20.2 C
Niagara Falls
Friday, June 21, 2024
Sports: Predators in fourth place but two teams on their heels
The Predators play St. George this Friday in Virgil. Kevan Dowd

Two straight weekend wins have made the Niagara Jr. A Predators’ fourth-place position official – though two teams remain right on their tail.

Besting the Tottenham Thunder 7-1 Friday and the Windsor Stars 5-2 Saturday was enough to break the three-way tie for fourth in the Greater Metro Hockey League’s south division and give the Predators a healthy confidence boost.

“Fourth place is important for us. That’s what we’re gunning for,” said Predators head coach Kevin Taylor.

“And if we keep playing how we are we can finish up in fourth and playoffs are a whole different creature.”

Going into this weekend, Niagara has 33 points, Northumberland 32 and St. George 31. The Predators have two games in hand.

Last Friday on home ice, Niagara maintained its perfect win record against Tottenham.

The Predators’ Leo Savin opened things up, scoring three minutes in, with teammates Timur Mirzaiants and Declan Fogarty each adding one in the first period.

This was just the start for Fogarty, who netted another 33 seconds into the second period and a pair in the third for a total of four and the game’s first star.

Cameron Savoie would also make the scoresheet 15 minutes into the middle period, five minutes after Tottenham’s only goal.

“I thought they played well. It’s coming together,” Taylor said of his team.

“We turned over the puck and you always think if we turned it over to a different team they could have used that opportunity and scored. So we have to clean up the game a bit.”

“We got ourselves in some trouble but we got out of it and that’s the big thing,” he added.

“We’re learning to play a lot better. The team’s finally coming together and we’re getting some confidence.” 

Niagara kept the pressure on the next night in Windsor, earning a second W over the division’s last-place team.

“It wasn’t the prettiest win but a win’s a win,” said Taylor. “I said to the guys the next day, ‘Good teams find a way to win.’ And that’s how far we’ve come because we played them before and we struggled and we lost 3-1. This time around we won 5-2.”

“We needed the win, we deserved to win and we came out with the win.”

It was no more than a one goal game for the first 40 minutes with Guy Manco earning Niagara’s first tally 13:23 into the first period, and Windsor not answering back until the 17-minute mark of the second.

Things took a turn in the last 20 minutes with a marker for Niagara’s Anthony Tropea, and Savin, Mirzaiants and Savoie each getting their second of the weekend. Windsor added one for a 5-2 final score.

The Predators now face the St. George Ravens, who are two points behind them and have posed a challenge.

While Taylor notes the importance of the game, he is not counting his team out.

“St. George is an important game. We’re either going to finish fourth or fifth it looks like, so if it’s going to be St. George in the first round you want to send the message, ‘This is how it’s going to be,’ ” he said.

“So we’re going to continue to work our system and perfect it and that’s what we’ve been trying to focus on. I think once they buy into it, they’ll understand the significance of what we’ve been trying to do all along.”

The Predators play the St. George at the Meridian Credit Union Arena this Friday, Feb. 3, at 7:30 p.m.

Subscribe to our mailing list