Cowick, Couture, Nigro,
Lindsay, Kiriakou, Toffoli
Blunden, Martindale, Nesbitt
Smith, Anderson, Carnevale
Scratches: Schinkelshoek, Sonnenburg, Cuma (knee), Hanes
The IceDogs served notice very early that they had plans to win this series with a goal just 52 seconds into the game when Buffalo prospect Drew Schiestel picked up his own rebound and popped in the net.
Ottawa shook it off and, once again, Thomas Kirakou scored first for Ottawa just two minutes later when he knocked the puck out of mid air and into the net. Martin Paryzek and Cody Lindsay got the assists.
After crisply defending a couple of penalties where Niagara was limited to just 3 shots on goal (and Ottawa has two shots on Niagara), Logan Couture gave Ottawa the lead on Ottawa's second powerplay. The first shot went off the post but Logan was on the doorstep to pick up the rebound. Julien Demers and Anthony Nigro got the assists.
But what really set up the goal was an outstanding second effort from Travis Gibbons to keep the puck in the zone when he got the puck with his glove, tossed behind his back to his stick and passed it to Demers. From his knees!! Highlight reel stuff!
Ottawa played strongly in the first period, limiting the Dogs to just 8 shots in 20 minutes. There were some great scoring chances, but Smith seemed to have luck on his side. A post and Kiriakou missing an entire open side kept the game close.
The second period period was all Niagara. They took the game to Ottawa and kept them on their heels pretty much the entire frame. When Ottawa got the puck, which didn't seem too often, they didn't know what to do with it and they ended up icing it way too often. Their hard work paid off. First, the Dogs tied it up during their third powerplay of the game when Matthew Sisca made a great cross-ice pass to a streaking Chris DeSousa put tipped it past a sliding Perugini. Perugini didn't have a chance.
Corey Cowick put Ottawa back into the lead just 8 seconds into a powerplay but that was it for Ottawa scoring.
Hamilton tied it back up and Michael Hasson gave Niagara the go-ahead on a wrap-around goal. Ottawa came out better in the third but they were unable to beat Smith. The Dogs did a good job of getting in the way.
With Ottawa on the PP in the last two minutes of the game, Perugini was pulled for the extra attacker and they were doing a good job of keeping play in the Niagara zone but Andrew Agozzino flipped the puck into the air and over the reach of Gibbons and it made in into the net for a SH EN to seal the deal.
Niagara Ice Dogs come to Ottawa and take the first game in the first round of the playoffs.
- Going deep into the playoffs is the objective of all teams but more so for the 67s as they want to send Killer off in style. But it may have turned their intensity into tension.
- Perugini seemed especially uncomfortable. He wandered a bit in the first period and narrowly avoided a couple of goals against in the process. He must have been told to stay put since he pretty much stuck to his crease for the rest of the game.
- It didn't seem like they were playing tightly as a team. Lots of missed passes, lots of mis-communication, lots of icing.
- Half of the defensive core are rookies. This was their first OHL playoff game. Paryzek didn't have such a great game either which really made it hard on the team. By the time the third period came around, Ottawa was playing pretty much with 4 D. Shifts for Hartwick and Zanetti were pretty short. Now that they have this game under their belt, hopefully they will be able to step up.
- Jeremy Smith was solid for the IceDogs but he should not pursue an acting career. Corey Cowick got pushed into him...lightly...and Jeremy fell over like a fainting goat.
Apparently not to the ref. The puck was long gone.