When the opportunity arose for the Niagara IceDogs when they hosted the Barrie Colts on Thursday night, they did not hear a doorbell or someone knocking on the door.
Rather, their heads were filled with a chorus of every coach they’ve ever had, reminding them that good things happen when you keep putting pucks on the net.
After being held scoreless in its last two games, the OHL team’s willingness to follow that advice was rewarded – and its confidence boosted – with an 8-5 win. .
âI know what it is sometimes, I feel like the goalies are huge and you shoot in a little mouse hole,â said IceDogs head coach Billy Burke. âIt can be tough, but having someone find the back of the net, being rewarded by going to the net, being tough in front, and then getting points.
âThe guys should be feeling good for the rest of the weekend. “
Niagara took a 4-0 lead and held on to end a two-game losing streak to 2-0 against Barrie.
âIt was one of those nights in the OHL. When it was 7-5 and they were on the power play, I was like, âWho knows, this business is far from over,â said Burke. âThey have elite skills, they are well trained. It’s a strong team.
The IceDogs impressed the coach with their âgreat resilienceâ against one of the favorites to win the Eastern Conference Championship.
âTo fold, hopefully learn from it, and come away with victory and a learning experience is a great feeling,â said Burke. âYeah, that’s gone from us – we sure don’t want that to happen – but to bounce back and finish the game and get the win feels good.
“It would have really stung I think if we let this one slip away.”
striker Danil Gushchin, with three goals; defenseman Dakota Betts, with two; forwards Aidan Castle, Brice Cooke and Cameron Peters found the back of the net for the IceDogs who had just suffered a 4-0 setback in a home and away game with the Hamilton Bulldogs.
“It’s never easy not to score two games in a row,” Betts said. âWe just found the holes. We had some shots on the net tonight, and that’s what we wanted.
Burke said Betts have been âoutstanding all seasonâ for the IceDogs.
“His physique, his tenacity, his leadership, his attack,” said the coach. âHuge and timely goals for us. “
Former IceDogs GM and Head Coach Marty Williamson was back at the Meridian Center in St. Catharines for his first regular season game since returning to Barrie as GM and Head Coach in late July. ,
Williamson, 58, led the Colts to an Eastern Conference Championship in six seasons and the IceDogs to two, also in six seasons. He spent the 2016-17 season as an assistant coach for his son Sam’s Under-15 team before becoming the head coach of the Brock University men’s team.
It was the Markham native’s second game against the IceDogs since joining the Colts. Niagara clinched a 4-1 victory in the season opener Oct. 7 in Barrie.
Barrie entered the game on a two-game winning streak after starting the season 0-3.
The IceDogs took to the ice in front of an announced crowd of 3,271 hoping to return to the winning column – and find the back of the net – after being shut out in their last two games.
‘Dog Biscuits: Matteo Lalama, a native of St. Catharines and triple A graduate of the Niagara North Stars, started in goal for the Coltsâ¦ Anthony Agostinelli, D; Jonah De Simone, RW; AJ Cook, D; Mason Howard, D; Josh Rosenzweig, G; were the cuts for the Barrie. David Burri, D; Vladislav Dvurechenski, LW; Roenick Jodoin, C; Connor Punnett, D; Grayson Tiller, D; Trey Zagrzebski, AD; didn’t dress for Barrieâ¦ Ethan Caldwell, C, San Jose; Artur Cholach, D, Las Vegas; Brandt Clarke, D, Los Angeles; Oskar Olausson, RW, Colorado; Nicholas Porco, LW, Dallas; Evan Vierling, C, New York Rangers; are the NHL Draft picks on the Colts rosterâ¦ Danil Gushchin, DA, San Jose; is the NHL’s hope on the IceDogsâ¦ Rachel Hill sang the national anthem.
Ice Dogs 8
Niagara Dailies three stars of the game: Niagara, Danil Gushchin, 3 goals, 2 assists, 5 shots on goal; Niagara, Dakota Betts, 2 goals, 2 assists, 5 shots on goal; Barrie, Oskar Olausson, 3 goals, 6 shots on goal
Barrie Colts score, 2-3-1: Oskar Olausson 3 (5 PP, 6, 7 PP), Ethan Cardwell (2), Oliver Smith (3). Score for Niagara IceDogs, 3-2: Danil Gushchin 3 (2, 3, 4 EN), Dakota Betts 2 (1 PP, 2), Cameron Peters (1) SH, Aidan Castle (1), Brice Cooke (1).
Goalkeeper, penalty kicks: Barrie, Matteo Lalama, 13-9; Matthew Sbrocca, 17-14; Niagara, Tucker Tynan, 39-34
Power play, scoring chances: Barrie, 2-6; Niagara, 1-4
Penalties, in minutes: Barrie, 8 years old; Niagara, 14
Presence at the Meridian Center, St. Catharines: 3 271
Upcoming games for Niagara: Friday, at Oshawa Generals, 7:35 p.m.; Saturday, home of the Mississauga Steelheads, 7 p.m. Friday, October 29 at the Hamilton Bulldogs, 7 p.m. Saturday, October 30, home of Peterborough Petes, 7 p.m.