Niagara native York lifts visiting Colts over hometown IceDogs
By: Brandon Caputo
Photo Credit: Terry Wilson/OHL Images
Another Central Division matchup tonight for the second to last meeting of the season between the Niagara IceDogs and Barrie Colts. Barrie comes into the game sitting 5th place in the Eastern Conference and 3rd place in the Central Division. Niagara currently sits 10 points out of a playoff spot with 4 games in hand on Sudbury, who they currently trail for that spot.
Both teams look significantly different since the last time they met before the Christmas break as the Colts moved on from Oskar Olausson and Nick Porco, while the IceDogs moved on from Cam Butler and Jake Uberti.
Both with multiple additions despite the players that were traded out. Colts rookie and Niagara native Tai York in the lineup and has a large cheering area in Section 110 of the Meridian Centre this evening of family and friends. The former Niagara North Stars U15 AAA has 3 goals, 5 assists in 27 games so far in his rookie season.
Barrie will be without star defenseman Brandt Clarke , however, as he awaits his fate for an unfortunate illegal hit in the teams last game. Clarke leads the Colts in points with a staggering 54 in only 47 games from the backend. With Clarke out of the lineup, they will be led by RW Declan McDonnell with 47 points in 44 games & defenseman Nathan Allenson who has 45 points in 47 games.
Niagara come into this game after a tough loss in Erie on Wednesday Night hoping to build off a strong effort the last time they were in front of their home crowd, which was a 4-0 win last Sunday vs a formidable Mississauga Steelheads team. Niagara are still without leading scorer Danil Gushchin who has 55 points in only 37 games and star rookie forward Pano Fimis who has 27 points in 40 games, both out with injuries.
LW Brice Cooke
C Declan Waddick
RW Anthony Agostinelli
D Alec Leonard
D Rodwin Dionicio
G Joey Costanzo
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Early unfortunate bounce for the IceDogs as San Jose Sharks draft pick Ethan Cardwell fires a pass off an IceDogs skate and it redirects past Costanzo to give Barrie an early 1-0 lead, just over a minute into the game.
A very bad turnover in the defensive zone leads to a quick 2on1 right in front of Costanzo and Tabak is able to find McDonnell for the tap in. 2-0 Barrie just over 5 minutes into the period. Bad start for the IceDogs so far.
Cato gets a penalty for cross checking on the next shift and the IceDogs go to their first penalty kill.
Niagara catches a lucky break as Tabak takes a high sticking penalty on Dakota Betts fighting for positioning in front of the IceDogs net, will be a 4on4. A big stop by Joey Costanzo on Ethan Cardwell looking for his 2nd of the game as the IceDogs continue the sloppy play in the defensive end.
Some good luck comes for Niagara as rookie Brice Cooke scores once again for the IceDogs, up to 9 now on the season. The powerplay goal was assisted by Castle and Cato. Niagara back in it 2-1 and get on the board just past the halfway point of the period. a solid defensive play by Dakota Betts breaks up an odd-man rush for the Colts that was turning into a dangerous 2on1 opportunity.
Betts goes off for holding late into the 1st Period on a call that the team does not like whatsoever battling in the corner. The IceDogs are able to kill off another penalty, standing strong for the second time tonight.
Aidan Castle is able to split the defenseman and go in on a breakaway; he's hauled down and is awarded a penalty shot on the play. Castle goes in and is able to beat Lalama to tie the game up 2-2.
Period ends with the shots 17-8 in favour of the Colts, but tied on the scoreboard.
Brice Cooke takes the nice backhand pass from Dylan Roobroeck but Lalama comes up with the big save to rob the rookie of his 2nd of the night. A close call as the puck get in behind the Colts net minder but he sprawls back to stop it on the crease. Niagara gets a powerplay out of the play, but Barrie is able to kill it off.
Punnett is called for a high hit to the head on Aidan Castle and the IceDogs go back to a powerplay.
Sirizzotti has a chance on the man advantage, but just misses the net going far side blocker.
The rest of the period does not produce many high dangerous scoring chances but both goaltenders are making the routine saves that they need to make in a tied contest. Shots 30-19 in favour of the Colts.
The period begins with Tai York scoring a goal on a bouncing puck that flubs bar down on Costanzo to give the Colts a 3-2 lead. Next shift Barrie comes right down and Jelsman is able to score once again to stun the IceDogs crowd with 2 quick goals to start the 3rd period.
Niedenz goes off for tripping on Alec Leonard in the neutral zone and the IceDogs will go back to the man advantage. Brenden Sirizzotti is able to take the shot from the high circle and go far blocker side to give the IceDogs another powerplay goal on the night, getting Niagara back within one goal. Assists to Van Loon and Agostinelli.
Niagara looks to have gained some momentum off of that powerplay goal as Sirizzotti finds Dakota Betts with a cross ice pass and walk-in shot that is stopped by Lalama. Dylan Roobroeck draws the penalty on the next shift battling for the puck and the IceDogs at the halfway point of the period will be on the man advantage with a chance to tie the game.
A crazy bounce off the boards behind the IceDogs net after a rim around attempt by Ethan Cardwell allows Jelsma to bat in the Colts 5th goal of the night to make it a multi-goal lead once again.
Brice Cooke goes off for high sticking with just under 5 minutes to play in the 3rd period as Barrie will try to kill more time off the clock. That plan is all for not as Anthony Agostinelli splits the defense and is tripped by Allenson, which takes Barrie off the powerplay.
IceDogs pull the goaltender with about 2:45 left on the clock to make it a brief 6on4 advantage.
Brenden Sirizzotti skates back hard at the end of his shift to make a diving stick stop on the open net, keeping the IceDogs within 2 goals and the Niagara-on-the-Lake native Tai York gets his 2nd of the night into the empty net to a corus of cheers from a local section. 6-3 final for the Colts. Shots 37-27 in favour of Barrie.
IceDogs will be back at it on Sunday in Kingston and Monday in Ottawa.
Jersey House Player of the Game: Aidan Castle (1 goal)
Photo Credit: Terry Wilson/OHL Images