Petr Mrazek stopped 39 shots, but it wasn’t enough as the Niagara IceDogs skated to a 5-2 victory over the host Ottawa 67’s. The win gives the IceDogs a 3-1 series lead and puts the 67’s in a must win situation Friday night at the Gatorade Garden City Complex.
Despite an early powerplay chance, the Ottawa 67’s didn’t get off to a very good start. The Niagara IceDogs did a great job of keeping the 67’s to the perimeter and limiting their chances – in fact, the 67’s had no shots and no chances in the first 6 and a half minutes of the game.
However the momentum started to change once they finally got their first shot – and it was a great chance that Mark Visentin had to be ready for. The 67’s started to produce more scoring chances with help from another 2 straight powerplay opportunity. On each end of the rink, the goaltenders were solid.
It wasn’t until the 10 minute mark of the first period that the 67’s would open the scoring. With Remy Giftopolous in the box serving a too many men on the ice penaltiy, Tyler Graovac bounced the puck off the boards in the neutral zone and beat Dougie Hamilton to the net. Dalton Smith grabbed the loose puck in the slot and wired it top shelf past Visentin.
After 20 minutes, the IceDogs outshot the 67’s 15-12.
The 67’s started to get into a bit of penalty trouble in the second period and took 3 penalties in the first 8 minutes. The Ice Dogs continued to fire shot after shot and Petr Mrazek had to come up big on the flurry of pucks. While Mrazek stood on his head, the team in front of him started to collapse. After a big initial save, the puck took a weird bounce onto Andrew Agozzino’s stick. He made no mistake a tapped it effortlessly into the open Ottawa net.
After 40 minutes, the IceDogs outshot the 67’s 17-11 for a total of 32-23 IceDogs.
Focusing on the period at hand, the Ottawa 67’s regrouped in the 3rd period and started to look like they did in the first period. Off a great individual effort, Tyler Toffoli netted his 1st goal in 4 games. He deked out Jesse Graham, went backhand to forehand, and then slid it past Visentin to give the 67’s the go-ahead goal.
The IceDogs would respond. With only one man back, Alex Friesen catches a wide open Andrew Agozzino in the slot who makes a beautiful stickhandling move to get the puck past Mrazek. That was Agozzino’s second of the night.
Less than a minute later, the IceDogs would get their first lead of the game. From a defensive breakdown off the faceoff, Ottawa native David Pacan grabbed hold of his rebound as it squeezed under Mrazek’s pads. This ultimately led to the 67’s collapse.
David Pacan would tally his second of the game on the powerplay beating Mrazek on a sharp angle – a goal he would like to have back.
The IceDogs would round out the scoring with an empty net goal from Freddie Hamilton. His first in 5 games since his breakout 5 point night earlier this month.
The 67’s fall 5-2 and will try to force a game 6 in Niagara Friday night.
You can catch the action on the Team 1200 or Rogers Cable 22.
Click here for the game sheet.
Some pictures from the game: