Niagara won two of three games this weekend, with a combined total 18 goals scored for the IceDogs (40 total goals).
The IceDogs beat the North Bay Battallion 9-8 in OT, the Kitchener Rangers 7-6 in OT and lost to the Hamilton Bulldogs 8-2.
Coaches may not always love a thrilling offensive showcase, but Niagara scored 18 goals in three games without captain Akil Thomas and talented forward Kyen Sopa.
Picking up four of six points was crucial for the IceDogs who now find themselves four points back of the Sudbury Wolves for first in the Central.
Niagara vs North Bay Battallion
In a game that saw Niagara short Akil Thomas and Kyen Sopa, while facing the worst team in the league an offensive explosion was the last thing anyone expected.
Niagara and North Bay put on an offensive clinic, combining for 17 goals and 93 shots on net the IceDogs came out with a 9-8 OT win.
Mason Howard Hat Trick
Mason Howard is known as a physically imposing defenceman who punishes his opponents on a nightly basis.
He is not typically known for his offensive prowess, but against the Battalion Howard exploded for his first career OHL hat trick.
His third goal came in overtime to notch the 9-8 win over North Bay.
The defenceman now has six goals and six assists for 12 points, all career highs in the OHL.
HOWIE’S HAVIN’ A NIGHT! 🦛
— OntarioHockeyLeague (@OHLHockey) January 3, 2020
Ivan Lodnia’s 6-point Night
Lodnia earned the honour of CHL player of the night after notching a two-goal, four-assist night against the Batallion.
#CHL Player of the Night is @OHLHockey overage forward @ivan_lodnia with a 6️⃣ point performance in a wild 9-8 OT win for @OHLIceDogs giving the @mnwild prospect a new career high: https://t.co/nRJDnekDLN pic.twitter.com/vrB2SK0chf
— CanadianHockeyLeague (@CHLHockey) January 3, 2020
Lodnia has continued to help keep the IceDogs afloat while Thomas and Sopa have been overseas at the World Junior Championships.
Josh Rosenzweig notches his first career win
Rookie goalie Josh Rosenzweig was between the pipes for the IceDogs in this game.
Thanks to a 47-save performance on 55 shots the goalie was able to earn his first career OHL win against North Bay.
IceDogs vs Kitchener Rangers
As if the thrill of a 9-8 OT win wasn’t enough, Niagara followed it up with a 7-6 OT win the next night against the Rangers.
This night, the IceDogs were in a game that combined for 13 goals and 60 total shots.
For the second straight game goalie Josh Rosenzweig earned an OT victory stopping 30/36 shots against.
“He’s got a bright future, he’s big, he’s athletic, he works hard, he puts the work in in the gym and the video room,” said coach Billy Burke of Rosenzweig.
Lodnia and Phil Tomasino have big games
Lodnia followed up his six-point performance from the night before with a four-point performance (1G, 3A) against the Rangers.
After a 10-point weekend, Lodnia now has 19 goals and 27 assists (46 points) in 24 games.
He sits second on the team in goals and points, while sitting third on the team in assists. Lodnia’s impact since rejoining the team can’t be understated as he has been arguably their best player this season.
Assistant captain Phil Tomasino also had a big night against the Rangers.
Tomasino scored twice and added two assists for a four-point performance. The forward now has 22 goals and 34 assists (56 points) in 35 games.
He leads the IceDogs in goals, points, and assists this season.
IceDogs vs Hamilton Bulldogs
Hamilton scored six unanswered goals in this game to open up a 6-0 lead before Oliver Castleman got Niagara on the board.
The IceDogs couldn’t contain Isaac Nurse who recorded a hat trick in the 8-2 victory for Hamilton.
Jake Uberti a lone bright spot
In an 8-2 loss, there isn’t a lot that goes right but Jake Uberti was pretty good in this game for Niagara.
The 17-year-old scored a goal and added an assist in the loss, bringing his season totals to 10 goals and 18 points. He has already set career highs in all offensive scoring categories this season.
Niagara will play three games in three nights next week.
Thursday they host the Hamilton Bulldogs at the Meridian Centre before traveling to Kitchener on Friday and then Erie on Saturday.
– Captain Akil Thomas scored the game-winning goal for Team Canada in the Gold Medal game against Russia. The goal was Thomas’ first of the tournament.
– Kyen Sopa and the Swiss lost to Russia in the Quarter Finals