IceDogs WIN BIG on Home Ice
Kyle Akitt (@JustKyle51)
Brandon Caputo (@Caputz13_AGM)
Photo Credit: Vivid Eye Photography
The Niagara IceDogs were back home at the Meridian Centre after a lengthy 6-game road trip that. A stretch that felt like an eternity since the team last played a home game on February 4th versus the Ottawa 67’s. The IceDogs would come back to a great "welcome home gift" as this would mark the first home game where the arena was allowed to have 50% fan capacity. The players were very excited to show up for their fans and play in an arena with more of the loyal Niagara fans.
With an already depleted lineup due to injuries, the IceDogs currently sat in last place in the OHL (12-26-2-1) with 27 points and sit only 8 points behind a playoffs spot. The IceDogs look to end this last quarter of the season on a high note and battle for that last spot starting with this game versus the Sudbury Wolves (15-25-3-2), who sit right behind the IceDogs with 35 pts and tied for the last playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.
The IceDogs would be feeling the injury bug in this game, returning home, as forwards Pano Fimis, Cameron Peters, Liam Van Loom(10-game suspension) as well as defencemen Isaac Enright would be out with injuries respectively. Also on the injury list would be goaltender Joseph Costanzo, so making his OHL debut in the backup position would be IceDogs prospect Boe Piroski (2021 OHL U18 1st Round Pick, 20th overall).
(C) Dylan Roobroeck (LW) Danil Gushchin (RW) Brenden Sirizzotti (D) Dakota Betts (D) Alec Leonard
(G) Josh Rosenzweig
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A very aggressive start for both teams in this one, both showing their physical play early. It would be the IceDogs to strike first and it would be a snipe from San Jose Sharks prospect Danil Gushchin that would find the back of the net for his team-leading 28th goal of the season. Sudbury would not take long to answer back as after a flurry of shots in front of goaltender Josh Rosenzweig, a puck shot by Wolves forward Ethan Larmand would tie the game at 1.
The IceDogs and Wolves would trade penalties back and forth for the rest of the period as well as scoring chances but would go into 2nd period tied at 1 a piece.
The IceDogs would begin the period with a carryover powerplay from the end of the 1st period. On this powerplay, IceDogs 6'7 forward Dylan Roobroeck would score his 5th goal of the season to give the IceDogs their 1 goal lead back. Dylan has had an impressive second half of the season and looks to end the year off with this momentum.
After a scary moment in the game that saw defencemen Dakota Betts go to the dressing room in pain, as the Sudbury Wolves would find the back of the net and tie the game at 2 with a goal by forward Nick DeGrazia.
The IceDogs would struggle to return the momentum the other way after that goal, causing Rosenzweig so come up with some crucial saves to keep the game tied at 2.
Eventually, this would catch up to the IceDogs and Wolves forward Alex Pharand would score on feed to put Sudbury up 3-2 in the last moments of the period.
Very back and forth pace to start the third period with both teams trading some close scoring chances. The IceDogs would find a way to tie the game at 3 with forward Brenden Sirizzotti scoring his 10th goal of the year with a rocket of a wrist shot past Wolves goaltender Mitchell Weeks. It wouldn't take long after this with IceDogs forward Daniel Michaud scoring his 9th goal of the year and securing Niagara's one goal lead back.
After the IceDogs take 2 crucial penalties near the end of the game and successfully killing both, forward Anthony Agostinelli got the Meridian Centre to explode scoring his 6th of the season to put the IceDogs up by two with 2:32 to go in the game.
The IceDogs would hold on for a big 5-3 victory against a Sudbury team who they are trying to chase down in the Eastern Conference standings. A victory that sends the newly allowed 50% capacity crowd at the Meridian Centre home happy on a Sunday afternoon. The IceDogs will turn around to once again face the Oshawa Generals tomorrow in a matinee matchup on Family Day, back in Oshawa.
JERSEY HOUSE PLAYER OF THE GAME: #77 Dakota Betts
Photo Credit: Vivid Eye Photography