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Majors Pick Up Piva from Generals

Toronto, Ont. (September 28, 2006) - The St. Michael's Majors have added veteran forward Matt Piva to their line-up. In exchange, they have sent an 8th round pick in 2008 to the Oshawa Generals.

The 18 year-old native of nearby Maple, Ontario is participating in his 3rd season in the OHL. After being picked up in the 7th round of the 2004 OHL Priority Selection by the Generals, he contributed 6 points in 21 games in 2004-05. Last season, the 5'11", 170 lb. centreman notched 13 points and 58 penalty minutes in 59 regular season games with the Generals. He played his Midget season of 2003-04 with the Wexford Raiders, alongside Majors defenceman Rob Kwiet.

Piva and the Majors have another busy weekend ahead. They host the Brampton Battalion this evening at 7:30 pm. Then, they embark on a home-and-home series with the Sudbury Wolves, which unfolds in Sudbury tomorrow night at 7:30 pm and Toronto on Sunday afternoon at 2 pm.

The Battalion recorded 2 wins and 1 loss last weekend and they don't seem to be missing last year's snipers, Wojtek Wolski and Luch Aquino, who have moved on to the pro ranks. Their production has been replaced by youngsters Matt Smyth and Cody Hodgson thus far. And, the backbone of their blueline corps is dependable veterans John de Gray and Phil Oreskovic. An interesting match-up to watch will be between Hodgson and Dylan O'Neil of the Majors. Both forwards played together last year with the Markham Waxers Midget squad before becoming 1st round draft picks of their respective clubs in May.

The Majors face a Wolves team that will be hungry for a win after dropping both of their home games last weekend. The return of veteran sniper Nick Foligno from the Ottawa Senators will nicely complement their group of up-and-coming forwards, such as Akim Aliu, Matt Dias and Devin DiDiomete. Also, Jonathan D'Aversa and Adam McQuaid admirably anchor their back-end.

The Majors are hoping they receive continued production from veteran forwards Justin Donati and Micheal Haley, who combined for 8 points last weekend. Also, rookies Kaspars Daugavins and Dustin Ekelman have contributed 3 points each and veterans Matt Caria, Jason Cassidy, Cassidy Preston and Steve Spade have 2 points apiece. These games will be physical, as is usually the case when Central Division rivals lock horns.

The Majors will be engaging in another game-worn jersey auction on Sunday afternoon. Former forward Ryan Rorabeck, the club's 1st round pick in 2001, will have his 2002-03 light jersey up for bid. Rorabeck collected 101 points during the regular season and 20 more during the playoffs with the Majors. The jersey will, once again, be available via the Majors merchandise table, located beneath the public address booth.

The Majors will also be conducting a food drive, in advance of Thanksgiving, this Sunday and next Thursday (October 5). Fans are encouraged to drop-off cans of food to the box provided in the arena's front lobby. They will then be donated to a local group in need.

Majors flex and season ticket packages can be purchased through the team's office at 416-651-8228. Individual game tickets are also available through the Majors, and by calling Ticketmaster at 416-872-5000, online at www.ticketmaster.ca or by stopping by the St. Michael's College School Arena box office within two hours of the puck drop.
 

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Mascot Unveiling and the Colbert Report

(Saginaw, MI) The Saginaw Spirit will be unveiling its newest mascot at 7:11 PM on Saturday, September 30th. The unveiling will be in conjunction with a message from Stephen Colbert, host of Comedy Centrals' Colbert Report.

The unveiling ceremony will be taped for a tentative Oct. 2nd airing on the Colbert Report. The Report airs on Comedy Central Monday through Thursday at 11:30 PM.

Tickets still remain for the game against the Windsor Spitfires, which will also see an Oktoberfest celebration, a magnet schedule give-a-way and a post game fireworks showcase presented by the Dow Chemical Company and the Bay Regional Medical Center.
 

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Homecoming Friday for Petes’ coach

For the first time since he left the Ottawa 67s’ bench, Vince Malette will walk back into his old rink Friday to take on a coach who helped shape his career.
Malette, head coach of the Peterborough Petes, says playing the third game of this young OHL season against Brian Kilrea and the 67s will be awkward considering his history with the team. He spent nine years as an assistant under Kilrea and attributes much of his style to the man known as Killer.
“I’m looking forward to going back, but it will be difficult,” says Malette.
“I’ve never been on the opposition side of the rink in Ottawa.”

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Tough Night for the Majors

Toronto, Ont. (September 28, 2006) - It wasn't meant to be for the Majors on this night. A slow start and some unlucky bounces cost them dearly as they fell 8-1 to the Brampton Battalion. As a result, their 2006-07 regular season record dips to 1-3-0-0.

The Battalion roared out to a 4-0 lead through 1 period of play on goals by Aaron Snow (power-play), Justin Levac (power-play), Luke Lynes and Michal Klejna. Then, a John de Gray shoot-in attempt that took a funny bounce off the glass caught Majors goaltender Chris Carrozzi off-guard and made it 5-0 for the visitors halfway through the middle frame. Rob Kwiet's power-play goal shortly afterwards got the Majors on the board. However, Snow and Conor O'Donnell connected again for Brampton before the end of the 2nd period and Kevin Christmas added the finishing touch in the 3rd period.

The Majors assists went to Justin Donati and Kaspars Daugavins while the Battalion helpers were credited to Lynes, Klejna (2), de Gray (2), Howie Martin (2), Christmas, Cody Hodgson, Matt Smyth, Graham McNabb and Tomas Stryncl. The game's three stars were Snow (1st), Lynes (2nd) and de Gray (3rd).

Wayne Savage got the start in goal for St. Mike's but was replaced after the 1st period after allowing 4 goals on 15 shots. Carrozzi came on to make 14 stops of his own. The Battalion were 3 for 11 on the power-play while the Majors were 1 for 4.

The Majors try to get back to their winning ways tomorrow evening when they travel to Sudbury to battle the Wolves at 7:30 pm. Then, they return to Toronto to host the Wolves on Sunday afternoon (October 1) at 2 pm.

Majors flex and season ticket packages can be purchased through the team's office at 416-651-8228. Individual game tickets are also available through the Majors, and by calling Ticketmaster at 416-872-5000, online at www.ticketmaster.ca or by stopping by the St. Michael's College School Arena box office within two hours of the puck drop.
 

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Hounds rally for shootout win

In their third straight game on the road to begin the Ontario Hockey League season, the Soo Greyhounds rallied to take down the Windsor Spitfires on Thursday night.

Dustin Jeffrey emerged as the game hero when he beat Spitfires goaltender Anthony Guadagnolo in a shootout to give the Greyhounds a 4-3 victory.

Jeffrey, the third shooter for the Hounds, was the only player to score in the shootout.

Trailing 3-2 heading into the third period, David Kuchejda scored on the power play 8:48 into the final frame to tie up the game for the Greyhounds.

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Battalion barrage buries Majors 8-1

TORONTO - Depleted on defence, the Brampton Battalion adopted a counter strategy: Bury the opposition with offence.

Aaron Snow scored two goals and Michal Klejna and John de Gray each had one goal and two assists, powering the Battalion to an 8-1 Ontario Hockey League victory Thursday night over the Toronto St. Michael's Majors.

Luke Lynes and Kevin Christmas had one goal and one assist apiece, and Justin Levac and Conor O'Donnell also scored for the Troops, who pushed an unbeaten streak on Toronto ice to 12 games despite dressing only five defencemen because of injury and illness.

Goaltender Bryan Pitton faced 18 shots for the Troops, allowing Rob Kwiet the lone Toronto goal. Starting goaltender Wayne Savage of the Majors gave up four goals on 15 shots before being relieved by Chris Carrozzi to start the second period. Carrozzi, a 16-year-old rookie, faced 18 shots.

The Battalion moved atop the Central Division with a won-lost record of 3-1 while Toronto fell to 1-3. The Majors, beaten 8-4 by the host Barrie Colts and 6-2 by the visiting Mississauga IceDogs in their previous losses and showing nothing but chippiness, looked destined for a long season.

The Battalion hasn't lost at Toronto since Oct. 24, 2002. Since then, the Troops have an 11-0-1 won-lost-tied record on Majors ice. The Battalion has won seven straight since a 1-1 tie Feb. 28, 2004.

The Troops, who led 4-0 after one period and 7-1 after two, capped the scoring at 9:20 of the third period when Christmas connected on a shot from the right point in his OHL debut.

Snow opened the scoring on the power play at 4:01 of the first period, lofting his own rebound over Savage after taking a pass from behind the goal line from Cody Hodgson. The goal came with seven seconds left in a hooking penalty to Jason Cassidy, a former member of the Troops.

