Preview: Niagara vs. Belleville


Two of the top teams in the Ontario Hockey League will face off tonight, as the Niagara IceDogs take the ice against the Belleville Bulls this evening at 7:05 p.m.

• Niagara: 17-8-1-1, #2 in Central Division – 99 GF, 82 GA, 7-2-0-1 in last ten

• Belleville: 14-8-3-0, #2 in East Division – 60 GF, 61 GA, 6-3-1-0 in last ten

Tonight’s game is the second of four matchups between the IceDogs and Bulls this season.

Their lone meeting so far resulted in a 4-1 win for Niagara. Anthony DiFruscia and Mitch Theoret each had a goal, with Ryan Strome adding a pair for the win. Michael Curtis had the lone goal for Belleville.

They’ll meet again on January 18 in St. Catharines before returning to Belleville March 2 for their final meeting of the season.

Last season, the teams met four times, with Niagara sweeping the season series and scoring 26 goals total. Freddie Hamilton had six goals, while Ryan Strome had three goals and four assists in two games. The season series including two shutouts for Niagara, both credited to Mark Visentin, and a 10-3 win in which the IceDogs had 45 shots. (Overall, the shots total for four games: 164-104 in favor of Niagara.)

The Ice Dogs are coming off a 3-1 loss to Oshawa on Sunday. One day prior, they defeated Sudbury by a score of 6-5. Meanwhile, the Bulls are coming off a 3-0 win over Ottawa on Sunday and are now looking to uphold a four-game winning streak, dating back to November 17.

Niagara streaks & leaders: Ryan Strome leads the team – and the OHL – with 51 points in 27 games. His 34 assists are also top in the league. Brett Ritchie ranks fifth in league scoring, with 42 points in 27 games.

Belleville streaks & leaders: Defenseman Jake Cardwell, who will play his seventh game with the Bulls tonight, has a total of 19 points in 23 games this season, combined with his time from the 67s. Jordan Subban has five goals and 11 assists in 25 points, and captain Brendan Gaunce leads the team with seven goals.

After tonight, Belleville plays once more this month: a Thursday evening matchup in Peterborough, while Niagara’s last game of November is a road game in Mississauga on Friday.