Bulldogs edge IceDogs in OT
Akil Thomas picked up three points as the Niagara IceDogs dropped a 5-4 OT decision to Hamilton Thursday. Photo by: OHL IMAGES
The Niagara IceDogs secured a point Thursday night versus the Hamilton Bulldogs, but were left wondering what might have been after an odd call by officials figured prominently into the final outcome.
Arthur Kaliyev scored a power-play goal 30 seconds into overtime to give the Bulldogs a 5-4 come-from-behind victory in Ontario Hockey League action at the Meridian Centre.
Hamilton began overtime on a power play after officials called Niagara defenceman Willy Lochead for delay of game at the 20-minute mark of the third when he flipped the puck into the netting after it appeared time has expired.
Niagara coach Billy Burke didn’t want to say much on the record until he saw video of the review but did wonder how a penalty could be called for delay of game if time had expired in the period.
The controversy of that call aside, the IceDogs twice held leads in the third only to see the Bulldogs rally each time to tie the score.
“You have to be able to close that out,” Burke said. “In the big picture of the year, every point is huge.
“To be up twice in the third, it’s frustrating.”
The first-place Bulldogs let it all hang out in an attempt to create offence.
“They were clearly stretching, they were going for the home run for sure,” Burke said.
Burke would have liked to see his charges tighten up in the third.
“It’s a chess match and there is always something that went wrong to let them go, but we need to finish games at home.”
On the positive side, Niagara’s power play, which came into the game ranked 15th at 18.3 per cent, clicked for three goals.
“The power play guys worked hard. I thought we had a good week of practice with them,” Burke said. “Even when they weren’t scoring — I thought they could have had two or three Saturday night — it was only a matter of time. It was nice to see them get rewarded and hopefully they can continue this for the rest of the weekend. It certainly takes the pressure off everyone else when you can get some goals on the power play.”
Colton Incze got the start in goal and, despite giving up five goals, was solid making 37 saves, including a handful on Grade A chances.
“He was real good. No complaints,” Burke said. “I thought he made some big saves for us.”
The Bulldogs outshot the IceDogs 15-11 in the first period and scored the lone goal of the frame when Ryan Moore blasted a shot past a screened Incze.
Niagara’s offence finally came alive in the second as Ben Jones potted an early power-play goal before Akil Thomas scored to hit the 20-goal mark. Grimsby’s Brandon Saigeon tied things up later in the period with his 34th of the season before Miletic scored his 34th of the season, also with the man advantage, to give Niagara a 3-2 lead after two.
Hamilton tied the game at 3-3 seven minutes into the third before Kirill Maksimov netted his 31st of the season to put Niagara back up 4-3. Three minutes later MacKenzie Entwistle tied the game up again on a deflection.
1. Hamilton Ryan Moore (15) (Riley Stillman, Arthur Kaliyev) 12:54 (pp).
2. Niagara Ben Jones (21) (Sam Miletic, Liam Hamm) 2:46 (pp).
3. Akil Thomas (20) (Phil Tomasino, Miletic) 7:08.
4. Hamilton Brandon Saigeon (34) (Kaliyev, Marian Studenic) 9:49.
5. Niagara Miletic (32) (Ham, Thomas) 14:19 (pp).
6. Hamilton Kade Landry (4) (Nicolas Caamano, Matthew Strome) 7:49.
7. Niagara Kirill Maksimov (31) (Thomas, Hamm) 10:22 (pp).
8. MacKenzie Enstwistle (11) (Ben Gleason, Robert Thomas) 13:41.
9. Hamilton Kaliyev (28) (Thomas, Gleason) :30 (pp).
Ice cubes: Jonathan Schaefer, Ian Martin and Adrian Carbonara did not dress for the IceDogs . . . Jake Gravelle, Zachary Jackson, Narvin Mutter, Owen Burnell and Jake Murray were scratched for the Bulldogs . . . The Bulldogs are tied with Sault Ste. Marie for most NHL draft picks on a roster with nine . . . Gordon Public School did a nice job on the national anthem on city of Welland night . . . Former IceDogs Jordan Maletta has been dealt by the Columbus Blue Jackets to the Arizona Coyotes where he will going their AHL affiliate in Tuscon . . . Former IceDogs coach and general manager Marty Williamson was in attendance. Williamson has the Brock Badgers one win from a trip to the USports National Championships.
Bulldogs 5 IceDogs 4 OT
BPSN Star of the Game: Niagara forward Akil Thomas with three points.
Game stats: Shots on goal: By Niagara on Keden Fulcher (34), by Hamilton on Colton Incze (42); Power plays: Niagara 3-for-4, Hamilton 2-for-4; Penalty minutes: Niagara 10, Hamilton 10.
Up next: Home to Barrie Friday at 7 p.m.and Peterborugh Sunday at 2 p.m.