The Rally Towels were in full force Saturday night as 5453 fans packed the Meridian Centre to watch the Niagara IceDogs take on the Sudbury Wolves in the final home game of the 2016-17 regular season. The IceDogs entered Saturday’s game with an opportunity to clinch a playoff spot in the Eastern Conference with a point.
The intensity of the fans was matched by the home team in the early part of the first period. Despite that, Sudbury jumped to an early 2-0 lead on a pair of unfavourable bounces against the IceDogs. Danial Singer responded later in the period with a snapshot underneath the blocker of the goaltender, getting the IceDogs on the board and back into the game. His thirteenth of the season was assisted by Kyle Langdon. After 20 minutes, the IceDogs trailed 2-1.
A continued onslaught of offensive pressure by the IceDogs forced the Wolves to take a penalty early in the second period. Oliver Castleman made them pay, scoring his eighteenth of the season from Aaron Haydon and Johnathon Schaefer to even the score at 2. Sudbury countered with a goal of their own just minutes later to restore a 3-2 lead, an advantage they maintained through 40 minutes.
The Wolves extended their lead to 4-2 less than a minute into the third period. Right on cue, IceDogs forward Kirill “The Thrill” Maksimov buried his 21st of the season to keep the game within reach on a powerplay that’s been hot of late. Linemates Johnny Corneil and Ben Jones picked up the helpers as the IceDogs continued to pursue a late game comeback. A Sudbury powerplay with less than three minutes remaining all but sealed the deal as the IceDogs came up just short by a score of 4-3.
The IceDogs regular season comes to an end Sunday afternoon as they visit the Mississauga Steelheads for a 2:00 matinee at the Hershey Centre.
Courtyard by Marriott Niagara Falls shots on goal:
Big Marco’s Pizza Three Stars of the Game:
1st star: Macauley Carson
2nd star: Aaron Haydon
3rd star: Owen Lane