IceDogs come up empty
The Niagara IceDogs dropped a pair of games this weekend. PHOTO BY: TERRY WILSON/OHL IMAGES
It was a rough weekend for the Niagara IceDogs.
Less than 24 hours after dropping a 5-2 decision to the Sudbury Wolves at home Saturday, the IceDogs lost 4-1 in Mississauga Sunday afternoon.
It’s only the second time this season the IceDogs have dropped two in a row. Earlier this month they lost 6-4 at Peterborough and 5-2 at home to the Wolves.
Burke chalked the losses up to a lack of offence five-on-five.
“Over a 68-game season you get hot and cold, but the big issue is we’re struggling to score goals (at even strength),” Burke said. “When the power play goes cold and the penalty kill gives up a couple, it amplifies that.”
Burke said the IceDogs need to get back to basics.
“We need more of a shot/rebound mentality,” he said. “Like in basketball when you’re in a slump you keep shooting, in baseball you keep swinging. The effort is still there, the character is still there. There’s a lot to work with, we just have to bear down around the net a little bit more.”
At the other end of the ice, Burke would like to see his club do a little more to help out the goaltenders.
“We need to take more pride in shot blocking,” he said. “If I had to pick one area of our game that I’m disappointed with, it’s our reluctance to be a better shot-blocking team. I know the guys have it, we just have to get it out (of them) a little bit.”
Burke doesn’t seem concerned the two losses will translate into a prolonged slump.
“You can lose every game in this league if you’re not desperate and compete for everything out there,” he said. “It (effort) just needs to be a little bit more consistent. We need everybody to play well. I think we’ll get the offence back and we still do a lot of things well.”
Mississauga scored the lone goal of the first period when Nicolas Canade capitalized on a two-on-one break while the IceDogs were on the power play. Canade had his first shot stopped by Stephen Dhillon but managed to poke the rebound in. The Steelheads outshot the IceDogs 13-9.
The Steelheads made to 2-0 on a power-play goal by Jacob Cascagnette four minutes into the second before extending the lead to 3-0 when Nicholas Hague scored another power-play goal. The IceDogs were shorthanded after being whistled down for too many men on the ice.
The IceDogs came out flying in the third period and finally cracked through when Danial Singer scored his sixth of the season when he poked one past Mississauga netminder Jacob Ingham.
Five minutes later Shawn Boomhower restored Mississaug’s three-goal lead with his seventh of the season.
Mississauga outshot Niagara 42-32.
Niagara is off until Friday when the visit Sudbury to being a two-week, four-game road trip. The IceDogs do not play at home again until Thursday, Nov. 16 versus Kingston.
“Sometimes it’s nice to go on a road trip. It loosens things up and brings the guys together,” Burke said. “Hopefully we can grab a couple of wins on the road the next two weekends.”
Wolves 5 IceDogs 2
The IceDogs haven’t had much luck with the Wolves this season.
The Wolves topped the IceDogs 5-2 at the Meridian Centre, the second time they have defeated the IceDogs in St. Catharines this season.
Kirill Maksimov gave Niagara a 1-0 lead with a power-play goal nine minutes in before the Wolves responded with a pair of goals by Troy Lajeunesse and Michael Pezzetta to take a 2-1 lead after one.
Owen Gihula scored a late goal to give Sudbury a 3-1 lead after 40 minutes.
Ben Jones got the IceDogs back to within one at 3-2 with an early short-handed goal in the third.
The Wolves then netted a pair of late empty net goals by Pezzetta to put the game out of reach.
Colton Incze made 25 saves and took the loss.
Jake McGrath had a solid game in goal for the Wolves kicking out 39 shots.
Ice cubes: Captain Johnny Corniel (hand) was out of the lineup this weekend. Burke is hopeful he may be able to play next week.