IceDogs Mid-Season Report
OHL 2000 – 2001The Mississauga IceDogs may not have a contending team this year, but that should not stop true hockey fans from visiting the rink. If you love hockey, like I do, you should be able to find entertainment in both the wins and loses, especially at the junior level. On any given night you have the chance to watch many talented, young players. The money you put out for tickets is not jacked-up to compensate some overpaid, underachiever who has been warming the pine all season. These guys play hard for the love of the game and the chance to develop into tomorrow’s leaders. Win or loose junior hockey is still the best bang for your hard-earned buck.Here is a mid-season summary of some of the action and transactions of Mississauga’s OHL IceDogs.
IceDogs Mid-Season Report
September 2000 (1W-2L-1T)On September 22, the much-anticipated 2000-2001 campaign kicked off at the Mississauga Hersey Centre. IceDogs faithful were hungry and expected the team to deliver a break-through season. Mississauga possessed the most talked about player in junior hockey and compiled a respectable 2-2-1 preseason record. The opening night match-up brought their archrivals, the Brampton Battalion, to town. It was a hard fought battle featuring end-to-end action and plenty of hard-hitting intensity. The two sides could not settle anything in regulation as the goalies stole the show early in the third period. With the game in overtime IceDogs’ captain, Jason Spezza, sprung linemate Chad Wiseman in alone on the Brampton goal. Wiseman tried to deke Battalion goalie David Chant but quickly ran out of real estate. The Dogs settled with a 2-2 draw to earn their first point of the season.A couple of tough, one goal loses to Brampton and Belleville would follow. In the 8-7 loss to Belleville, Mississauga trailed 8-3 midway through the final frame. A four-goal outburst in just five minutes had the Bulls back on their heels. The Dogs continued to press for the tying goal but came up just short in their gutsy rally. The club finished the month of September by skating to their first win of the regular season. A five-point night from top NHL prospect Jason Spezza secured a 6-4 win over the previously undefeated Sudbury Wolves.Defensive zone play was spotty in the first four starts but a high powered offense kept the score close in most contests. A major contributor to the offense was the IceDogs’ productive power play. The five-man unit was firing on all cylinders and ranked among the leagues best.Dateline:
-(Sept. 27/00) Rookie Patrick Jarrett sets an IceDogs single game record with 6 pts. (1g, 5a) in an 8-7 loss to Belleville.
October 2000 (1W-8L-1T) The first few games of October offered similar results to those contested in late September. They get off on the wrong foot with a 7-3 loss to the Petes and a heartbreaking 6-5 defeat at the hands of the Barrie Colts. Then, with a powerful Plymouth team in town, the Dogs came up with a very spirited team effort. Whalers top gun, Stephen Weiss, opened the scoring early in the second with a bank shot off scrambling IceDogs goalie Michael Mole. Spezza answered for the home team midway through the period on a pass from playmaker Chad Wiseman. Mole then shut the door to pick up the first star in a well deserved 1-1 tie. The squad traveled to the Air Canada Centre the following day and capped off their most productive weekend of the season with a thrilling 5-4 win over the St. Michael’s Majors. Once again, a very efficient power play led the attack depositing three of the five markers. The win brought their overall record to a promising 2-4-2. At this pace the third year club could easily surpass last years franchise record of 21 points in a season. Mississauga’s third game in as many days, with the Guelph Storm in for a Sunday match-up, proved to be too much. Just as the club appeared to be turning the corner they fell into a terrible six game slide.Poor defensive coverage and neutral zone give-aways contributed to 36 goals against in those six loses. The offense continued to put up respectable numbers but could not erase the costly mistakes committed in their own end.Dateline:
-(Oct. 5/00) OJH.com poll selects Patrick Jarrett as “Player of the Week” for Week 2 action.
-(Oct. 25/00) Mississauga acquired rights to veteran left-winger John Dean from North Bay. The Dogs give up their 10th round pick in 2002 for leadership and experience.
-(Oct. 26/00) The club sends it’s 6th round 2003 priority selection to Windsor for rugged defenceman Mark Ridout. The 6’0″ 200 pound blueliner had seven goals and 15 assists in the 99-00 season with the Spits.
-(Oct. 30/00) Mississauga IceDog forward Patrick Jarrett was honoured as October’s OHL “Rookie of the Month”. The Soo native led all rookies with 22 points in 14 games.
November 2000 (0W-7L-2T) The prospect of a new month could not cut the string of loses for the stumbling hockey club. A lack of on-ice results soon led to off-ice distractions. The most notable in the form of an unhappy star. Jason Spezza’s demand to play for a contender led to one of the biggest trades in the OHL in some time. On November 15th the team gave the third year star his wish and pulled the trigger on a trade that would send him to Windsor. The deal with the Spitfires was not popular and outraged many of the IceDogs supporters. They wanted immediate payback for their “franchise” player and did not see the future of the deal. The trade sent Spezza to the Spits for four players (forwards Ryan Courtney, Mike James, Tyler Eady and defenceman Steven Rawski), two 2001 priority selections and the rights to all NHL draft and development money pertaining to the young prospect.
