St. Catharines, Ont. – Both Maurizio Colella and Ty Dellandrea extended their point streaks to four games and both Luke Cavallin and Garrett Forrest saw time between the pipes in an 8-2 loss to the Niagara IceDogs before more than 4,400 fans at the Meridian Centre Thursday.
The IceDogs kicked off scoring just over eight minutes into play. Matthew Philip took a wide-angle shot from the bottom of the left circle that was saved by netminder Garrett Forrest. The puck rebounded off the pads of Forrest and found its way out through the slot and between the circles. Bradey Johnson pounced on the loose puck and fired it home for his 11th of the season. Philip and Drew Hunter were credited with the assists on the game’s first marker at 8:02.
Niagara doubled their lead later in the opening frame when Akil Thomas centered the puck from the left-wing corner, finding defenseman William Lochead streaking in from the point. Lochead one-timed it from the right circle and beat Forest top-shelf glove side for his fifth of the season at 17:28. Daniel Singer was credited with an assist along with Thomas.
Less than one minute later, Philip scored his 15th of the season with a pair of NHL signees earning the assists. Ben Jones (Vegas Golden Knights) made the initial pass before Kirill Maksimov (Edmonton Oilers) took part in a give-and-go passing play with Philip that resulted in the third marker for the home team at 18:26.
After twenty minutes of play, the Firebirds trailed 3 – 0. Shots on goal also favored the IceDogs 21 – 6. There were no penalties called in the first period of play.
Maksimov picked up his second point of the night and team-leading 33rd goal of the season at 1:34 of the middle frame on an unlucky deflection off a Flint defender. Johnny Corneil earned the lone assist on the play that gave Niagara a four-goal lead.
The fifth foal of the contest also belonged to the IceDogs. Rookie forward Ian Martin scored his second of the season on a backdoor play at 12:22 of the second period. Justin MacPherson and Philip Tomasino were credited with the helpers.
Tomasino would then earn another assist when he streaked in on net and made a drop pass from the right side of the crease back to the trailing defenseman Liam Ham. Ham fired blocker side for his fifth of the season, scored at 15:40. Oliver Castleman collected the second assist on the play.
With 40 minutes in the books, the lead for Niagara was 6 – 0. On the shot clock, Flint had six second-period shots for a two-period total of 11. The IceDogs generated 15 shots in the middle stanza for a two-period total of 36. Both clubs were scoreless in one man-advantage opportunity during the frame.
Luke Cavallin was inserted between the pipes to start the third period. Jones banked a shot off the back of Cavallin from behind the net on the power-play to extend the lead to seven exactly two minutes in the period. Maksimov and Thomas picked up their second helpers of the contest on Jones’ marker.
The Flint deficit increased to eight on another power-play goal at 8:34 of the final frame. Philip picked up his second goal and third point of the contest, assisted by Corneil and Sam Miletic (Pittsburgh Penguins).
Jack Wismer would cancel Niagara netminder Stephen Dhillon’s bid for a shutout at 9:09 of the third. He won a footrace to a loose puck in the neutral zone and skated in on a breakaway. Wismer slide the puck between the pads for his seventh marker of the season. Ethan Keppen earned the lone assist. For Wismer, the goal was his fourth point in the past two games.
Then, Maurizio Colella took a pass from Jalen Smereck (Arizona Coyotes) with under seven minutes to play. With a burst of speed he earned a short-handed breakaway and converted for his 22nd of the campaign short side over Dhillon’s left shoulder at 13:27. Ty Dellandrea collected the second assist. The final shots on goal favored Niagara by a margin of 48 – 23.
For more information:
Director of Broadcasting & Communications
Flint Firebirds Hockey Club