(Photo via: gettyimages.com)
NIAGARA – The Niagara IceDogs ensured, for the time being, that they will hold that fourth spot in the OHL Eastern conference with a 4-2 win on Saturday night over the North Bay Battalion.
In what looks like it will be a first round matchup in the OHL’s Eastern conference, the Niagara IceDogs made a statement with a come from behind win over the 5th place North Bay Battalion.
Adam Thilander opened the scoring for the Battalion with his seventh of the year, coming on the power play while Kyle Langdon was sitting off for a slashing penalty. Thilander, of Skovde, SWE., scored his first in five games, the last coming on February 11th against the Kingston Frontenacs in a 3-2 loss for North Bay.
6:21 later, the Battalion added to their lead as Matthew Struthers buried his 19th of the year and 9th since joining North Bay at the January trade deadline from the Owen Sound Attack in exchange for overage forward, Brett McKenzie. Justin Brazeau recorded his second of two assists on the night on the Struthers goal. The New Liskeard, Ont., native, Brazeau, now has 69 points in 59 games this season (36 G, 33A).
With just 12 seconds left in the opening frame, Akil Thomas of Brandon, Fla., scored for Niagara, to cut the North Bay lead in half. Thomas had been held pointless in the last two games. His last points were two goals against the Peterborough Petes in a 4-3 OT loss for the IceDogs.
Sam Miletic netted his 31st of the season just 6:52 into the second frame to tie the game at 2-2. Just 5:02 laster it was Elijah Roberts scoring his 8th of the season for the game-winning goal for the IceDogs.
The game-winner for Roberts who is originally from Brampton, Ont., ended a 10 game goalless drought. The last goal came against the Ottawa 67’s back on February 2nd in a 6-5 loss for Niagara.
Ben Jones added the empty net insurance marker with 1:45 remaining in the game. The goal marked Jones’ 20th of the season, as the former 7th overall pick in the OHL Draft out of Waterloo, Ont., missed out on the score sheet last time out against the Mississauga Steelheads.
Christian Propp added the loss to his totals, bringing them down to 16-6-6 on the season. Propp made 36 saves on 39 shot attempts by the IceDogs. Propp originally from Milton, Ont., was acquired by the troops back in October when he was traded from Barrie to Owen Sound, and then flipped to North Bay.
Colton Incze picked up his 5th win of the season for the IceDogs. The Oakville, Ont., native allowed two goals on 15 shots in the opening frame, but then settled down to stop the remaining 11 Battalion shots and pick up the win, improving his record to 5-7-2 on the season. His last win came on January 27th against the Sudbury Wolves, making 29 saves on 31 shots.
North Bay will turn around and play Hamilton, on the road, tomorrow afternoon at 2:00pm at the FirstOntario Centre.
Niagara will play their 2nd of 5 straight at home, but not until Thursday night when the host the first place Hamilton Bulldogs.
First Star: #44 Akil Thomas – 1 Goal 1 Assist, +2, 4 shots on goal, 63% Faceoffs (10/16) – Niagara
Second Star: #48 Same Miletic – 1 Goal 1 Assist, +3, 4 shots on goal – Niagara
Third Star: #26 Philip Tomasino – 1 Assist, +1, 1 shot on goal – Niagara