Majors in for 'Dog-fight

TERRY KOSHAN -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 8:43 AM ET

If you're an Ontario Hockey League fan and you're looking for a nice, tranquil playoff series, you might want to look past the Mississauga IceDogs and the St. Michael's Majors.

The intense rivals, who engaged in eight knock-'em-down, drag-'em-out games in the regular season, will meet in the first round of the OHL playoffs.

"I don't expect anything different than what we saw in the regular season," Majors centre Darryl Boyce said. "We're just happy to be in the playoffs. They're going to be a tough team to play against."

True enough.

The IceDogs, despite losing 2-1 to the Sudbury Wolves last night, enter the playoffs as the No. 1 seed in the Eastern Conference, capturing the first regular-season conference title in team history.

It's also the first Central Division crown for Mississauga, which joined the OHL for the 1998-99 season. The honours will give the IceDogs home-ice advantage through at least the first three rounds of the playoffs.

The Majors will be out for some revenge. They won the conference by two points over the IceDogs a year ago but lost in six games to Mississauga in the conference final.

In the eight games between the clubs this season, Mississauga held a 4-2-2 advantage. Game 1 of the best-of-seven series is Friday at the Hershey Centre.

"It's sweet for the guys who were here last year when we let it slip away," IceDogs defenceman Kyle Quincey said. "Home ice is huge for us because a team like St. Mike's plays so well at home. We worked all year for this. It was our first goal and now our second is to win the first round."

The Brampton Battalion, meanwhile, also will get home ice in the first round after finishing fourth in the conference. Brampton will meet Sudbury, with Game 1 at the Brampton Centre on Thursday night. The Battalion was 4-3-1 against the Wolves during the regular season.

Brampton lost its regular-season finale 4-1 to the Peterborough Petes yesterday minus Ryan Oulahen. The Battalion captain suffered a rib injury against the IceDogs on Friday and was scheduled to have x-rays today.

"I'm not worried about it at all," Oulahen said. "It's a minor thing and I will be ready to go for the playoffs for sure. This is not going to keep me out. It's still sore, but I want to get rested up and heal it."

Battalion coach Stan Butler expects a close series with the Wolves, who, like the Battalion, finished with 77 points. Incidentally, Sudbury was the most penalized team in the Eastern Conference during the regular season.

"You have to respect their physical play," Butler said. "Our power play is going to have to be good and our goaltending will have to match theirs."


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