Although that deal stands out, the IceDogs front office had a very busy month reformatting the team for the future. Rugged defenceman Brett Angel joined Jason Spezza in Windsor just days after the blockbuster deal. In return, Mississauga received a sixth round pick in 2002 and an eighth rounder in 2003. On November 21, two days after the Angel trade, Mississauga sent forward Dan Sullivan to Owen Sound for a tenth round priority selection in 2001. The 19-year-old right winger had only 1 assist in nine games before leaving the team.It was a difficult time for the IceDogs and disappointment was evident in all levels of the organization. The team could not end a long, winless spell, as on-ice chemistry needed more time to develop. Management seemed to use much of the remaining games in November to evaluate the their acquisitions and set up the new look Dogs. The team proved they could play without their former captain and salvaged November with two ties against the Frontenacs and Greyhounds. Dateline:
-(Nov. 2/00) Sarnia’s Andrew Sim was claimed off waivers to help the clubs’ goaltending woes.
-(Nov. 24/00) Patrick Jarrett selected to join Team Ontario for the Under 17 Challenge in Nova Scotia from Dec. 29/00 – Jan. 5/01.
December 2000 (0W-9L-2T) A 3-3 tie with the Barrie Colts to get December rolling gave the club a short two game unbeaten streak (0-0-2) and three ties in four games. The ensuing eight game stretch that led to the Christmas break was not the gift Dogs were hoping for. The young squad stumbled to a 0-7-1 record before joining family for the holidays. Shortly after the holiday break the team announced the departure of its leading scorer Chad Wiseman in a deal with the Plymouth Whalers. Wiseman, a 19-year-old draft pick of San Jose, is not certain if he will be back in the OHL next season. In return, Mississauga picks up first year power forward Nathan O’Nabigon and a third round selection in 2002. The 6’1″ 185 pound O’Nabigon is a former Soo Thunderbird (20g, 26a, 46pts) and linemate of current IceDog Patrick Jarrett. The pair provides a solid one-two punch and are expected to lead the team for several years to come. Dateline:
-(Dec. 8/00) Goaltender Andrew Sim sidelined indefinitely with a shoulder injury. Team recalls (G) Rob Garrick from Wexford Raiders Tier II Jr. A
-(Dec. 13/00) Tough defenceman Sean McMorrow was traded to the Kingston Frontenacs for fellow guard Matt Timmins. Both players were pointless at the time of tried.
January 2001 (Present) The IceDogs began 2001 where they left off dropping a 7-0 decision to the host Frontenacs. Two days later, in Mississauga, the club finally snapped a 27 game winless (0-23-4) skid with their best performance of the year. Solid play in all aspects of the game allowed them to celebrate a 3-0 victory against a talented St. Mike’s club. Brandon Robinson’s first period goal was all the Dogs needed to knock off their divisional foe. That performance was followed up with a strong forty-minute effort against the Peterborough Petes. An energetic squad jumped ahead of the visiting Petes to grab a 3-0 lead heading into the final stanza. The closing twenty minutes saw that lead soon dissolve and the contest eventually finished in heartbreak less than a minute into overtime. Thirty-eight seconds into the extra frame Peterborough forward Eric Staal intercepted a pass and broke down the right wing. Stall fired a low shot between Rob Garrick’s pads to complete the comeback and spoil the IceDogs earlier effort. Two nights later in Oshawa, another solid effort went for not as the home side pulled off a close 2-1 victory. A third period power play goal off the stick of Generals’ defenceman Kevin Mitchell stole the game away from the visitors. The losing streak reached four games as the Windsor Spitfires and Plymouth Whalers proved to be too much in their home rinks. A 7-1 loss to Windsor where former IceDog, Jason Spezza, collected three assists in the first meeting since the trade. The visiting Dogs did not fair well the following night in Plymouth as the West Division leading Whalers handed Mississauga a convincing 9-2 defeat.Although, the team has been forced to play the roll of the spoiler a lot earlier than hoped, they will benefit as talented young players will get the chance to soak up much valuable ice time. Most of the current team is eligible to return next year and this will be an enormous asset to the organization. We should see the IceDogs take their first big steps next season and push towards the franchise’s first visit to the post-season. Dateline:
-(Jan. 3/01) Rob Garrick records first shutout in team’s three-year history with 3-0 win over Majors.
-(Jan. 5/01) Jarrett leads Team Ontario to a Bronze Medal at the Under 17 Challenge with 9 points in 5 games.
-(Jan. 5/00) Patrick Jarrett and Brian McGrattan selected to play for OHL East All Star team against the Lebel Conference All Stars of the QMJHL in Montreal on Jan. 17/01.
-(Jan. 17/00) IceDog all-star representative, Patrick Jarrett, records an assist in 8-5 loss to Lebel Conference of the QMJHL. McGrattan was unable to participate due to injury.
Stay tuned for more updates and feel free to direct your IceDogs questions this way.