Bulldogs double IceDogs
Niagara goaltender Owen Flores made 33 saves in a losing effort as the IceDogs dropped a 4-2 decision at Hamilton Wednesday. Photo by: OHL IMAGES.
The Niagara IceDogs returned to action for the first time in 18 days Wednesday and came out on the losing end of a 4-2 decision versus the Hamilton Bulldogs in Ontario Hockey League action at the FirstOntario Centre.
The IceDogs, who dropped to 7-17-3-1, had not played since a 2-1 victory over Mississauga Dec. 10.
“It is always tough to come back and be at the same level you were when you left,” IceDogs coach Ryan Kuwabara said. “I thought though the break was good for our group to reset and get ready for the second half. We just have to continue to make those small improvements in our game to be successful.”
The Bulldogs grabbed a 1-0 lead late in the first period when Lucas Moore scored.
Newcomer Zakary Lavoie, making his Niagara debut after being acquired in a trade with Mississauga before the Christmas break, got the IceDogs even at 1-1 just eight seconds into the second period. The Bulldogs regained the lead later in the period when Braeden O’Keefe netted his third of the season at the 11:44 mark.
Patrick Thomas gave the Bulldogs a 3-1 lead with his sixth of the season early in the third before Lavoie quickly responded with his second of the game just over two minutes later.
Niagara had ample opportunity to tie the game with a pair of late power plays but had the second man advantage cut short when Gerard Keene was assessed a slashing penalty. With just over 30 seconds to play, Hamilton goaltender Matteo Drobac made a nice save of Aiden Caste before Ryan Humphrey sealed the deal with an empty net goal.
“I liked our effort for most of the game but thought we needed to be better on our details and work harder on the goals we gave up. But I liked how we kept pushing the pace to get back in the game,” Kuwabara said.
Niagara netminder Owen Flores had a solid game with 33 saves.
Former Pelham Panther Florian Xhekaj collected two assists for the Bulldogs and now has seven goals and 13 points in 30 games.
The IceDogs are back in action Friday at home to Erie in the first of a home-and-home series with the Otters.
Ice cubes: Rodwin Dionicio (World Juniors), Landon Cato and Evan Klein did not dress for Niagara . . . Andrew Wycisk returned to the lineup for Niagara following an extended absence . . . Michael Podolioukh was held scoreless in his Niagara debut after being picked up from North Bay . . . The IceDogs game versus the Sudbury Wolves from Saturday, Dec. 17 has been rescheduled to Wednesday, Jan. 18 at 7 p.m. at the Meridian Centre. Digital tickets issued for the game will be reissued the week of January 18. Physical tickets will also be honoured for the rescheduled games, and will not need to be reprinted or reissued. All tickets from Dec. 17 can be exchanged for future regular season IceDogs home games by contacting the IceDogs at least two business days before Jan.18. There are no refunds.
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