Levac scored his first goal of the season with the man advantage at 7:41, driving off the right wing and tapping his own rebound home. Lynes and Howie Martin drew assists.

Lynes made it 3-0 when he took a pass from Martin on the right wing and scored inside the left post from the slot at 11:01 for his second goal of the season.

Klejna was credited with the fourth goal, at 19:54, when de Gray's shot from the left point hit Klejna in the foot and deflected behind Savage.

Defenceman de Gray fired the puck off the right-wing glass on a power play and, when the disc caromed inside the left post, it caught Carrozzi leaving his crease to play it in the corner to his left. It was de Gray's first goal since Jan. 30, 2005.

Defenceman Kwiet replied for Toronto on the power play at 10:09 before Snow scored his third goal of the season at 13:14, taking a pass from Christmas, just out of the penalty box, and backhanding a shot behind Carrozzi from close range.

O'Donnell scored 22 seconds later for his first OHL point, then was punched repeatedly in the face by Kyle Neuber while linesmen Todd Dawdy and Matthew Traub looked on impassively. Klejna went to O'Donnell's aid, drawing a roughing penalty, while Neuber received a roughing call, fighting major and game misconduct.

Kriss Grundmanis was assessed a major for checking from behind against Lynes at 15:14, putting the Troops up two men for 3:22, but a merciful Battalion coach Stan Butler cycled through his lines during the numerical advantage.

Battalion scratches were Ken Peroff, Phil Oreskovic, Stephane Chabot and Kyle DeCoste. Tim Billingsley, Byron Elliott and Cassidy Preston were scratched for Toronto.

The Battalion hosts the Colts at 7:30 p.m. Friday.

BATTALION NOTEBOOK: Attendance at the St. Michael's College School Arena was 743 ... The Battalion went 3-for-11 on the power play. Toronto was 1-for-4 ... Defencemen Oreskovic and Chabot were sidelined with ankle injuries stemming from a 4-3 victory Sunday at Sudbury. Oreskovic hurt an ankle in the warmup. Early in the game, Chabot aggravated a turned ankle suffered in fitness testing Aug. 30. Rearguard Peroff has flu ... Levac scored two goals in 24 games last season as a rookie ... Martin and Graham McNabb had two assists each ... Rookie Hodgson, who contributed one assist, failed to score for the first time this season ... Opening Battalion line combinations included centre Hodgson with left winger Snow and right winger Matt Smyth, Martin between left winger Lynes and right winger Levac and McNabb centring left winger Mike Lomas and right winger Klejna. John Seymour skated between left winger Cody Smith and right winger Jason Dale. Left winger O'Donnell was the 13th forward ... Smith returned after missing two games with a groin injury ... Right winger Jason Cassidy, who spent two seasons with the Troops, played against them for the first time. The Battalion traded Cassidy to the Sarnia Sting on June 27 for a third-round pick in the 2008 OHL Priority Selection, and Sarnia moved him to the Majors the same day ... Hodgson and Dylan O'Neil, Toronto's first-round pick in the OHL Priority Selection last May, were teammates last season with the Markham Waxers midgets ... Matt Piva, acquired Thursday from the Oshawa Generals for an eighth-round pick in the 2008 OHL Priority Selection, played right wing for the Majors ... Toronto visits the Battalion on Oct. 9.
 

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Tim Higgins Joins Ottawa 67's Coaching Staff

The Ottawa 67's are pleased to announce that Ottawa native Tim Higgins will join the hockey club as a full-time associate coach. Higgins will help run practices and serve as the team's 'eye in the sky' during games.

An alumni of the Ottawa 67's, Higgins scored 92 goals and 217 points in four seasons with the barberpoles between 1974 and 1978 before enjoying a 12 year NHL career with Chicago, New Jersey, and Detroit.

"I'm very excited to join the club where I first began my hockey career" stated Higgins.

Since retiring from the NHL, Higgins has spent the past sixteen years scouting, including six years for the Senators upon their return to the NHL and most recently with Chicago up until this past June.

"Having an individual such as Higgins in the room will benefit our players because he knows what it takes to get to the National Hockey League, and has been involved in the game at that high level so recently" added Brian Kilrea after announcing one of his former players will join his coaching staff.

The Ottawa 67's Home Opener is tonight at 7:30 p.m. against the defending OHL Champion Peterborough Petes. Tickets are still available for this evenings game which will mark the return of former 67's Assistant Coach Vince Malette who will be behind the Petes bench after spending the past nine seasons at Brian Kilrea's side.
 

