But the Otters mustered only 21 shots on goal in a 3-2 loss in front of 2,469 at Tullio Arena, which extended their second-longest losing streak of the season to nine straight games.
Even without several key veterans, including NHL first-round picks Ryan Strome (facial fractures) and Dougie Hamilton (10-game suspension), Niagara dominated the Otters from the outset.
The IceDogs built a 20-7 advantage in shots in the opening period. They also built a 2-0 lead through 20 minutes on goals from Alex Friesen and David Pacan 40 seconds apart midway through the period.
Friesen turned Andrew Agozzino’s centering pass into his 16th goal of the season at the 9:13 mark. Then Pacan redirected Myles Doan’s cross-ice pass past Otters goaltender Ramis Sadikov, who had 43 saves.
The IceDogs controlled the play to start the second period as well. But a fortunate bounce allowed the Otters to slice Niagara’s lead in half at 2-1. Goaltender Mark Visentin stopped Dane Fox’s shot, but the rebound caromed to Connor Brown. The rookie winger scored into an empty net 6:45 into the period.
Jimmy McDowell also earned an assist on the goal for his first point as an Otter. Niagara regained a two-goal lead at 3-1 on Agozzino’s rebound – his 24th goal of the season – with 10:53 left in the period. But Fox scored on the power play on an assist from McDowell to pull the Otters within 3-2 just 3 minutes later. The Otters were within a goal despite being outshot 36-17 through two periods.
Yet the Otters couldn’t find their offense in the third. They recorded one shot on goal in the opening 10 minutes of the third. They finished with four shots on goal in the period. Their best chance to tie the game – Anthony Cortellessa’s shot from the right wing – caromed off the post behind Visentin.
Agozzino had a goal and assist for the IceDogs (27-13-0-3), which has won six straight and 10 of their past 11 games. Fox (goal, assist) and McDowell (two assists) paced the Otters (5-36-1-1).
- Victor Fernandes
IceDogs 3, Otters 2
Niagara 2 1 0 — 3
Erie 0 2 0 — 2
1st Period — 1. Niagara, Alex Friesen 16 (Agozzino), 9:13. 2. Niagara, David Pacan 20 (Doan, