Late goals sink IceDogs
The Niagara IceDogs dropped a 5-4 decision to Saginaw at home Thursday. Photo by: Alex Lupul Photography.
The Niagara IceDogs committed a cardinal sin and paid for it dearly Thursday night.
The IceDogs permitted not one, but two goals in the final minute of the second period as they dropped a 5-4 decision to the Saginaw Spirit in Ontario Hockey League action in St. Catharines.
“It’s huge,” IceDogs coach Billy Burke said of the letdown. “That certainly was quite deflating. You can’t take your foot off the gas for a second. Good teams can score in waves.
“When you play good teams, there are lessons to be learned. Puck management and when you turn it over in bad areas, good teams make you pay.”
That brief snapshot at the end of the second was an issue all game as the IceDogs had a tough night in their own end.
“It all starts in the D zone,” Burke added. “Definitely some good teaching clips to build on.
“We’re going to have to play much better tomorrow.”
The inexperience of Niagara’s blueline was exploited by a dynamic Saginaw squad which fired 51 shots at Tucker Tynan.
“In junior, you see sometimes teams are overmatched,” Burke said. “Obviously on paper we were overmatched against Saginaw so that can happen.
“Things happen fast. Guys are still trying to sort things out. You’re thinking, not skating, and that’s when you get hemmed in your own zone and give up a ton of shots.”
Saginaw dominated the opening 20 minutes, outshooting Niagara 19-7, but led jut 2-1 thanks to another solid effort from rookie netminder Tucker Tynan.
Tynan continues to impress just six games into his OHL career.
“Just outstanding,” Burke said of his rookie goalie. “We really had no business being in this game, but Tucker gave us the opportunity to pull the goalie on a night where it shouldn’t have been a one-goal game.
“After the first period the message was they’re not going to stop. We could be getting a 10-spot put up on us quickly.”
Niagara took a 3-2 lead in the second on goals by Akil Thomas and Kyen Sopa before the Spirit responded with two goals 21 seconds apart in the final minute of play to take a 4-3 lead into the third.
Cardwell’s second gave Saginaw a 5-3 lead before Oliver Castleman narrowed the gap to 5-4 with his fourth of the season. Burke then pulled Tynan for the extra attacker with just over a minute to play, but to no avail.
Ice cubes: Christian Sbaraglia (suspended, game 3 of 5), Mason Howard and Lucas Theriault did not dress for the IceDogs . . . Carter Tahk, Ivan Prosvetov, Ian Lemieux, Sebastian Bulvos, Connor Punnett and Bode Wilde were scratched for the Spirit . . . Saginaw winger David Codd is listed as David (T-Bone) Codd on the official roster given to the media . . . The Spirit have eight NHL picks on their roster . . . Former St. Catharines Falcon Reilly Webb, a native of Stoney Creek, is on Saginaw’s roster . . . Saginaw (94.1) came into the game as the top-ranked penalty killing team. The IceDogs were second at 92.3.
Spirit 5 IceDogs 4
BPSN Star of the Game: Saginaw forward Ethan Cardwell with two goals and an assist.
Niagara IceDogs: Kyen Sopa (4); Oliver Castleman (4); Jake Uberti (2); Akil Thomas (1).
Saginaw Spirit: Cardwell 2 (1, 2); Damien Giroux (5); Mitchell Smith (2); Nicholas Porco (2).
Game stats: Shots on goal: By Niagara on Marshall Frappier (19), by Saginaw on Tucker Tynan (51); Power plays: Niagara 0-for-3, Saginaw 1-for-3; Penalty minutes: Niagara 8, Saginaw 8.
Up next: Home to Kingston Friday.
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