A second period collapse cost the IceDogs in their matchup with the 67’s Friday night.
Niagara led the game 3-1 heading into the second period, but 7 unanswered goals led to an 8-3 loss.
Even without Graeme Clarke, Ottawa’s high-powered offence couldn’t be contained for more than 20 minutes.
Great First Period
Niagara came out flying to start the game, the first period was an excellent display of game planning and execution.
Captain Akil Thomas scored twice, and Giancarlo Stanton scored his first career OHL goal to
give Niagara their 2-goal lead.
“We had a plan, I thought we had a great (first) period,” said Head Coach Billy Burke.
“We were doing what we wanted to do and had everybody contributing.”
Ivan Lodnia also added two assists in the first period, setting up both of Thomas’s goals.
Lodnia now has eight points in his five games since being sent down from the Minnesota Wild.
Unfortunately, the first period was the only success the IceDogs would have during this game.
Second Period Collapse
Once the puck dropped to start the second period the 67’s took over the game and showed why they are a top-10 team in the league.
“I think in the 2nd it could have been a combination of us thinking, okay it worked playing a patient style early, so now were going to try to force things and they also woke up a little,” said Burke.
“It was a bad combo.”
The 67’s stormed back in the middle frame, recording 5 unanswered goals to turn a 3-1 deficit into a 6-3 lead after 40 minutes.
Ottawa outshot the IceDogs 17-3 in the 2nd period, chasing goalie Tucker Tynan from the Niagara net.
Marco Rossi and Noel Hoefenmayer each recorded multi-point 2nd periods to help bring the 67’s back into the game.
“For us to have any type of chance to hang in there with a team like Ottawa we need to be dialed in, on the same page from start to finish,” said Burke.
Before the loss to Ottawa, the IceDogs powerplay was operating at 27% (16/59) and top-5 in the league.
Niagara had five powerplay opportunities against the 67’s and couldn’t manage a single goal.
“They did a great job on the PK, very aggressive and in our faces and we just weren’t able to adjust,” said Burke.
After the game, the IceDogs powerplay unit has fallen to 9th in the OHL and is operating at 25% (16/64)
The team has relied on their powerplay success this season and will need to make sure they don’t have anymore nights like this one going forward.
Regrouping and Moving on
The IceDogs won’t have time to dwell on the loss to Ottawa, as they continue their 3 in 3 stretch Saturday against the Mississauga Steelheads.
Both teams will be eager for a win because they both suffered losses on Friday.
“When guys get on their own page and try to force things, especially guys with not a lot of pedigree in this league, you have to crawl before you can walk,” said Burke.
Heading into the next two games, Burke wants his team to play simplified and structured.
“We need to have an attitude of being simple and solid.”