Despite collecting points in five of their last six games before this weekend, consecutive losses to Oshawa and Kitchener sent the IceDogs to the basement of the Eastern Conference’s Central Division; six points separate the last-ranked team in the Central Division, the IceDogs, and the division’s top team, the Mississauga St. Michael’s Majors.
Though the first period saw just one penalty for Kitchener and two penalties for Niagara, the IceDogs’ second violation of the period was a costly one. A mere seven seconds into the penalty kill, the result of a slashing minor called on Dougie Hamilton, a shot from the blue line by Cody Sol sailed over IceDogs goaltender Christopher Festarini’s shoulder. The power play goal was Kitchener’s 13th in 88 power plays this season. But just 12 seconds later, the IceDogs responded with a quick goal from overager David Pacan, his 10th of the season, off of assists from fellow overagers Alex Friesen and captain Andrew Agozzino.
The overager line of Alex Friesen, Andrew Agozzino and David Pacan continued to generate chances throughout the second period, in addition to creating several quality short-handed chances during a Myles Doan holding penalty, but Rangers goaltender John Gibson looked solid in net. Also abound in the period were hits and aggressive plays made by both teams.
The fore-checking continued for both teams to start the third period but just over five-and-a-half minutes into the period, defenseman Dougie Hamilton scored the tie-breaking goal, assisted by brother Freddie and Ryan Strome. Dougie now leads all defensemen in the OHL in points (25) by seven. The win wouldn’t come that easy for Niagara; in what could have been a devastating loss to IceDogs, alternate captain Alex Friesen was called for slashing and a ten-minute game misconduct, spending the rest of the period in the penalty box. The Hamilton’s weren’t ready to concede to the Rangers, however, and with 3:38 left in the period, Freddie Hamilton stick-handled in front of Gibson’s net following a Ryan Strome faceoff win and scored to seal an IceDogs victory.
The next game for Niagara in The Jack is next Saturday versus the Windsor Spitfires, following a game on the 11th versus the Brampton Battalion.
1. 18:29 KIT Sol (Faksa, Crescenzi) (PPG)
1. 18:41 NIAG Pacan (10) (Friesen, Agozzzino)
3. 5:37 NIAG D. Hamilton (8) (F. Hamilton, Strome)
3. 16:22 NIAG F. Hamilton (11) (Strome)
-Jen Heisel, Media Relations