MISSISSAUGA -- If hockey really does come down to goaltending and defence, then the Mississauga St. Michael's Majors should be in great shape this Ontario Hockey League season.
The Majors have the best goals-against average in the OHL and while they would probably like to be scoring a few more goals themselves, there's no doubt that general manager/coach Dave Cameron's squad can prevent other teams from scoring.
They did just that last night at the Hershey Centre, as Chris Carrozzi made 22 saves to lead the Majors to an easy 4-0 win over the Niagara IceDogs, the Majors seventh win in 10 games this season.
Cameron Gaunce, Ryan Lopes, Casey Cizikas and Corey Bureau scored the goals for the Majors, who out-shot the IceDogs 42-22 and dominated the game from start to finish.
Cameron's clubs have always been noted for being stingy defensively and for being built from the goal on out, so the veteran GM/coach is more than pleased about what he's seeing so far this season.
"It starts with good puck possession," Cameron said. "You have to make sure there's no turnovers in the front areas and we did a good job with that.
"We're limiting scoring chances and getting good goaltending, and that results in fewer goals against."
Carrozzi earned his second shutout of the season and had to make maybe a half dozen tough saves among the 22 shots he faced, but he was quick to credit his teammates.
"Our team did a great job of letting me see the puck, and that allows me to do my job," Carrozzi said.
"We have a lot of depth on this team, starting in goal, so both myself and JP (Anderson) get help and you see the results in our goals-against average. It's not just the goaltending, it's the whole team playing defence."
Mississauga has allowed just 20 goals in 10 games to date and Carrozzi entered the weekend with the best goals-against average of any goalie in the OHL.
Those stats combined with the fact that the Majors have a veteran lineup have some observers suggesting it could be the Majors year to make a serious run at an OHL title.
While he's confident in his club, Cameron isn't ready to start talking title runs just yet.
"It's a cliche, but games are won on the ice, not on paper," Cameron said. "We have a lot of veterans on this team and it's obvious we're not rebuilding."
But if you want to compete with the top clubs in this league you have to be strong in every area."
Mississauga is in Guelph tomorrow.