Looking to crack a three-game losing skid, the Steelheads travelled to St. Catharines Thursday night to pay a visit to their central division rivals, the IceDogs. The Steelheads have had an undesirable start to the season, coming into tonight’s game 1-7-0-0 while the IceDogs were (6-2-1-0); good for second place in the central division standings.
Jacob Ingham made his sixth start in goal this season for Mississauga, while Stephen Dhillon made his ninth for Niagara. The ‘Dogs second ranked power play unit would have an early opportunity as Steelheads’ defenceman, Merrick Rippon would head to the box to serve two minutes for tripping. The ‘Dogs capitalized on the man-advantage as Danial Singer scored his fourth of the season from Oliver Castleman and Matthew Philip. 20 seconds later, the Steelheads answered back as Shaw Boomhower notched his third of the season from Albert Michnac and Trent Fox at 4:57. Two minutes after Boomhower evened the score, Philip Tomasino restored the ‘Dogs lead with his first of the season and first career OHL goal. Andrew Bruder and Bradley Johnson picked up the assists. Late in the frame, Zach Shankar gave the ‘Dogs a two-goal cushion, tapping home his second of the season. Niagara led 3-1 after the first period of play and outshot the Steelheads 11-7.
Early in the middle frame, Singer would head to the box for high-sticking, giving the Steelheads an opportunity on the man-advantage. Mississauga capitalized as Boomhower scored his second of the night from Jacob Moverare and Thomas Harley to bring the Steelheads back within one. At 12:02, the ‘Dogs responded with a power play goal of their own, from Kirill Maksimov, to restore their two-goal lead. Akil Thomas and Castleman assisted on Maksimov’s fifth of the season. Each team exchanged their fair share of penalties in the second, but the score stayed locked at 4-2 heading into the final frame. The Steelheads outshot the IceDogs 11-8 in the second period.
An early penalty would prove costly to the Steelheads as Castleman capitalized on another Niagara man-advantage to put the IceDogs up 5-2. Singer and Philip assisted on Castleman’s third of the season. Hoping to keep things within reach, Ryan McLeod, Adam Varga and Keean Washkurak connected on an odd man rush to bring the Steelheads back within two. Washkurak’s second of the season came at 7:48 of the third. Moments later, Elijah Roberts restored Niagara’s three-goal lead from Maksimov and Thomas. The eventual game-winner was Roberts’ first of the season and first as an IceDog. The Steelheads outshot the IceDogs 17-10 in the final frame, but were unable to get anything else passed Dhillon as the IceDogs skated to a 6-3 victory.
The Steelheads will be back on home ice tomorrow to host the North Bay Battalion for a 7PM start.