Majors lack punch

TERRY KOSHAN -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 1:11 PM ET

If there was any wondering about the true value of John Hecimovic to the Mississauga IceDogs, the truculent winger made it clear last night. After taking care of the St. Michael's Majors' Chris Cunningham in the last of five first-period fights, Hecimovic scored two goals to not only give the 'Dogs a 2-1 win but sole possession of first place in the Ontario Hockey League's Eastern Conference.

"These are the games you want to play in, these types of tough, playoff-atmosphere games," said Hecimovic, who was acquired from the Sarnia Sting early in the season. "They are the ones everyone wants to watch. I love them and everyone else in our room does too. It's a rivalry (with St. Mike's) and it's fun to play in."

Chuck Barris would have been proud of The Gong Show-like shenanigans that went down in the first period. One second had elapsed before 3,777 at the Hershey Centre in Mississauga when Majors centre Darryl Boyce and IceDogs defenceman Dave Pszenyczny dropped their gloves in what was an obvious premeditated scrap. There were three more fights before Hecimovic threw Cunningham around like a rag doll. Not including misconducts, referee Ryan O'Neill called 83 minutes in penalties in the first.

"I think they wanted to send us a message," Majors coach Bud Stefanski said. "For the most part, it was an ugly hockey game. We had our chances. We were in four times all alone on (goalie David) Shantz and he shut the door four times."

Last night's festivities were the latest in a season-long feud between the IceDogs and Majors, who could meet in the first round of the playoffs. IceDogs captain Patrick O'Sullivan was ejected last night for a checking-from-behind major on Scott Lehman in the first period. In the second, the Majors' Colin Power was ejected for cross-checking Kyle Quincey in the mouth. Both incidents will be reviewed by the league.

"It's pretty funny," O'Sullivan said. "It's not like I am known for my physical play. I touch (Lehman), he falls down and it looks like he got shot. He comes out the next shift, plays the power play and gets into a fight. Take what you want out of that."

The IceDogs (32-19-12-1) have 77 points, one more than the Peterborough Petes, and are atop the conference for the first time this season. Shantz, who filled in for a sick Michael Ouzas, was stellar, and showed he still has the form that helped the IceDogs go to the final last year.


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