Hunter guns down Wolves
IceDogs goalie Colton Incze. PHOTO BY: OHL IMAGES
The Niagara IceDogs made it five wins in a row but it took overtime to get the job done.
Drew Hunter scored at the 2:36 mark of extra time to give the IceDogs a 3-2 victory over the Sudbury Wolves in an Ontario Hockey League action Saturday night at the Meridian Centre.
The IceDogs are now 21-11-3-2 and are a perfect 5-0 since returning from the Christmas break.
The Wolves dropped to 11-23-5.
Hunter’s goal salvaged an otherwise mediocre effort against a hard-working Sudbury squad.
“On the whole, we weren’t very good but you have to give Sudbury some credit. They played hard and that throws us off our rhythm a bit,” IceDogs coach Billy Burke said. “I didn’t think we were great but a lot of that can be attributed to them playing well.
“It was ugly and it wasn’t our best, but we’ll find a couple of positives, a couple of teaching points, and be better tomorrow.”
Back-up netminder Colton Incze got the start between the pipes for the IceDogs and kicked out 40 shots.
“Colton has bided his time in this league and he’s ready to be a No. 1 goalie,” Burke said. “Colton probably wants that second one back but he probably stole four goals from them.”
Burke was referring to Sudbury’s second goal, a slapshot from well out by Kyle Rhodes that got by Incze’s glove hand.
“As soon as it went in, the guys were saying they really wanted to pull it out for him,” Burke said.
The IceDogs face a quick turnaround with a game Sunday at 2 p.m. against the Kingston Frontenacs.
“I’m really excited to see Kingston,” Burke said. “They are going for it and I always have a lot of respect for the teams who say they are going for it and we’ll worry about next year, next year.”
Ice cubes: William Lochead (upper body) and Bradey Johnson did not dress for the IceDogs . . . Marshall Frappier, Reagan O’Grady, Owen Gilhula, Anthony Tabak, Troy Lajeunesse and Zack Malik were scratched for the Wolves . . . The IceDogs and winger Joshua Dame (13-1-3-4) have mutually partied ways. Dame will finish the season with the North York Rangers . . . Linesman Cory Hooper hails from Beamsville.
Sudbury outshot Niagara 10-7 . . . The Wolves hit a pair of posts in the first seven minutes . . . Sudbury had the first six shots on net . . . Niagara’s first shot came at the 11:16 mark . . . The IceDogs went 0-for-2 with the man advantage.
Niagara: Matthew Philip (9) from Danial Singer and Akil Thomas at 17:28.
Niagara had a great chance to open the scoring about nine minutes in but Kirill Maksimov was turned back by Sudbury goalie Mario Culina following a perfect pass from Akil Thomas on a two-on-one . . . Minutes later Incze made several spectacular saves from point-blank range during a wild barrage . . . Niagara rookie Billy Constantinou had a solid period moving and handing the puck . . . Sudbury held a 15-11 edge in shots.
Sudbury: Dmitry Sokolov (19) from David Levin and Kirill Nizhinikov at 12:32 on the power play.
Niagara: Philip (10) from Akil Thomas and Danial Singer at 16:20.
Sudbury: Kyle Rhodes (8) from Drake Pilon and Michael Pezzetta at 17:49.
Incze was sharp early on with several kick saves . . . Singer poked a rebound wide about six minutes in following a nice save by Culina . . . For the second straight period stay-at-home defenceman Jonathon Schaefer got bold and ventured into enemy territory on an effective rush . . . Adrian Carbonara and Doug Blaisdell had a quick conversation at close quarters and nearly dropped their gloves . . . Ben Jones was thwarted on a short-handed breakaway with eight minutes remaining . . . Sudbury outshot Niagara 14-12.
Goals: Drew Hunter (3) from Ben Jones and Johnny Corneil at 2:36.
IceDogs 3 Wolves 2
BPSN Star of the game: IceDogs winger Matthew Philip with a pair of goals.
Stats pack: Shots on goal: By Niagara on Mario Culina (33); by Sudbury on Colton Incze (42); Power plays: Niagara 0-for-4, Sudbury 1-for-3; Penalty minutes: Niagara 6, Sudbury 8.
Up next: The Kingston Frontenacs visit Sunday at 2 p.m.