Written by: Kyle Akitt (@JustKyle51)
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Game 4 of the Niagara IceDogs regular season saw the dogs taking on the Hamilton Bulldogs in the first back-to-back of the regular season. The team came off a tough loss on the road to Hamilton on Friday, losing that game 4-0. The IceDogs failed to get a single goal past Bulldogs Goaltender Marco Costantini after putting 36 shots on net and were unsuccessful on 3 powerplay attempts. The IceDogs looked to bounce back in this one on home ice against their rivals from down the QEW as the Canine Cup Challenge continues between these two teams. Tucker Tynan was back between the pipes as he looked to continue his great comeback story.
INJURY REPORT: The IceDogs will be without Cameron Snow tonight as he is dealing with an undisclosed injury. Continuing to be on the injury list is also Mason Howard, who is a big part of the defensive core and Anthony Agostinelli, who has yet to make his season start and dealing with an undisclosed arm injury.
ICEDOGS STARTING LINEUP: Jake Uberti (Center), Danil Gushchin (Left Wing), Cameron Butler (Right Wing), Isaac Enright (Defense), Rodwin Dionicio (Defense), Tucker Tynan (Starting Goalie)
The IceDogs looked to set the tone early, especially after the result of the last game. Things didn't start the way the IceDogs wanted as 20 seconds into the game, Jake Uberti collided with Avery Hayes and ended up receiving a 5-minute interference penalty and a game misconduct. The play, after multiple replays, looked very tough to call but regardless the referee's decision is what it was. The IceDogs battled through and were able to kill the long penalty with some exceptional defensive play and not allowing too many shots on net.
The IceDogs and Bulldogs continued the back and forth matchup as the rest of the period went on and almost capitalizing on some scoring chances. The IceDogs had to improvise the forward lineups as the penalty to Jake Uberti earlier in the period led to the IceDogs only having 11 forwards. Both teams would end the period in a scoreless tie with the shots even at 7.
The IceDogs looked to start the period on the upper end and finally get on the scoreboard as at this point marked 4 periods without a goal on the Bulldogs this season. Unfortunately, it would be the Bulldogs to get on the board first and in a tough way putting in 2 goals in 30 seconds past Tucker Tynan and take a 2 goal lead early in the period. Definitely not the start Head Coach Billy Burke was looking for out of his team. The IceDogs made some interesting line changes as the period went on, including reuniting some Toronto Jr. Canadian teammates in Brice Cooke, Aiden Castle and Pano Fimis. While the line did look good on the ice, the IceDogs continued to fail on capitalizing on scoring with missing the net on 5 occasions. They would end the period with a bit of an advantage, going into the 3rd period with a powerplay.
The IceDogs would be unsuccessful on the powerplay once again leading to now 5 periods against Hamilton without a goal. The IceDogs continued some relentless pressure but struggled to find some offensive flow as the period went on. Tucker Tynan came up big for the team on a lot of chances, keeping the game from getting out of hand. Game by game it looks like he is settling more in his return to the crease. Although in this game, it didn't come with some bad luck eventually as Bulldogs player Ryan Humphrey coming out of the penalty box on a breakaway and Tucker coming all the way out to challenge and even making a diving effort but unfortunately the puck ends up in the back of the net and Hamilton went up by 3. This was a very tough pill to swallow for Niagara as this came with only 8 minutes left in the game. The rest of the game would prove not very much else as the Bulldogs would add another goal and win by a final score of 4-0.