Another 'Ruff" Game in the Battle of the Dogs
Updated: Feb 2
Written by: Kyle Akitt (@JustKyle51)
Edited by: Brandon Caputo (@Caputz13_AGM)
Photo Credit: Vivid Eye Photography
As we head into the end of this busy week for the Niagara IceDogs, this being the third of four games played, they looked to get back into the win column coming off a 4-3 loss to the Erie Otters this past Thursday night. They would face a challenging Hamilton Bulldogs team, who coming into this game sat in 3rd Place in the Eastern Conference and hold an impressive 5-0 record against the IceDogs (the last 2 games ending in 4-0 shutout victories).
This would be the final home game for the IceDogs without the beloved fans in the building, as the next home game this coming Tuesday would finally see the return of fans back in the Meridian Centre. The Government restrictions will be lifting the IceDogs to have a total of 500 fans in the arena and hopefully more in the coming weeks, if the pandemic continues to reside and government health guidelines approve.
Both teams would be without their top stars this game as Mason McTavish for the Bulldogs is currently reporting for the Canadian Olympic Team in Beijing and for the IceDogs, San Jose Sharks prospect Danil Gushchin is still serving a suspension from the North Bay Batallion game this past Tuesday night, after colliding with the Goaltender. Both teams looked to take advantage of this situation over the other and especially for the IceDogs, who came into this game winless versus the Bulldogs in 2021-22.
STARTING LINEUP (LW) Brice Cook (C) Daniel Michaud (RW) Dylan Roobroeck (D) Isaac Enright (D) Alec Leonard (G) Jash Rosenzweig
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The IceDogs would not get off to the start they would have wanted with the Bulldogs all over the IceDogs offensively and would ultimately lead to the Bulldogs going out to a 2-0 early lead. The goals being from Forwards George Diaco and Ryan Humphrey, who has been a thorn in the IceDogs side all season with 9 points in the 5 meetings of the two teams. Both goals would at least come off some bad luck for the IceDogs and things would go from bad to worse, as a shot redirected into his own net by defencemen Isaac Enright would give Hamilton a commanding 3-0 lead.
As the rest of the period went on, the offensive pressure would continue to hammer down the IceDogs in their own end with little to no offensive chances. This led to goaltender Josh Rosenzweig coming up with some big saves and preventing the game from getting out of hand.
The IceDogs would start the period on a good note, putting some good offensive pressure on the Bulldogs early on. Unfortunately, the hockey gods would continue to press the bad luck onto the IceDogs with a tipped shot on the powerplay from Nathan Staois, tipped by forward Avery Hayes that would give the Bulldogs a 4-0 lead.
The game would continue to slip away from the IceDogs at this point.
The last goal would seem to have taken any juice the IceDogs had in this period as Hamilton would continue to put shot after on goaltender Josh Rosenzweig, even stopping a penalty shot from Bulldogs forward Giordano Biondi. High tensions between both teams would end of the period going into the third period.
The IceDogs would finally see some light at the end of the tunnel and in a span of 40 seconds, forward Liam Van Loon (10) and Dylan Roobroeck (4) would score to shorten the lead down to two and the score 4-2. The IceDogs would continue to keep up the offensive pressure but struggle a lot defensively at times, almost costing the Bulldogs to come right back and answer both goals.
Unfortunately, the Bulldogs would eventually get the nail in the coffin goal on the powerplay by forward
Jan Mysak (19) and make it a 5-2 lead with 4 minutes left in the game. With the goaltender pulled with just over 2 minutes remaining, a great individual effort by rookie centre Pano Fimis allowed rookie defenseman Alec Leonard (4) to be the beneficiary of a redirect tap in beside the net, which cut the lead to 5-3.
Jan Mysak (20) would complete the hat-trick as he potted in his 3rd of the night into the empty net, to finally seal any last ditch effort by Niagara who tried desperately to cut the lead down to one.
Jersey House Player of the Game: LW Liam Van Loon
Photo Credit: Vivid Eye Photography