Sports

IceDogs need single point to qualify for post-season play

By Bernd Franke, Postmedia News

Goaltender Stephen Dhillon has company in front of the Niagara IceDogs net in Ontario Hockey League action against the Sudbury Wolves Saturday night at Meridian Centre in St. Catharines. BERND FRANKE/Postmedia Network

Goaltender Stephen Dhillon has company in front of the Niagara IceDogs net in Ontario Hockey League action against the Sudbury Wolves Saturday night at Meridian Centre in St. Catharines. BERND FRANKE/Postmedia Network

Sunday promises to be an extra-strength Excedrin afternoon for fans of the Niagara IceDogs.

 

With the need to have one eye watching their favourite Ontario Hockey League team on the ice and the other on the out-of-town scoreboard, it's inevitable eye strain will be epidemic throughout IceDogs Nation.

Sure to compound the pounding headaches as the 'Dogs close out the regular season are the various scenarios to clinch the eighth, and final, playoff berth in the Eastern Conference.

Niagara, 23-34-6-4; leads the North Bay Battalion, 24-37-4-2; by two points with one game remaining in the schedule for each team.

All the IceDogs need to qualify for post-season play is a single point, so a loss in overtime in a shootout in their regular-season finale on the road against the Mississauga Steelheads would be enough to give North Bat an early start to the off-season.

Anything but a Battalion victory in their game Sunday against the visiting Kingston Frontenacs would also assure Niagara an eighth-place finish.

There's a third way the IceDogs can get their ticket to the playoffs punched. A Battalion victory, coupled with a Niagara loss in regulation, would set the stage for a play-in game Tuesday night in North Bay.

Niagara had an opportunity to keep all those headache remedies in the medicine chest, but the IceDogs were unable to close the deal Saturday night in their final home game in league play dropping a 4-3 decision in regulation to the Sudbury Wolves.

Maccauley Carson, with two goals; Kyle Capobianco, on the power play; and Owen Lanes scored for the Wolves who outshot Niagara 37-32 and assured themselves of finishing no lower than seventh in the east.

Replying for the IceDogs were Danial Singer, Oliver Castleman and, with a power-play marker, for his 20th of the season, Kirill Maksimov.

Niagara finished 2-for-6 on the power play; Sudbury, 1-for-6.

Bfranke@postmedia.com