ST. CATHARINES — Niagara finished off its successful pre-season with a statement 6-3 victory over the Kitchener Rangers at the Meridian Centre in St. Catharines, Saturday night.
On the second of back-to-back games against the visitors, the IceDogs torched the Rangers’ defence once again, scoring six goals in both matches.
With six different goal scorers finding the back of the net, it was an all-around effort for the Dogs. For the second straight night, Brice Cooke was the first star of the game, with a goal and assist.
It wasn’t a good start for the home team, taking too many penalties to gain any kind of momentum in the opening period. Francesco Pinell, who had a three-point night for Kitchener, scored in the first period to take an early lead.
The trend continued in the second period for both teams, combining for six penalties taken. Both clubs eventually each took advantage of the power play, with one marker apiece.
Kitchener had a handful of sloppy plays, including a poor line change that led to Niagara scoring to tie the game at two.
Outburst in the third
Holding a 3-2, the Rangers did not stop attacking Tucker Tynan. They were able to beat the IceDog’s goaltender three times but were stopped by the crossbar on one notable occasion.
The constant pressure surprised Niagara, resulting in two quick penalties that led to a lengthy two-man advantage that Kitchener ultimately couldn’t capitalize on.
That penalty kill seemed to be the momentum shifting moment, as it was followed up by defenceman Andrew Wycisk floating a soft shot past Rangers’ netminder Pavel Cajan to tie the game at three, one the Czech netminder surely wanted back..
From there, Rangers looked a step slow, taking a couple of penalties to give Niagara its own 5-on-3.
Although the IceDogs couldn’t convert on the two-man advantage, they scored three more goals afterwards, including an empty netter, in a span of five minutes to finish their preseason with a 3-2-1 record.
Rangers also finished their preseason with the same record, with the regulation losses coming from the final two games against the IceDogs.
Niagara will begin their regular season on Thursday when they visit the Barrie Colts. Meanwhile, Kitchener will open their season at home on Friday against the Guelph Storm.