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Thursday, December 7, 2023
Sports: Predators win 11-8 in sloppy, defenceless road game
Predators goalie Mike Mankowski, seen in an earlier home game, didn't have much defensive support in front of him during Niagara's 11-8 road win versus Tottenham on Saturday. Dave Van de Laar Dave Van de Laar

The Jr. A Niagara Predators skated away with a win last weekend in a high-scoring game on the road against the Tottenham Railers.

Despite netting 11 goals to Tottenham’s eight, head coach Kevin Taylor says the only points that matter are the two you get for the win.

Taylor feels the final score shows his team can get the puck across the goal line but also shows how poor their defence was last Saturday night.

He did not single out any specific players or lines, saying the fault came down to too much individual play all around.

“It was the team defence. I can’t blame the defencemen, I can’t blame the forwards. It was just the whole team was at fault for those eight goals, they’re just too focused on getting points right now,” he said.

“Everybody did well, I felt. I just was kind of disappointed in how the team defence was. It just reaches a point where you have to say, ‘Enough is enough, let’s just start focusing on the team now and not the individuals.’ ”

Newcomer Gehrig Lindberg started off the scoring at the 6:43 mark in his first game as a Predator. He would score two more: 30 seconds into the second period and again eight minutes later.

In that time, brothers Nick and Cameron Savoie would each net one, off-setting four goals for the Railers.

Tottenham’s Jacob Futas tied things up halfway through the second period but Josh Frena and Luca Fernandez widened the gap for a 7-5 lead heading into the final 20 minutes.

Predators Jakov Shevchenko and Isaac Locker put their team well ahead in the first minute of the third but Tottenham clawed its way back with two goals 30 seconds apart.

Niagara’s Rhys Jones and Dylan Denning managed their team’s final two goals of the night and Tottenham notched one more for the 11-8 final.

“We have no problem putting the puck in the net and there were a lot of times where we completely dominated and it was the things I was telling them to do like take the body, separate the guy from the puck, little things,” said Taylor.

“We just have to stay more focused on the ultimate goal of playing the game, but not at 11-8.”

Taylor thinks there were some major mistakes made in the game but nothing so huge as to require them to revamp everything they are doing.

He’s also glad to have beaten the Railers the second time around, after losing to them in their home opener in Virgil. It makes for a nice confidence boost just ahead of a challenging weekend.

“It’s always going to be in the back of your minds if this is going to be one of those teams that we have a hard time getting over,” he said.

But this weekend will be tougher, he said, with games Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

The Predators are still looking to increase their roster and Taylor says as they improve, more players are looking into trying out but the team is faced with a very practical issue: somewhere to live.

“We’re still looking for billets. We’ve got players looking to come now and we just don’t have the community support of billets,” he said.

“So, if we can get someone who could take a player or two that’d just be amazing just to help us out.”

The Predators’ triple-header starts Friday at the Meridian Credit Union Arena at 7:30 p.m. against the Northumberland Stars.

They face Tottenham on the road again the following night before finishing thing off at home with a 3:30 p.m. game against the North York Renegades on Sunday.

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