• Brandon Caputo

Formidable Bulldogs defeat Undermanned IceDogs

By: Brandon Caputo

(@Caputz13_AGM)

Photo Credit: vivideyephotography


Coming off a hard fought 3-2 road loss on Friday Night vs a formidable Mississauga squad, the IceDogs return home to face a bitter rival in the Hamilton Bulldogs, in another matchup in the "Canine Cup." It has been extremely one-sided this season as Hamilton have won all 6 matchups so far this season. Hamilton currently sit 2nd place in the Eastern Conference with a record of 31-11-2-2 while the IceDogs sit 10th place with a

14-28-2-1 record.


Both teams at different points of their development: Hamilton traded away multiple assets to acquire the likes of Mason McTavish and Arber Xhekaj at the OHL's Trade Deadline, while the IceDogs moved on from a few players for picks as they continue to develop their young roster moving forward. The Bulldogs are led by their captain

C Logan Morrison who has 22 goals and 49 assists for 71 points in 40 games this season.


Good news for the IceDogs as they came off a strong 6-3 victory on home-ice on Thursday vs the North Bay Battalion. A great night for the recent call-up Lucas Littlejohn who scored 2 goals in his 1st OHL game, while star forward Danil Gushchin scored 2 goals and added 2 assists in the victory. The IceDogs will be without their leading scorer Gushchin as he sustained an undisclosed injury on Friday Night vs the Steelheads.


Today will be a daunting task for the IceDogs who will be without a plethora of players going up against a very stout Bulldogs team, who will be contenders for the OHL Championship this season. Out of the lineup for the IceDogs will consist of: F Danil Gushchin, F Brice Cooke, F Cam Peters, F Pano Fimis, F Declan Waddick, F Liam Van Loon, D Rodwin Dionicio, & G Boe Piroski.


STARTING LINEUP

LW: Juan Copeland

C: Daniel Michaud

RW: Brendan Sirizzotti

D: Dakota Betts

D: Alec Leonard

G: Joey Costanzo

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1ST PERIOD


With just about 4 minutes gone in the 1st period, Avery Hayes picks up the intercepted pass and finds captain Logan Morisson who pots in his 5th goal and 9th point vs the IceDogs this season. IceDogs D-man Sami Douglas-Najem continues to impress with his physical game as he stands up a check and from an opposing Bulldogs forward who attempted to line him up at the opponents blue-line, knocking down his man.


Anaheim Ducks prospect and recent returnee from the Olympics for Team Canada: Mason McTavish goes off for high sticking giving the IceDogs a mid-period powerplay opportunity. Nothing doing for Niagara on the powerplay, as Dakota Betts had a few open looks for point shots that couldn't find their way past Bulldogs goaltender Matteo Drobac. Drobac has been every bit impressive as Hamilton's backup this season with a 12-1 win-loss record.


Gavin White takes the pass as the IceDogs got caught puck chasing in their own end, leading to the Bulldogs 2nd goal of the game. Assists go to Morrison and Hayes who both now have multi-point nights.

The Bulldogs blow the game wide open on back-to-back shifts as Kammerer and Biondi both break through the IceDogs on defensive zone breakdowns to make it a 4-0 game in the blink of an eye. Coach Billy Burke quickly uses his timeout to try and calm down his troops as the game has quickly started to slip away in the 1st Period.


A scramble in front of the IceDogs crease after a big spralling save by Costanzo leads to pesky forward Ryan Humphrey shovelling in his 4th goal and 10th point vs the IceDogs this season, as a big thorn in the IceDogs side this season. Morrison and Hayes pick up their 3rd points of the night already on the Bulldogs 5th goal.


The IceDogs get a late powerplay as Bulldogs defenseman Nathan Staios goes off for boarding.

No real opportunities on the powerplay and the IceDogs go to the room looking to regroup after going down 5-0 after 1 period of play. Shots 19-7 in favour of Hamilton.


2ND PERIOD


To start the period, Josh Rosenzweig enters the net for the IceDogs, as the coaching staff try to shake things up to jumpstart the team for the middle stanza. Arber Xhekaj takes the pass from the corner and cuts in to roof it top shelf on Rosenzweig to make it a 6-0 lead. Castle has a good 2on1 opportunity with Struthers but a good blocker stop by Drobac to keep the IceDogs off the board.


Michaud with some good work down low in the Hamilton zone and pleads for a call after being taken down multiple times during the sustained pressure in the opponents end. Shortly after on the same shift, Winterton takes the pass from McTavish cutting to the net and goes backhand top shelf on Rosenzweig to make it 7-0 for the Bulldogs.


Sherk goes off for high-sticking for the Bulldogs leading to the 3rd PP of the game for the IceDogs.

Nothing once again on the powerplay chance for the IceDogs, but just as it expires Castle intercepts the pass and has another quick chance in front of the net that is stopped once again by Drobac.

Struthers finds Littlejohn on a cross ice pass in tight but is robbed by Drobac who has been on when called upon today.


A late powerplay for the IceDogs once again as Cato is shoved down by McTavish. For the 4th time today the IceDogs are unsuccessful and the loss of many key players is starting to show. Mason McTavish is able to come out of the box and rip one top shelf on Rosenzweig to increase the Bulldogs lead to 8-0.

Shots after the 2nd Period are 39-21 in favour of the visitors from Hamilton.


3RD PERIOD


Leonard goes off for tripping 36 seconds into the period, giving the Bulldogs an early powerplay opportunity.

Winterton picks up the rebound off the Staios point shot and corals it to his forehand to shovel past Rosenzweig to make it 9-0. Not much for a solid Sunday afternoon crowd at the Meridian Centre to cheer about, as they're missing so many key contributors who are not in today's lineup.


The IceDogs finally break through as rookie defenseman Wysick gets a point shot through that finds its way past Drobac to finally break the goose egg for Niagara, for his 2nd goal of the season. 1st Career OHL point on the play for Ilia Chmelevski who picked up an assist on the goal. Diaco takes pass and buries another goal in the high slot off the IceDogs missed coverage, which makes it a 10 spot for the Bulldogs on Sunday afternoon.


Daniel Michaud takes the pass from Sirizzotti to get the IceDogs on the board for the second time today.

Hamilton has their 11th goal of the game called back on a high stick late in the 3rd period.

Final score from the Meridian Centre is 10-2 in favour of the visitors from Hamilton. Niagara falls to 0-7 vs Hamilton this season. They will be back at it on Thursday and Friday for a home-and-home vs the Peterborough Petes.


Attendance: 2795 (final game of 50% capacity restrictions)


Jersey House Player of the Game: Andrew Wycisk (1 goal)

Photo Credit: vivideyephotography

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