New faces play a key role in IceDogs’ 4-3 shootout win over Barrie

As the IceDogs look to form their new identity after last week’s trade deadline, the new faces of the team led Niagara to a big 4-3 shootout win over Barrie.

Christian Sbaraglia made 33 stops on 36 shots and stopped all three Colts shooters on his way to a big win over a Central Division rival.

“He’s got it in him, a highly touted goalie, a guy we were all over in his minor-midget year trying to get him here,” said head coach Billy Burke after the win.

Cam Peters, Cam Butler, Ivan Lodnia and Oliver Castleman led the way offensively and Niagara picked up the team’s first win since the trade deadline.

“They’re (shootouts) great when you win, they certainly feel weird when you lose was really proud of Sbrags (Sbaraglia), made some big saves and came up real strong in the shootout.”

With the win, Niagara jumped ahead of the Colts in the Central Division and now sits alone in third place with 37 points.

The new guys make an impact

The IceDogs acquired Cam Butler (Peterborough) and Cam Peters (North Bay) impressed playing on a line together.

Peters was making his home debut for Niagara and managed to set up Butler for his first goal as an IceDog.

“Thrilled for Butler to get that goal and Peters gets his first point here and real excited to climb the mountain with those guys,” said Burke.

Butler also added an assist on Castleman’s late tying goal in the third period.
He now has 13 goals and nine assists (22 points) on the season, and a goal and two assists in his four games since joining Niagara.

“Today was his best game by far, it’s only been four games but he’s got a couple practices under his belt now, him and Peters they’re just so positive, their personality and characteristics are exactly what we’re looking for.”

Peters, playing in his second game with Niagara, now has seven points in 40 games this season including one point in two games since the trade.

Lodnia and Castleman lead by example

After Akil Thomas, Phil Tomasino and Kyen Sopa were traded Niagara needed players to step up and fill their leadership roles.

The responsibility was thrust onto Ivan Lodnia, now captain, and assistant captain Oliver Castleman.

Lodnia and Castleman played integral roles in Niagara’s win over Barrie.

Castleman set up Lodnia’s team-leading 22nd goal of the season in the 2nd period.

In the 3rd period, down by a goal with under 2 minutes left Lodnia returned the favour. Lodnia set up Castleman who tied the game up with his 17th of the season.

Lodnia would go on to win the game in the shootout, recording the only goal between the two teams.

By recording at least one point, Castleman now finds himself with a 15-game point streak, the forward now has 17 goals and 27 assists for 44 points (2nd on the team).

Lodnia now has 22 goals and 29 assists for 51 points (leads the team in all categories), if Niagara wants to make the playoffs these two players will be a big reason why.

New identity still a work in progress

After last week’s 7-1 loss to Hamilton, Burke preached the team’s need for a new identity.

A week later, Niagara showed a glimpse of what that identity will be but it’s still a work in progress.

“You always hope you can flip a switch, and everything runs like a smooth oiled machine but I certainly saw moments tonight where we did it, and moments we didn’t,” said Burke.

“Part of an identity is doing it every time and that’s what makes us hard to play against and that’s how we’re going to win.”

The win against the Colts snapped a 4-game losing streak and Niagara will have a quick chance to earn their second straight win.

Saturday Niagara will host the North Bay Battalion at the Meridian Centre.

The puck will drop at 7 p.m. in St. Catharines as Niagara looks to build off their first win in the post-Akil Thomas/Phil Tomasino era.