DiGiacinto, Poliziani and Caruso line leading the attack
While it’s very early in the season, the line of Christiano DiGiacinto, Cole Poliziani and Corey Caruso is already making some noise in the Ontario Junior Hockey League.
That fast-skating line amassed 13 points in the Red Wings’ 8-4 win over the Burlington Cougars at the Dave Andreychuk-Mountain Arena on Monday night.
There also seemed to be a bit of a buzz among the 200 plus people in the stands, something the Hester Street rink hasn’t seen in a number of years and it was the Red Wings’ second win in a row after opening the season with a 4-1 victory in Burlington last Saturday.
“We came prepared,” said DiGiacinto, 17, who scored four goals in the Monday night victory and quite possibly could have added another goal or two had he not been ejected for head contact with just under seven minutes to play in the third period. “All three of us worked really hard.”
Seventeen-year-old Caruso scored a goal and added three assists, while Poliziani, who turns 16 on Sept. 25, picked up five assists and all three are among the league scoring leaders.
DiGiacinto and Caruso have been playing together for several seasons.
The two are graduates of the Hamilton Huskies-Reps organization, while Poliziani played AAA major midget hockey in Guelph last season.
Ryan Laufman, Connor Bramwell and Jason O’Connor scored the other Hamilton goals.
Jeremy Gottzmann scored twice forBurlington while Tyler Lepore and Neil Aird added one goal each.
Corey Foster stopped 30 shots in the Hamilton net.
Shawn Jeffery made 11 saves in the Burlington net.
Jeffery was pulled early in the second period after the Red Wing’s fourth goal and replaced by Brock Novak who stopped 24 shots.
While the speed and attack style of the young Red Wings club overwhelmed the older Cougars team at times, Red Wings head coach John McDonald said there’s a lot of room for improvement.
“We took too many penalties,” McDonald said. “I thought there were times where we sat back and watched Burlington play.”
The Cougars were most effective, particularly in the second half of the second period, when the slowed the play down.
“As soon as Burlingtonstarted to grind us down, we stopped our feet movement,” said McDonald, who noted he had to constantly remind his players to keep moving on the ice.
The Red Wings killed off two penalty situations where they were down two players.
Burlington was 0 for 9 on the power play while Hamilton scored twice with the extra player.
McDonald noted Foster and Mark Sinclair who was in goal in Saturday’s win, have looked good so far and he plans to keep alternating them.
“As long as they both keep playing like this, we’ll let them both play,” McDonald said.
With two practices this week before the Red Wings host Kingston on Monday at 7:30 p.m., McDonald said he was planning to work on a variety of systems including the power play and penalty killing schemes.
Former Hamilton Red Wing and Mountain resident Peter LeBlanc dropped the puck at the ceremonial face-off prior to Monday night’s game. Now a member of the Hershey Bears of the American Hockey League, LeBlanc was slated to attend the training camp this week of the Washington Capitals, the Bears’ NHL affiliate.