IceDogs beat Sarnia 6-5 on teddy bear toss night

Niagara held their teddy bear toss game Thursday night when the Sarnia Sting came to town.

The crowd didn’t have to wait long to throw their bears onto the ice.

Ivan Lodnia scored 3:23 into the game allowing the crowd the chance to litter the ice with their teddy bears.

“It’s a lot of fun being on the bench and seeing those bears come flying at you,” said Head Coach Billy Burke.

Lodnia’s goal sparked a night full of offense on both sides, with Niagara coming out on top 6-5.

Lodnia’s big night

As stated above, Lodnia scored his 14th of the season to kick off the teddy bear toss, but that was just the beginning of Lodnia’s night.

The 20-year-old would add an assist and score his 15th of the year late in the game to help the IceDogs get the win.

Lodnia leads the IceDogs with 1.63 points per game, and now has 15 goals, 16 assists for 31 points in 19 games.

He has been one the team’s best players since being returned from the Minnesota Wild.

Crazy 2nd Period

The first period ended with the IceDogs leading 2-1, the Teddy Bear toss and an Andrew Bruder fight so it was going to be a tough period to top.

Enter the 2nd period.

The middle frame saw the Sting and the IceDogs combine for five total goals in a 4-minute span, with three of those goals coming within a minute of each other.

Niagara got goals from Oliver Castleman (11th) and Andrew Bruder (7th), but were outscored 3-2 in the second 20, and headed into the third period tied 4-4.

A big win, but a big loss comes up

Lost in the all of the Teddy Bear fun and a big home win is the fact that the IceDogs are losing three players to World Junior camps in the very near future.

Kyen Sopa and Giancarlo Chanton will be heading to the Swiss camp, while Captain Akil Thomas was invited to Team Canada’s preliminary camp which kicks off on Monday.

While other teams around the CHL are also losing some of their top players to World Junior Camps, Niagara losing three players, including two of their top offensive producers will be tough to swallow.

Thomas has 44 points this season (leads the team) and Sopa has 31 points (4th on the team) and Chanton has been a key part of the IceDogs young defensive group.

The Captain put on a show in his last game before leaving for Team Canada camp, recording his 29th assist and scoring the game winning goal (15th on the season) with 48 seconds left.

“You can’t quantify how much he (Thomas) does for this team, on the ice and off the ice, he does video with the young guys,” said Burke.

“He’s just an unbelievable person, he’s a guy that I can trust in any situation.”

Thomas has already played for Canada at the U18 and U17 levels, but not the U20 level.

“I hope he goes off to Canada camp with all the confidence in the world.”

Teddy Bear Toss

The first period teddy bear toss saw more than 4,000 bears thrown onto the ice (announced by IceDogs PA announcer Rod Mawhood).

“Were going to go to the hospital either next week or the week after and give the bears out and everyone wants to go, so it’s going to be a big group of us,” said Burke.

“We’re extremely fortunate to be apart of this team and this league and to be able to give back any chance we get.”

Quick Hits

  • Elijah Roberts records 100th career OHL point
  • Tucker Tynan puts forth his nominee for save of the year

Niagara will be off until Thursday when the London Knights will visit the Meridian Centre.