IceDogs Win in a Shootout "Nail-biter"
Written by: Kyle Akitt (@JustKyle51)
Edited by: Brandon Caputo (@Caputz13_AGM)
Photo Credit: Brandon Caputo
Only 4 games from the midway point of the OHL season, the Niagara IceDogs were back at the Meridian Centre for another home game in front of the many bristol board signs designed by the IceDogs faithful; as the current government restrictions continue to prevent fans from entering the arena. It was only a few days ago that the Ontario government announced that on January 31st, sporting arenas can return to a 50% capacity.
As it stands right now and beginning February 1st, games will be played with 500 fans in attendance.
The 500 tickets to this game will be determined by a lottery system, which you can refer to this article on niagaraicedogs.net for all information needed on how the lottery process will go: UPDATE: Lottery System for Season Ticket Holders & New Capacity Restrictions – Niagara IceDogs
The North Bay Battalion came into this game sitting in 3rd place in the OHL Eastern Conference and hold the season record against the IceDogs, winning 2 out of the 3 games so far. This would be another matchup pinning the Top 2 picks from the 2020 OHL Draft against each other in Defencemen Ty Nelson (Drafted #1 Overall) for North Bay and Forward Pano Fimis (Drafted #2 Overall) by Niagara. The pair also happened to be teammates for the Toronto Junior Canadiens in AAA before being drafted.
The IceDogs were looking to continue to stay in the positive trend that they have been in as of late, winning 3 games in the last 6, 2 losses in regulation, and 1 in overtime.
(LW) Liam Van Loon
(C) Cameron Peters
(RW) Brenden Sirizzotti
(D) Landon Cato
(D) Dakota Betts
(G) Josh Rosenzweig
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It was still an eerie feeling in the arena without any fans in attendance to start this game, at least for us as media members. The screams and hollers of the players echoed throughout the Meridian Centre through the first period. It would be North Bay to strike first as a scramble in front led to Battalion forward Owen Van Steensel scoring and making it 1-0. For the rest of the period, the IceDogs would be chomping at the bit but would have to settle being down by a goal heading into the second period.
The IceDogs would finally get on the board early in the 2nd period as a rolling puck in front of Battalion goaltender Dom DiVincentiis bounced off a few sticks and skates in front and ended up in the back of the net to tie the game at 1 apiece. The goal was credited to IceDogs forward Danil Gushchin who now leads the team with 23 goals this season and also team-leading 37th point.
The IceDogs and Battalion would trade goals before the period came to an end with forwarding Anthony Agostinelli scoring his 2nd goal of the season and forward Mitchell Russell scoring his 21st. The IceDogs goal was a beautiful set up by IceDogs forward and 39th overall pick in the 2021 OHL Draft Declan Waddick, who is continuing to get better as his rookie season has gone on.
Nearing the end of the period, the IceDogs would lose their leading scorer Gushchin for the game, taking a
5-minute major and game misconduct for an illegal check to the head of Battalions goaltender Dom DiVincentiis. This would be an unfortunate incident as the IceDogs would lose Danil for the rest of the game and North Bay would need to replace Dom with backup goaltender and Montreal Canadiens prospect: Joe Vrbetic.
The IceDogs started the third period on the right foot, killing off the 5-minute major from Danil Gushchin. The IceDogs and Battalion would battler hard in an intense third period that saw a lot of back and fourth chances for either side but not capitalizing on ay scoring chances. NOTE: The story of the game was the put-together of Anthony Agostinelli, Declan Waddick and Ryan Struthers. All 3 players showed tremendous effort throughout the game and looked the most impressive, as the team fed off that energy and goal contribution from their 4th line.
A very high intense overtime period would follow this already exciting game. Both teams with some very good chances and the IceDogs with the biggest chance of them all with 20 seconds left in the period which saw the IceDogs celebrate a goal or so it seemed. The referees would review the play and determine the goal post was knocked off before the puck went into the net. The IceDogs and Battalion would battle out the last 20 seconds and go right into the shootout.
Anthony Agostinelli Shootout Goal
Liam Van Loon Shootout Goal
Brice Cooke Shootout Goal
A very exciting shootout that went 6 rounds would commence with a goal by rookie forward Brice Cooke and a save by Josh Rosenzweig would lead to an IceDogs win! A very great game by the IceDogs and chalking up another win at home during this period without any fans in the arena.
Jersey House Player of the Game: Declan Waddick
Photo Credit: Terry Wilson/OHL Images