February 22, 2016

67's fall 4-1 to the IceDogs, drop 4th straight

After a leak inside the arena forced the hockey game to be postponed on Saturday, the Ottawa 67’s were back in action tonight to host the Niagara Ice Dogs for the final time this season.

Brendan Perlini scored two goals and added an assist to lead his Niagara IceDogs to a 4-1 victory over the home team Ottawa 67s. The two Eastern Conference rivals are almost neck-in-neck in the standings and fighting for the same goal. With the win, Niagara leap frogs Ottawa in the standings and sit in a 3-way tie for 4th in the East, while the 67’s drop to 7th.

The loss is the 67’s 4th straight and 4th straight against inter-conference teams. With only 10 games remaining in the regular season, every point is important and inter-conference points are crucial.

“We got to go out and figure out a way to sick together and battle together and we’ll get out of this,” said 67’s head coach Jeff Brown.

Aleksandar Mikulovich (off a screen) and Dante Salituro (shorthanded give-and-go) exchanged first period first period goals for a 1-all tie in a pretty tame first period.

But that’s where it ended.

After only 4 minutes of penalties in each the first and third periods, the 67’s and IceDogs combined for over 70 penalty minutes in the middle frame. Of those minutes, there were 6 fighting majors, 1 five-minute major, 2 ten-minute misconducts and a game misconduct. You could say that these two dislike each other.

Fighting has always been uncharacteristic for the 67’s. Before tonights game, they had 16 fighting majors all season which was good for 3rd least in the OHL. To put this in perspective, the Kingston Frontenacs have the most with 56 fighting majors.

The first fight started with Hudson Wilson coming to the aid of teammate Evan de Haan after Anthony DiFrusia caught him with a hard hit along the boards. Next fight came with Nick Pastorious coming to the aid of Ben Jones after Stephan Falkovsky leveled him near the boards. Both fights were a result of clean hits. Ironically enough, it was Pastorious who sent a suicide pass down the ice for Ben Jones to accept.

After several fights, scrums and a handful minor penalties, the IceDogs came ahead with a goal to lead the 67’s 2-1 going into the third. It was Perlini’s first of the night and the eventual game winner.

Jordan Maletta scored early in the third period for a 2-goal lead, but the 67’s regrouped and fought hard.

“I thought at times we played pretty good tonight. There was no quit in us in the third period,” said Brown. “We could have got right back in the game and then they go down one time and score, it’s heart breaking for our guys.”

Brendan Perlini put the game a little more out of reach with his second of the night midway through the third. Despite throwing 13-shots at net in the final 20 minutes, the 67’s were unable to capitalize and Alex Nedeljkovic stood on his head to preserve the 4-1 IceDogs win.

“They’re a good team. It’s only a matter of time until they show it in the standings and the playoffs. They’re big, they’re deep, they’re fast, they’re smart up front,” said Brown “They just got three lines that can hurt you.”

“They play us hard. They kind of have our number right recently. Hopefully we won’t see them again.”

It’s another short turn around for the Ottawa 67’s as they travel to Kingston on Wednesday night to take on the first place Frontenacs. They return back home to host the Sudbury Wolves on Friday and London Knights on Saturday.

Game summary.

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