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Saturday, November 26, 2022
Hockey: Predators light up scoreboard against weaker rivals

Kevan Dowd

Special to The Lake Report

Friday night’s match-up between the Niagara Predators and Tottenham Thunder may literally have burned out both goal lights at the Meridian Credit Union Arena.

In a high-scoring game that saw goals coming almost every five minutes and three hat tricks (two for Niagara and one for Tottenham), the goal barrage came to a close with an 11-7 victory for Niagara.

The points kept coming for Niagara the following day when they put eight more pucks between the pipes in Tottenham for an 8-1 win to wrap up the weekend’s Greater Metro Jr A. Hockey action.

Despite the double-digit scoring, Predators general manager Johan Eriksson was disappointed in his team’s Friday night performance against Tottenham who sit in last place of their division.

“Friday’s game was not a good game. Yes, we scored 11 goals but neither our forwards nor defence helped our goalie. It was a little sloppy and we wanted to change that for Saturday,” he said. “Friday night was not the goalie’s fault. It was the team that just wasn’t there.”

Starting in net was Iain Riordon making his debut with the team. who was pulled halfway through the second period, replaced by goaltender Justin Appleton. Riordon returned for the third period and played all 60 minutes the next day, in what Eriksson felt was a much better game.

“We played our own game Saturday,” said Eriksson. “The first game, I feel like we played against a team in the bottom of the standings and the guys were thinking about goals or points they could get for themselves. And you can’t have that mentality as a team.”

“There is no easy game in this league, even playing lower teams. The win has to be earned."

On Friday’s scoresheet for Niagara was Jesper Eriksson with three goals, two in the first 10 minutes of the game, and the third five minutes into the second period. 

Also with a hat trick Friday was St. Davids resident Maxwell Bredin, who was also named as the second star behind Eriksson. The 6-foot defenceman netted his first of the trio three minutes into the second period, another six minutes into the third with his final tally coming almost five minutes later.

Niagara’s Nathan Fehr, Henry-Pierre Jayet, Mario Zitella, Noah Caperchione and Reese Bisci netted one each but Tottenham kept the score tight. Niagara only pulled ahead thanks to three goals in the second half of the third period.

On the road Saturday, Zitella and Caperchione gave the Predators an early lead with two goals in less than five minutes of play. Caperchione managed a second six minutes into the second, with Eriksson starting off his second hat trick of the weekend two minutes later.

Tottenham’s Max Brewster brought the game to 4-1 by the end of the second period, but two more goals from Eriksson, and singles from Alexander Insulander and Georgy Kholmovsky – scoring in his first game with the team – let Niagara skate away with an 8-1 win.

The Predators hit the ice again this Friday against the St. George Ravens, who Johan Eriksson considers to be his team’s biggest rivals. Niagara has lost two of three games against the Ravens so far but Eriksson says his team is healthy and prepared for round four.

“They don’t really like the big ice we have here at home and we’re going to use that to our advantage,” he said. “We will be ready for them.”

Game time is 7:30 p.m. this Friday, Nov. 26, at the Meridian Credit Union Arena in Virgil.