IceDogs don't have long to wait

TERRY KOSHAN -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 8:31 AM ET

There is nothing to like about losing to the Brampton Battalion, but Mississauga IceDogs goaltender Michael Ouzas chose to expose a small silver lining.

"We get them again Friday in our barn and we'll do whatever we can to get (a victory) back," Ouzas said yesterday after the IceDogs lost 3-2 to the Battalion at the Brampton Centre. "That was playoff hockey and we expect nothing less than to win. Hopefully, we can get some revenge."

There was a time not long ago when results of games between the GTA rivals meant little beyond the confines of their respective rinks. However, for the first time since both teams hit the ice in the Ontario Hockey League in 1998-99, each is simultaneously going hard at a Central Division title. The IceDogs were second in the division a year ago and the Battalion was fourth. Two years ago, Brampton won its only division crown to date and Mississauga was fourth.

Thanks to solid performances by Tyler Harrison and Luch Aquino yesterday, the Battalion marched past the IceDogs to the top of the Central. Brampton has 52 points with 23 games left in the regular season. Mississauga has 50 points, one more than the Sudbury Wolves, with 25 games to go.

"That was the biggest game of the year for us, so far," said Harrison, who scored two goals. "Beating Mississauga is always good. It was nice to get a couple of goals, but it was better to see the team get four points (in three games) in what was a pretty tough weekend."

The Battalion has averaged marginally higher crowds with the NHL lockout but, because of an influx of IceDogs fans, the game was played before a season-high gathering of 3,781. It saw Ouzas lose for the first time since Nov. 26, breaking a personal 13-game unbeaten string.

Brad Snetsinger and Daniel Carcillo scored first-period goals for the IceDogs (20-13-9-1) as they held a pair of one-goal leads. But Harrison's second of the day early in the second period was the eventual winner. Dan McDonald also scored for Brampton (22-15-6-2), and Aquino had three assists.

The 6-foot-5, 190-pound Harrison has a career-high 22 goals this season. The overager, who has not been drafted by an NHL team, is the brother of Maple Leafs prospect Jay Harrison.

"He came in here as a big, awkward, skinny kid and each year his coordination has improved," Battalion coach Stan Butler said. "I still think he has room for 30 more pounds."


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