IceDogs come up short in OT
The Niagara IceDogs picked up a point Thursday night, but head coach Daniel Fitzgerald was anything but pleased with the effort.
“I wasn’t happy with our performance,” Fitzgerald said following a 4-3 overtime loss to the Erie Otters in Ontario Hockey League action at the Meridian Centre. “It felt like a regulation loss; it felt like we didn’t even earn that point.”
Fitzgerald felt the club got away from what made them so efficient in a win over Flint last week.
“We have a whole lot more in the tank,” he said. “We got too individualistic and it bit us. We maybe got a little too high after the last game and came in here thinking it would be easy.
“We weren’t playing off each other, we weren’t anticipating dumps, we weren’t providing dumps. We were on our own program for a lot of the night. We had eight to 10 minutes of good hockey but that’s not going to cut it against any team in this league, let alone against stronger competition.”
Fitzgerald said he would prefer to see his charges get back to basics and simplify things.
“It’s usually one guy thinking he’s helping the team by trying to do it and doing something for yourself,” he said. “You think you’re going to score a goal or make something happen but really it has to be within the team structure. When you get away from that, it becomes egregious and you turn pucks over and we don’t have the support and we don’t have guys in the right spots because that’s not how we play and we’re not anticipating it.”
The IceDogs came into the game with the No. 3 ranked power play in the league with seven goals in their first seven games, but sputtered with the man advantage Thursday going scoreless in four opportunities, including a full five-minute advantage in the second that saw them generate perhaps two decent scoring chances.
“I think the first few reps the guys we got too individualistic, trying to help the team, but not in the right way,” Fitzgerald said. “Our last power play was a much better effort. We got more pucks through but it was probably too little, too late.
“We probably could have put that game away with that five-minute major.”
The Otters won the game when Christian Kyrou scored at the 2:35 mark of OT when the IceDogs lost a face-off in the offensive zone and the Otters quickly moved up ice.
“Maybe I’ll eat that,” Fitzgerald said. “I probably should have taken Pano (Fimis) and (Aidan) Castle off after that big rush. They got beat on the draw, back up ice. We can’t have that happen. You’re out there, you’re relied to do your job, but maybe I put them in a bad spot.”
Ice cubes: Landon Cato, Anthony Agostinelli, Andrew LeBlanc, Andrew Wycisk and Daniel Michaud (ill) were scratched for the IceDogs . . . Jacob Gibbons, Nolan Lalonde, Alex Messier, Sam Alfano and Cameron Lowe did not dress for the Otters . . . Former Thorold Blackhawk Brett Bressette had a good game for Erie with a goal and an assist and was also a plus-2 . . . Nice to see Niagara Falls native Wes Wolfe back behind the bench as an assistant coach for the Otters after a year in the OJHL.
Niagara’s Aidan Castle and Erie’s Christian Kyrou
Otters 4 IceDogs 3 OT
Niagara IceDogs: Aidan Castle (4); Pasquale Zito (3); Nolan Dann (3).
Erie Otters: Elias Cohen (4); Brett Bressette (3); Liam Gilmartin (2); Christian Kyrou (2).
Game stats: Shots on goal: By Niagara on Kyle Downey (29), by Erie on Josh Rosenzweig (33); Power plays: Niagara 0/4, Erie 0/1; Penalty minutes: Niagara 2, Erie 11.
Next up: The IceDogs are in Sarnia Saturday and Windsor Sunday.
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