'Dogs, Troops tied at top

TERRY KOSHAN -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 8:42 AM ET

Cody Bass is not about to start worrying about how the puck goes in the net, just as long as it does.

Especially when he scores and it helps wrest sole possession of first place in the Ontario Hockey League's Central Division from the Brampton Battalion.

"I'll take a goal any way I can get (one), it's as simple as that," Bass, a forward with the Mississauga IceDogs, said after his weird score yesterday helped the IceDogs beat the Battalion 4-3 before 4,803 Ontario Hockey League fans at the Brampton Centre. "This game was huge for us. It's a confidence boost to come in here and win."

Bass' centring pass late in the second period was re-directed into the Battalion net by Brampton defenceman Phil Oreskovic. The goal gave Mississauga a 3-2 lead at the time and helped kill a renewed sense of momentum among the Brampton players.

It was just the 11th goal of the season for Bass, who was slotted 38th among skaters in North America by NHL Central Scouting in its mid-term rankings for the next entry draft.

Although Bass has not recorded a ton of points -- he has 26 in 60 games -- he is developing into a fine defensive player. The IceDogs' first-round choice in 2003, Bass, who took part in the top prospects game in Vancouver in January, was on the ice for the final minute and a half yesterday as the Battalion tried desperately to tie the game.

"Cody's basic role is to be a good, solid shut-down guy, but he is an important player for us because he is committed at both ends of the ice," said IceDogs coach Greg Gilbert, who was as impressed with his team's catching of the Battalion.

"These guys have gutted it out and they have found a way. I'm proud of them."

Tom Zanoski, Kyle Quincey and Anthony Butera also scored for the IceDogs. For Brampton, Luch Aquino had two goals and Ryan Oulahen one.

The crowd was the second-highest in Battalion history, just behind the 4,835 who attended when the London Knights visited on Feb. 17.

The IceDogs (30-19-12-1) and Battalion (31-21-9-2) have 73 points apiece but Mississauga has a game in hand. The clubs meet again at the Hershey Centre in Mississauga on March 18 on the final weekend of the OHL's regular season.

"A rivalry can't be a rivalry until you have two very competitive teams, and there's no doubt both of these teams are good," Battalion coach Stan Butler said. "It was a big loss, but we can't lose sight (of the next two weeks)."


Videos

Photos