IceDogs sweep Rangers
The Niagara IceDogs defeated the Kitchener Rangers 6-4 Saturday at Meridian Centre. Photo by VIVID EYE PHOTOGRAPHY.
The Niagara IceDogs wrapped up their Ontario Hockey League pre-season schedule with a sweep of the Kitchener Rangers.
The IceDogs topped the Rangers 6-3 in Kitchener Friday night before winning 6-4 in front of 1,521 fans at the Meridian Centre Saturday.
The IceDogs head coach Billy Burke reflected on the exhibition season which saw his club split six games.
“I think every week kind of had different challenges on who we had in and what we were trying to do,” Burke said. “You know, I thought we built things as a team as we went on.”
Earlier in the pre-season, the IceDogs developed a habit of giving up late goals — they permitted four in the third period in a loss to Guelph last week — but Saturday turned the tables and rallied for four goals in the third to erase a 3-2 deficit.
“Probably, not as a whole, it wasn’t the perfect game we wanted to jump off on to into the regular season, but at the same time saying that, we found a way to come back and the third,” Burke said. “It was sloppy at times for sure, definitely some cute plays, some pre-season plays we have to get out of, but the huge positive is finding a way to pull this one out against a Kitchener team that is really rolling.”
Brice Cooke, Cam Butler, Cam Peters, Declan Waddick, Jake Uberti and Andrew Wycisk scored for Niagara Saturday while Tucker Tynan was superb between the pipes kicking out 35 shots and should get the start Thursday when the IceDogs travel to Barrie to start the season versus the Colts and former coach Marty Williamson.
“He’s our guy,” Burke said of Tynan. “You know, he’s just calm, you know he is. Tuesday afternoon, Saturday night, it doesn’t matter, huge save there with the goalie out and we all know in this league — look at last (Friday) Kitchener, four goals in 40 seconds, so until that until that buzzer goes, no team in this league is ever out of it.”
The IceDogs took Sunday off and then are slated to get back to work Monday in preparation for the Thursday.
“I think we definitely need to polish up our special teams,” Burke said. “We need to polish up our face offs, work on overtime stuff, watch a lot of video, call out some bad habits.”
The IceDogs will be tested early versus the Colts who have been ranked the No.5 team in the country in pre-season polls.
“If we’re really being loose and swingy and drop passes to nobody and you know all or nothing, you know then, we’ll be run right out of that building on Thursday night. We have to be better, but very proud these guys, very inspiring to come and get this done.”
Friday in Kitchener, Cooke and Uberti each had two while Danil Gushchin and Waddick also scored. Joey Costanzo, who stopped six of 10 shots, and Josh Rosenzweig, seven saves on seven shots, shared goaltending duties.
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