IceDogs shock Colts in opener
Tucker Tynan, seen in this file photo, made 26 saves as the Niagara IceDogs defeated the Barrie Colts Thursday in Barrie. Photo by: VIVID EYE PHOTOGRAPHY.
The Niagara IceDogs could not have asked for a better start to the season.
Playing their first regular season game since March of 2020, the IceDogs upset the Barrie Colts 4-1 in the Ontario Hockey League opener for both teams Thursday in Barrie.
“Unbelievably proud of those guys,” IceDogs coach Billy Burke said. “It starts with (goaltender) Tucker (Tynan) who was outstanding. Huge saves, timely saves.”
Burke feels team chemistry is already a plus.
“Just a real great feeling on the bench, just a feeling of togetherness. That was a great feeling and the guys are very excited right now,” he said.
The IceDogs were up against former coach Marty Williamson and a Colts squad who was ranked fourth overall in the pre-season Canadian Hockey League top 10 rankings.
“We absolutely know that they’re very good team and they have the ability to score in waves and score many different ways,” Burke said. “But I think that’s a real strength of our team, to have a little bit of a collective chip on our shoulder. I don’t think we’ll be intimidated by too much. That doesn’t mean obviously we’re going to win every night, but I really don’t think that we’ll be intimidated by anybody in the league.”
Rookie Aidan Castle gave Niagara a 1-0 lead with his first OHL goal five minutes into the game for the only goal of the opening period.
The IceDogs added to their lead in the second when import Danil Gushchin scored at the 9:12 mark. Later in the period, rookie Juan Copeland collected his first OHL goal, converting a nifty pass from Cam Snow.
Rookie Pano Fimis continued the trend with his first OHL goal three minutes into the third.
The Colts finally got one by Tynan halfway through the third when Oskar Olausson, just back from San Jose Sharks camp, beat Tynan from the face-off circle.
Niagara outshot Barrie 31-26 and scored the game’s lone goal with the man advantage.
Burke was thrilled to see so many rookies chip in right off the bat.
“I could go on and on about all the all the rookies, but I thought Castle was flying. That was a great goal to get us going,” Burke said. “Fimis got better every shift and really had a strong third period, probably his best period as a IceDog.”
Burke also singled out Copeland and Declan Waddick for their fine play.
“They’re just 16-year-olds and they don’t care about anything. They made plays and have great hands. It was a huge goal by Copeland tonight.”
The IceDogs welcome the Oshawa Generals Saturday at 7 p.m. in their home opener.
Ice cubes: Mason Howard, Issac Enright, Anthony Agostinelli, Jonah DeSimone, Ethan Sims and Joey Costanzo did not dress for Niagara.
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