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Monday, April 15, 2024
Sports: Two losses make for a tough weekend for Predators
Niagara Predators players try in vain to get the puck past St. George Ravens goaltender Justin Sheets. The Preds lost 1-0. DAVE VAN DE LAAR

Finishing last weekend with just three out of a possible six points may not have been their goal, but the Jr. A Niagara Predators say they are feeling a lot of confidence going into their final game of the regular season and first round of the playoffs.

After starting the weekend with a tough 1-0 loss to the St. George Ravens on Friday, the Predators rebounded Saturday to best the Tottenham Railers 3-2, only to lose to the Ravens again 2-1 in a shootout Sunday.

Though a full six points would have helped elevate his team in the final standings of the Greater Metro Hockey League’s south division, Predators head coach Kevin Taylor is not wholly disappointed in how things played out.   

“It was a very successful weekend. Sunday we only had 11 forwards and four defence and they played with so much tenacity, so much grit, so I was really satisfied with how they did,” he said.

“Even when we got the two points on Saturday, the team didn’t play like they did on Friday and then being short on Sunday, I wasn’t expecting what happened and we played great.”

Despite putting 34 shots on net, the Predators could not manage any goals Friday, compared to one on 31 shots by St. George.

Predator Isaac Locker started things off Saturday with a goal 17 minutes in. Nolan Wyers followed up at the second period’s 14:33 mark, with Tottenham answering back not long after.

The Railers tied things up with five minutes left in regulation, forcing overtime and then a shootout. Declan Fogarty netted the essential final point for the Predators.

Closing out the weekend Sunday, Nicholas Nicoletti put the Predators out front after 13 minutes and they held the lead until midway through the game when the Ravens tied things up. With no scoring in the last two periods or extra time, the Ravens finished things off in a shootout.

Niagara has one regular season game left this Friday against the first-place North York Renegades but regardless of the outcome, they will can’t move any higher in the standings. They are already slated to play the third-place Durham Roadrunners in the first round of the playoffs.

“It looks like we’re going to finish sixth, which is somewhat disappointing,” said Taylor. “I think the matchup with Durham is going to be good and the boys are excited to play Durham. We played Sunday like we’re going to play in the playoffs.”

He thinks Friday’s match with North York is good preparation for the playoffs. 

“If we get past Durham, we will probably be playing North York, since we’ll be the lowest seed, unless there’s a big upset somewhere,” said Taylor. 

“Friday is going to be a good test for us to see how we’re going to play in the playoffs,” he said. “If we can implement what we want to do Friday against Durham, then it will be that much better for us.”

Game time is 7:30 p.m. Friday against the Renegades at the Meridian Credit Union Arena.

The best-of-three, first-round of the playoffs starts Monday in Oshawa with Niagara facing Durham.



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