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Battalion bombs St. Mikes 8-1

Aaron Snow scored twice as the Brampton Battalion battered the St.Michaels Majors 8-1 last night.

The visiting Battalion scored two power-play goals early and led 4-0 after just 20 minutes, chasing Majors' goalie Wayne Savage out of the net. He faced 15 shots.

Savage was replaced by Chris Carrozzi, who finished the game with 14 saves.

Battalion goalie Bryan Pitton ended with a 12 save performance.

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Weekend present mid-west rivalries

The Erie Otters of the Ontario Hockey League enter the second weekend of the 2006-2007 Regular Season with their eyes set on taking down two longtime rivals.

The weekend begins today in Kitchener when the Otters face-off against the Rangers (0-1) in a 7:30 p.m. contest. The game can be heard live on 1330 Erie's ESPN Radio and on-line at www.ottershockey.com (presented by the James H. Cross Company) beginning with the pre-game show at 7:15 p.m.

Saturday night the Otters return to the Tullio Arena for their 2006-2007 Home Opener against the London Knights (1-0) at 7:30 p.m. All fans are invited to get ready for the game at the Otters pre-game party outside the Tullio Arena beginning at 5 p.m. Opening ceremonies, including the debut of the Tullio Arena's new video scoreboard, begin at 7:15 p.m. Tickets for the game, as well as the remaining 33 regular season home games, are on sale now at all Erie-area TicketMaster locations as well as the Civic Center Box Office.

The Otters enter action tonight sporting a 1-0-0-1 record following a pair of road games last weekend. Erie opened the new campaign with a 5-2 win over the Spitfires in Windsor followed by a 7-6 shootout loss against the Whalers in Plymouth.

Sean O'Connor got off to a quick start collecting five points in the opening two games of the season. The veteran forward collected a pair of assists in the opener against Windsor and provided a goal and two assists against the Whalers. Justin Hodgman and Andrew Hotham were also front-and-center offensively. Hodgman had a goal and three assists in the first two games while Hotham scored three times.

The Rangers opened the season with a 3-2 home ice loss to the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds last Friday and have been idle since. Mike Duco and Nick Spaling each had two points in the game.

The Knights opened their season with a 6-3 victory over the Saginaw Spirit last Friday. Newly named captain Robbie Drummond paced the London attack with two goals and two assists.

2006-2007 Erie Otters Season Tickets are still available. Reserve your seats now and save big over the Box Office price. Platinum level tickets are $376.74, Gold level tickets are $328.61 and a Child (12 and under) Season Ticket in any seating level is $230.48. All prices do not include the City of Erie Entertainment Tax or fees. There are additional savings for Erie Youth Hockey Association and Erie Lady Lions members.

Single game regular season ticket prices for the 2006-2007 season are $13.50 for platinum level seating and $11.50 for gold level seating. A child ticket is also available for $9.50 for children 12 and under in any seating section. All single season ticket prices include the City of Erie 3% Entertainment Tax.
 

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Thursday's OHL Roundup

Aaron Snow scored twice as the Brampton Battalion battered the Toronto St.Michaels Majors 8-1 Thursday.

The visiting Battalion scored two power-play goals early and led 4-0 after just 20 minutes, chasing Majors' goalie Wayne Savage out of the net. He faced 15 shots. John DeGray, Connor O'Donnell, Luke Lynes, Justin Levac, Kevin Christmas and Michal Klejna also scored for Brampton (3-1-0-0).

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Knights rookie off to fast start

When Tillsonburg-area farm boy Luke VanMoerkerke was drafted by the London Knights 13th in the sixth round in the spring of 2005, his junior C coach described him as a diamond in the rough.

Just how polished the Knights want him to be is a matter of degree now that he's started his rookie season in the OHL, his third in junior hockey. He was still 14 when he began playing with the Norwich Junior C Merchants of the Niagara West league.

Knights general manager Mark Hunter likes the fact that "he's a big strong kid with lots of character and an everyday work ethic."

"He came in to training camp and hasn't missed a beat. He doesn't cheat you," Hunter said.

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Homecoming for ex-67's coach

VINCE Malette will be right at home when he stands behind the visitors bench at the Civic Centre tonight.

He may also be fighting back some tears.

