IceDogs drop two more
Declan Waddick provided the Niagara IceDogs with a tiny spark in an otherwise difficult weekend.
The 18-year-old forward scored a pair of goals to extend his goal scoring streak to four games as the IceDogs dropped a 5-2 decision to the Peterborough Petes at home Sunday afternoon following an 11-4 loss at Barrie Saturday night.
“Obviously, it’s nice to score some goals but it’s frustrating not winning many games,” Waddick’s said. “I look forward to winning more games than scoring more goals.”
Waddick, a second-round selection in the 2021 Ontario Hockey League draft who is eligible for the NHL draft this summer, leads the IceDogs with 28 goals after netting eight as a rookie last season.
“My confidence has gone a lot higher. I’m getting a lots of opportunities this year compared to last year,” he said. “It’s learning the league, learning the game a lot more.
“I just feel a lot better this year.”
IceDogs coach Ryan Kuwabara said it’s obvious to see Waddick’s offensive potential.
“The puck follows him,” Kuwabara said. “For whatever reason, he always seems to have the puck in the right spot and his talent it to be able to put the puck in the net whenever he gets it. I’m excited for him to continue to progress and put more pucks in the net for us.”
The two losses drop the IceDogs to 12-45-8-1 with two games remaining in the regular season.
Waddick said the IceDogs are doing their best to mesh together after a flurry of trades this season.
“Honestly, we’re just trying to get closer as a team and obviously there’s a bunch of new guys this year,” he said. “We’re just trying to build some chemistry and start playing more as a team each and every game.”
The IceDogs started out well enough Sunday scoring less than two minutes into the game when Daniel Michaud netted his 23rd of the season, but by the end of the period were trailing 3-1 after Peterborough scored three goals in less than two minutes later in the frame.
“It’s tough to put my finger on it, to be honest,” Kuwabara said of the breakdown. “We had all the momentum and gave back one and maybe got back on our heels a little bit. They’re a good team. Give them a little crack in the door and they’re going to push their way through for whatever they can get.
“That’s the tough part about what we’re learning, how important every minute is and every play is at each moment of the game. Anything can be a turning point so you have to play the game the right way.”
The Petes dominated the middle frame scoring twice while firing an incredible 30 shots at Niagara goaltender Owen Flores. Overall, the Petes held a 58-28 edge in shots.
Kuwabara acknowledged it could be easy for the IceDogs to get frustrated due to all their struggles this season.
“I don’t dwell on that but I’m sure it goes through their thought process,” he said. “I’m not sure they’ve had the life experience to know it’s going to be a new day tomorrow and you just have to put that behind you as quick as possible because you’re probably going back out.
“We want guys to have experience and play in those tough situations and you’re going to expect mistakes at times.”
With one more week of work before the final two games, Kuwabara said the teaching will continue.
“(We will be) drilling home systems and keep working on things because next year we’re going to hit the ground running so we don’t want to spend a lot of time we’re going to work on this week,” he said.
Ice cubes: Landon Cato (upper body), Gerard Keane (broken wrist), Anthony Agostinelli (concussion) Valdemar William Hull, Nathan Ribau and Andrew Wycisk did not dress for the IceDogs . . . Braydon McCallum, Zack Lewis, Michael Simpson, Shawn Spearing, J.R. Avon and Donovan McCoy were scratched for Peterborough . . . Waddick (27), Michael Podolioukh (4), Zakary Lavoie (27) and Kevin He (20) scored at Barrie Saturday . . . Representatives from the Memorial Cup committee toured Meridian Centre Sunday. The IceDogs have bid on the 2024 tournament.
Petes 5 IceDogs 2
Niagara goaltender Owen Flores with 53 saves and Peterborough defenceman Samuel Mayer with three assists and a plus-4.
Niagara IceDogs: Declan Waddick (28); Daniel Michaud (23).
Peterborough Petes: Avery Hayes (43); Connor Lockhart (26); Chase Stillman (19); Gavin White (12); Tommy Purdeller (10).
Game stats: Shots on goal: By Niagara on Liam Sztuska (28), by Peterborough on Owen Flores (58); Power plays: Niagara 1/3, Peterborough 1/2; Penalty minutes: Niagara 9, Peterborough 11.
Next up: The IceDogs are back home Saturday against North Bay and Sunday against Sarnia to conclude the regular season.
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