IceDogs "Hooked" By Steelheads
Updated: Nov 20, 2021
Written By: Kyle Akitt (@JustKyle51)
Photo Credit: Brandon Taylor/OHL Images
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The Niagara IceDogs were back in town at the Meridian Center to take on the Mississauga Steelheads in Game 15 of the IceDogs season and they looked to start a streak in the right direction. Coming off a 3-2 win last Saturday versus the Oshawa Generals, the IceDogs looked to make it 2 in a row and continue a win streak into Saturday when they take on the Barrie Colts and on Sunday when they face the North Bay Battalion, who sit 2nd place in the Eastern Conference going into tonight.
The IceDogs made some OHL news earlier in the day when they made a trade with the Hamilton Bulldogs, acquiring forward and Left Winger Liam Van Loon for a 2024 8th Round Draft Pick. Van Loon brings a veteran presence to this very young IceDogs team and some playoff pedigree as he was part of the 2018 Hamilton Bulldogs OHL Championship Team that went to the Memorial Cup. Van Loon surprisingly started this game against Mississauga which saw him on a line with 2nd Overall Pick in the OHL Draft Pick Pano Fimis and Pano's AAA teammate Aidan Castle on Right Wing.
Photo Credit: Terry Wilson/OHL Images
Going into this game the IceDogs would run into the issue of having a fully healthy team and making the necessary healthy scratches for the first time this season. The IceDogs get their #1 Centreman Jake Uberti back in the lineup, after serving his 2-game suspension. We would see scratches to Landon Cato, Ryan Struthers, Declan Waddick, AJ Cook and Juan Copeland. The big name is Landon Cato, who has been a very big part of the IceDogs lineup and defensive core this season, contributing most in the penalty-killing department.
Cameron Butler (RW)
Jake Uberti (C)
Danil Gushchin (LW)
Isaac Enright (D)
Dakota Betts (D)
Tucker Tynan (G)
All eyes were on newly acquired forward Liam Van Loon this period as being the new addition to the IceDogs, the fans and especially the coaching staff were looking to see what they had in the veteran player. Van Loon really brought out his physical side of the game out in the first period, connecting with a few hits and making some defensive plays. It definitely will take a few games but it looks like Liam will be a great addition to the IceDogs lineup.
On the other hand, the rest of the period didn't go as the IceDogs planned. The IceDogs struggled in their own end a lot in the period, causing turnovers on occasions were goaltender Tucker Tynan had to come up big and make some saves for his team. The Steelheads came into this game with the worst penalty kill in the eastern conference but the IceDogs could not take advantage of this situation on their first powerplay of the game. Instead, it would lead to Steelheads forward Ty Collins scoring on a breakaway pass shorthanded and putting Mississauga up 1-0. The Steelheads would then add another goal at the end of the period by defenceman and Chicago Blackhawks 2021 4th Round Draft Pick Ethan Del Mastro and add some salt on the wound of the IceDogs heading into the second period. Mississauga would outshoot the IceDogs 17-7 in the first, something the IceDogs looked to change as the game went on.
The IceDogs would get some puck luck to start the second period with a PowerPlay goal from forward Danil Gushchin. This would mark Gushchin's 11th goal of the season and team leading goal as well. Unfortunately for the IceDogs, Mississauga would answer right back only 1 minute later from forward James Hardie, giving his team a 3-1 lead and restoring the two goal lead. Steelheads forward Zakary Lavoie would eventually get one past Tucker Tynan as well off a IceDogs giveaway which seemed to be the story of the period. The IceDogs continued to struggle with neutral zone and defensive turnovers which kept them hemmed into their own end and struggling to gain any offensive momentum.
The IceDogs would also continue to fail on capitalizing on their powerplays, with at one time gaining themselves a 5 on 3 powerplay and only coming away with a few shots on Steelheads goaltender Joe Ranger. The IceDogs would also continue to get outshot in the 2nd period with the total shots at the end of the period being 35-14 in favour of the Steelheads.
If there was a prayer to the hockey gods for some help for the IceDogs, it was not answered in the beginning of the period. The Steelheads would put away 2 more goals five minutes into the period to take a commanding 6-1 lead. The turnovers would continue to be a story and luck went from bad to worse for the IceDogs as a puck deflected by Rodwin Dionicio goes into his own net to make it a 6 goal lead. Eventually, Mississauga would score again for their 7th of the game and the story of sloppy offensive play and being outshot would be the story of the game. IceDogs were outshot 51-21 and loose by a final score of 7-1.
Jersey House Player of the Game: Tucker Tynan (G)
Photo Credit: Terry Wilson/OHL Images