The rookie coach of the defending OHL champion Peterborough Petes brings a 1-1 team to Ottawa for the 67's home opener. If having 12 first-year players in the lineup doesn't present challenge enough, Malette will have to fight distractions from the non-slippery side of the boards.

For the previous nine seasons, he served as Brian Kilrea's assistant coach, along with Bert O'Brien.

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Greyhounds fall to Windsor

The Windsor Spitfires got their first point of the season in a 4-3 shootout loss to the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds Thursday.

Dustin Jeffrey and Jacob Lalonde both scored goals for the Greyhounds. Jeffrey had two assists and Lalonde had one. Captain Cody Thorton added two assists in the game, while David Kuchejda also scored. Spitfires rookies Thomas Battani and Greg Nemisz both had goals.

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1st place Battalion crushes Toronto, hosts Barrie tonight

The Brampton Battalion Media Release

(Brampton) - The Battalion moved into sole possession of first place in the OHL's Central Division Thursday after crushing the Toronto St. Michael's Majors 8-1.

The Troops return to the Bunker tonight at 7:30 to host the Barrie Colts for the first meeting since last season's Eastern Conference semifinal series.
 

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Matthew Kang hooks up again with Peder Skinner

Matthew Kang and Peder Skinner, players who gave scouting reports on each other to their respective teams in the last year, have wound up as teammates with the Kingston Frontenacs.

Kang was in the midst of his rookie season in the Ontario Hockey League with the Owen Sound Attack when general manager Mike Futa came to him for an opinion on Skinner.

"They had heard Skinner was leaving Michigan State. Futa was interested in him," said Kang, who got to know Skinner when the two played junior A with St. Michael's Buzzers three years ago.


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Petes pound Generals

Steve Downie returned to the Peterborough Petes and put on quite a show with his new linemates last night.

Unfortunately for the Oshawa Generals, that wasn’t a good thing.

Downie, Daniel Ryder and Justin Soryal each netted a pair of goals, and the trio combined for 13 points in a 7-2 win, as the Petes handed the Generals their third consecutive loss to start the OHL season.

“Those are three solid vets right there,” Generals coach/GM Brad Selwood said of the Petes’ top line. “If you don’t contain those guys, they’ll kill you and they did that tonight.”

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Downie gives Petes boost

It didn’t take Steve Downie long to make an impact upon his return to Peterborough Petes.

Downie combined with new linemates Daniel Ryder and Justin Soryal for 13 points in a 7-2 rout of Oshawa Generals before 3,155 OHL fans at the Memorial Centre last night.

The trio accounted for three goals in the first 10 minutes and were in on six of the seven. Ryder led with two goals and four assists, Downie had two goals and two assists and Soryal continued his strong play with two goals and an assist.

“I was really excited to be back playing again,” said Downie, who was returned by Philadelphia Flyers Monday. “It was a good home game and that meant a little extra. It was something special to go out there again.”

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Perlini more determined than ever

Nearly every day for the past month or so, Brett Perlini is painfully reminded he is not a member of the Soo Greyhounds.

While Perlini may practise in the same daily time slot (3-5:30 p.m.) as the Hounds, at the same athletic facility (the John Rhodes Community Centre), the 16-year-old forward never skates a stride on the same ice surface as the Hounds.

Perlini, the Hounds' third pick (41st overall) at the 2006 Ontario Hockey League Priority Selection, instead skates with the Soo Thunderbirds on rink No. 2. The Hounds, meanwhile, occupy rink No. 1. Merely two walls of cinder block and a locker room separate Perlini and his hometown team.

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Get ready Sault Ste. Marie, Steelback Centre is a thing of beauty

That elusive goose bump.

That gush of excitement.

It's what sports fans forever seek.

Now I'm not always good at predictions, but this is an easy one: Hundreds of Soo Greyhounds fans will feel that goose bump Oct. 11, when they see inside the new Steelback Centre for the first time.

On that night, their favourite hockey team ushers in both a new arena and a new era.

So far, of course, we have nothing to remember.

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Steelback unveiled

Say nature calls in the third period of a 2-2 tie, you leave your seat and just miss seeing the game-winning goal.

Or it's the middle of the second period, you get up to grab a cold beer and miss your favourite goaltender making a beautiful glove save on a wide open man in the slot.

What's a Soo Greyhounds fan to do?

Beginning soon, Greyhound enthusiasts will merely have to look up at the Steelback Centre's video scoreboard.

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