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by Kevin Snow / Buffalo Sabres
Niagara's Carter Verhaege was drafted by Toronto in 2013 (OHL Images)

Learn more about the Ontario Hockey League’s Niagara IceDogs, who will face the Erie Otters at First Niagara Center on Wednesday at 7 p.m. Click here to purchase tickets.

Born as the expansion Mississauga IceDogs in 1998 under owner Don Cherry, the franchise would play nine seasons in Canada’s sixth-largest city before relocating to St. Catharines in 2007. The 2011-12 IceDogs hold the franchise single-season points record with 97 (47-18-0-3).

After starting the 2014-15 campaign with six straight losses, Niagara has now won two of their last three games. They currently occupy fourth-place in the OHL’s Central Division with a record of 2-7-0 (4 pts.).

Injuries have hit the IceDogs early, as both LW Brendan Perlini (1st rd, ARZ, 2014) and D Ryan Mantha (4th rd, NYR, 2014) remain out of the lineup. Perlini led Niagara with 34 goals last season, and could still return in time to play for Canada at the 2015 World Junior Championship despite suffering a broken hand at Arizona Coyotes Rookie Camp in September.

Fourth-year C Carter Verhaege (3rd rd, TOR, 2013) has six points in nine games, while 2015 Draft-eligible LW Graham Knott leads the team with seven points (3+4) through nine games.

Other players to watch for on Wednesday include:

  • Vince Dunn, D (2015 Draft eligible) – 2-3-5 in 9 games
  • Blaine Siebenaler, D (3rd rd, CBJ, 2014) – 1-2-3 in 9 games
  • Hayden McCool, LW (2015 Draft eligible) – 0-2-2 in 9 games
  • Brent Moran, G (4th rd, DAL, 2014) – 2-6-0, 2.90 GAA, .909 save% in 8 games
Defenseman Alex Pietrangelo has become a mainstay of the St. Louis blueline, but he also posted back-to-back 50+ point season with the IceDogs from 2006-08 … Before graduating to the Boston Bruins, Dougie Hamilton was named the Canadian Hockey League’s Defenseman of the Year in 2011-12 when he scored 17 goals and 72 points in 50 games … Ryan Strome was drafted fifth overall by the Islanders in 2011, and his 73 assists in 2010-11 remain the IceDogs single-season record … Brett Ritchie (2nd rd, DAL, 2011) scored 41 goals in 53 games for Niagara during 2012-13 season, including a franchise-record five goals against Peterborough on Nov. 4, 2012.

After seven seasons in the cozy cofines of Jack Gatecliff Arena, the IceDogs moved into the shiny new 5,300-seat Meridian Centre in downtown St. Catharines last Thursday. Tickets for all Niagara home games are $25 & $35. Check for the complete schedule.

The Meridian Centre will also play host to the 2015 Canadian Hockey League Top Prospects Game on Thursday, January 22, 2015. Click here to purchase tickets.

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