirit, which beat Kitchener 3-0 Saturday, have a game in hand – Sunday’s 2 p.m. game at Plymouth.

The Otters need a Spirit loss in regulation to claim the seventh seed and face London, because Erie holds the league’s second tiebreaker over the Spirit – head-to-head record. The Otters swept the four-game season series with the Spirit. The first tiebreaker – most wins – is currently tied at 33 apiece.

If Saginaw earns a point today, the Otters fall to eighth and earn a first-round matchup with Windsor. The Otters cannot finish sixth because of Guelph’s 3-0 win against Owen Sound Saturday. That means the Otters won’t face Midwest Division rival Kitchener in the opening round.

The Otters jumped out to a 2-0 lead on the Knights (49-16-1-2), which left leading scorer Nazem Kadri and high-scoring defenseman Steven Tarasuk in London to rest for the start of the playoffs.

Luciani and Brady Austin scored 18 seconds apart for the Otters in the opening two minutes. London responded with two goals in less than 2 minutes midway through the period. But the Knights’ offense, fell silent after that. Meanwhile, the Otters were simply warming up.

The Otters scored the game’s next six goals, including five on 11 shots in the second period.

After Luciani’s second goal capped the scoring in the first, Mitch Gaulton’s goal 3:10 into the second sparked the five-goal onslaught. Luciani completed his third career hat trick – all this season – a minute after Gaulton’s goal. Then Zack Torquato (his career-high 31st of the season), Shawn Szydlowski and David Broll scored in less than three minutes late in the period to build the Otters’ commanding 8-2 lead.

London finally snapped Erie’s goal-scoring streak on Michael MacDonald’s second goal of the night and 25th of the season at the 6:07 mark of the third. But the Otters kept London from earning their 50th win of the season. Luciani, Szydlowski (goal, two assists), Gaulton (goal, two assists) and Mike Cazzola (three assists) had three points apiece for the Otters.

- Victor Fernandes

OHL playoff update

The Otters are tied for seventh in the Western Conference:

(games through Saturday)

No. Team        GL       Record            Pts.

6. x-Guelph     0          35-29-3-1        74

7. x-Saginaw    1          33-27-4-3        73

8. x-Erie           0          33-28-5-2        73

GL – games left; x-clinched playoff berth

* Saginaw plays in Plymouth Sunday at 2 p.m.

Note: Top eight teams in each conference qualify for the playoffs.

Posted: March 12th, 2010

Greg McKegg (Contributed/Erie Otters)GUELPH, Ontario – The Erie Otters might not face Kitchener in the first round after all.

With a 3-2 loss to Guelph, played in front of 4,979 at Sleeman Centre Friday night, the Otters fell to eighth in the Western Conference standings. Erie (32-28-5-2) stands one point behind the sixth-place Storm with one game left – tonight’s regular-season finale against London at Tullio Arena.

The Otters are percentage points behind Saginaw, which has a game in hand. If the OHL playoffs began today, the Otters would face top-seeded Windsor, defending league and Memorial Cup champion, in the opening round. Meanwhile, Guelph (34-29-3-1) would start the playoffs against Kitchener. The Storm head into the postseason on a roll. They have won four straight games and eight of their last 10.

Mathew Sisca’s power-play goal 7 minutes, 2 seconds into the third period snapped a 2-2 tie against the Otters. He scored less than 4 minutes after the Otters’ Greg McKegg scored his 37th goal of the season.

Zack Torquato assisted on the goal – his Otters’ single-season record 61st of the season. He broke Colin Pepperall’s mark of 60, set in 1997-98. Derek Holden scored Erie’s other goal.

- Victor Fernandes

Battle for sixth

The Nos. 6-8 seeds in the Western Conference:

(games through Friday)

No. Team        GL       Record            Pts.

6. x-Guelph       1          34-29-3-1          72

7. x-Saginaw     2          32-27-4-3          71

8. x-Erie           1          32-28-5-2          71

GL – games left; x-clinched playoff berth

Note: Top eight teams in each conference qualify for the playoffs.

Posted: March 11th, 2010

Sault Ste. Marie ended the Erie Otters‘ hopes of capturing the No. 5 seed in the OHL’s Western Conference playoffs with a 3-2 win against Saginaw Wednesday night. The Otters can finish as high as sixth and as low as eighth.

The Otters enter Friday night’s game in Guelph tied for sixth with the Spirit and three points ahead of No. 8 Guelph. Erie and Saginaw have two games left apiece. The Storm have three games left, starting with Thursday night’s game against Sarnia.

- Victor Fernandes

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