The Niagara IceDogs fell to the visiting Erie Otters by a score 5-1 Thursday night in front of a crowd of 2,206 at the Gatorade Garden City Complex.
The Otters got on the board 5:25 in as Brett Thompson beat IceDogs starter Michael Gallardi on the powerplay to make it 1-0 for the visitors. Chris Marchese would then extend the lead to 2-0 as he beat Gallardi shortside for a shorthanded goal with 3:22 remaining in the first, sending Erie into the intermission up 2-0. The shots after the first were 10-8 in favour of the visitors.
The IceDogs would come out with a strong period in the second, generating a lot of shots on their five powerplays in the period to outshoot 17-5 in the period, but they were unable to beat Erie starter Chris Festarini, while Derek Holden would slip one by Gallardi on the powerplay to make it 3-0 for the Otters. Gallardi would be swapped out for Dalton McGrath midway through the period, to give the overager his turn in the goal. Gallardi would finish his night with 10 saves on 13 shots.
The IceDogs would continue their strong play early in the third period, but simply could not find a way to beat Festarini and Mike Cazzola would put one past McGrath 6:22 into the third stretching the Erie lead to 4-0. The Otters would make it 5-0 on a Mac McDonnell goal with 1:10 remaining, before St. Catharines Falcon callup Jesse Miller would get the IceDogs on the board with 19 seconds remaining on a goal assisted by fellow Falcon callups Luke Karaim and Tanner Hildebrandt, making it a 5-1 final.
The game also saw a pair of spirited tilts with Mitch Bennett taking on Johnny McGuire and Patrick McGrath fighting Tyler McCarthy.
With the loss, the IceDogs finish the preseason with a 1-1-1 record.
Next up for the IceDogs is their regular season opener in Peterborough a week from tonight as they visit the Petes, September 22nd at 7:05pm.
The IceDogs will then return home two weeks from today in their 2011/2012 Home Opener against the defending Eastern Conference Champion Mississauga St. Michael's Majors on Thursday, September 29th at 7pm. They will then continue the weekend with their second home game of the season a night later as they host the Barrie Colts on Friday, September 30th at 7pm.
Tickets for all IceDogs home games are now on sale and can be purchased at all IceDogs ticketing locations. In addition, the IceDogs are running a special offer for the opening weekend games on September 29th and 30th where fans can recieve a special rate of $16.50 a ticket (regular $19) by purchasing tickets for both games at the same time.
Don't miss out on your chance to catch the CHL's number two ranked team as they kick of their 2011/2012 home schedule, get your tickets today!