IceDogs come up short versus Colts
The Niagara IceDogs continue to experience their share of growing pains.
The young squad turned in a spirited, but flawed effort Friday as they dropped a 6-3 decision to the Barrie Colts in Ontario Hockey League action at Meridian Centre.
The loss drops Niagara’s record to 15-33-2-1, 20th in the 20-team league, and leaves them 14 points back of the Peterborough Petes for the eighth and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.
“They’re not mistakes from a lack of caring, they’re mistakes from over-trying, if you want to put it that way,” IceDogs assistant coach Jody Hull said. “We were a little flat out of the gate tonight, but once we got going I thought we skated pretty well and generated some stuff, but it wasn’t quite enough.”
The IceDogs, who scored just over a minute into their 4-1 loss Wednesday in Erie, fell behind 2-0 just five minutes into the game on a pair of frustrating goals.
Ethan Cardwell opened the scoring on a shot from a bad angle that appeared to glance off an IceDog and past starting goaltender Joey Costanzo. The Colts then went up 2-0 when Declan McDonnell picked off an errant pass and beat Costanzo.
To their credit, the IceDogs quickly responded when Brice Cooke scored on the power play, then tied it a few minutes later when Aidan Castle scored on a penalty shot after he was hooked on a breakaway.
Castle, who was acquired before the season for four draft picks from the Oshawa Generals, also collected an assist.
The 18-year-old Mississauga native has 12 goals and 32 points in his rookie season.
“I think he’s been great for us, I really do,” Hull said. “He skates well, he sees the ice well, especially in the offensive zone. He creates slots for his teammates too because of his speed and the plays he can make.
“He’s only going to continue to get better with his development.”
Following a scoreless second period, the Colts scored twice early in the third — the first by Niagara-on-the Lake’s Tai York — to take a 4-2 lead. Brenden Sirizzotti got one back for Niagara on the power play before Beau Jelsma and York, into an empty net, concluded the scoring.
“That’s kind of the process of a young team,” Hull said. “Sometimes you have to learn how to win and make sure you’re doing the right things on a consistent basis. Sometimes you go in with the mind set that it’s going to be that shift that you get the goal, but it ends up being you give up a goal that shift because you’re not thinking the right way at that moment.
“I think that’s the challenge with our guys right now.”
The IceDogs were missing Cam Peters, Pano Fimis, Danil Gushchin and Sami Douglas-Najem.
“We always think of that, but we can never use that as an excuse,” Hull said of the injuries. “We had 20 guys dressed tonight and at the end of the day we just came up a little bit short.”
York’s two tallies give him five goals and 10 points in 28 games after beginning the season with the Cobourg Cougars of the Ontario Junior A Hockey League where he was coached by Niagara Falls native Wes Wolfe.
Another local product, 20-year-old Matteo Lalama of St. Catharines, got the nod in goal and turned back 24 shots to earn the win.
Lalama has a 3.55 goals-against average, 7-7 won-loss record, and one shutout in his rookie season.
Ice cubes: Matteo Caruso, Matthew Sredl, Ben Pickell, Jacob Frasca, Vladislav Dvurechenskii, Ryan Del Monte, Brandt Clarke and Zach Wigle did not dress for the Colts.
Colts 6 IceDogs 3
Niagara’s Aidan Castle and Barrie’s Tai York.
Niagara IceDogs: Aidan Castle (12); Brendan Sirizzotti (12); Brice Cooke (11).
Barrie Colts: Beau Jelsma 2 (22, 23); Tai York 2 (4, 5); Declan McDonnell (20); Ethan Cardwell (13).
Game stats: Shots on goal: By Niagara on Matteo Lalama (27), by Barrie on Joey Costanzo (37); Power plays: Niagara 2/6, Barrie 0/3; Penalty minutes: Niagara 6, Barrie 12.
Up next: At Kingston Sunday at 2 p.m. At Ottawa Monday at 2 p.m.
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