IceDogs have Gens on the ropes
Niagara centre Matthew Philip collected four points to help the IceDogs defeat the Oshawa Generals 6-2. Photo by: OHL IMAGES.
A move to centre has paid off big time for Matthew Philip.
Filling in for the suspended Kyle Langdon at centre, Philip collected two goals and two assists as the Niagara IceDogs topped the Oshawa Generals 5-2.
The IceDogs now lead the Ontario Hockey League best-of-seven Eastern Conference quarter-final series 3-1 and can advance to the semifinals with a win at home Saturday in Game 5.
“It felt really good to contribute,” Philip said. “I think it was my first four-point game.
“It was good to be able to help out and for us to get the win.”
Philip centred a line between Bradey Johnson and Oliver Castleman and the trio combined for nine scoring points with Johnson adding a goal and an assist and Castleman chipping in with three helpers.
“In the playoffs, it’s the top two lines versus their top two lines,” Philip said. “It’s more the third line versus the third line.”
Niagara coach Billy Burke couldn’t say enough about how crucial that line was to the win.
“It’s so important to get secondary scoring. We can’t always be waiting on those top two lines,” he said.
Philip has played an important role for the IceDogs this season providing secondary scoring.
“He’s also played with the top guys and has really taken off in the second half,” Burke said. “He’s one of our safest players, one of our fastest players, and you always know he’s going to make the right plays.
“He knows what he is and when guys know what they are, they can really start to flourish.”
The IceDogs fell behind 2-1 after one and were outshot 16-8 in the period. Brendan Harrogate and Domenico Commisso scored for the Gens while Drew Hunter replied for Niagara with his second the playoffs.
Niagara took control in the middle period with three straight goals by Johnson, Philip and Justin MacPherson. It was MacPherson’s first goal of the season.
Philip then rounded out the scoring with his second of the game late in the third period.
Stephen Dhillon made 33 saves in goal for the IceDogs and also picked up an assist for the second game in a row.
Philip said the IceDogs would love to end the series on home ice Saturday.
“We know we’re the better team. We said after the game we don’t want to come back here (to Oshawa),” he said.
“It’s Game 7 tomorrow night. We 100 per cent do not want to go back to Oshawa at all. It’s full-on desperation mode to end this thing tomorrow and take a couple of extra days to get ready for round two.”
Ice cubes: Oshawa forward Renars Krastenbergs has been suspended for three games following a cross-checking incident involving IceDogs captain Johnny Corneil in Game 3.
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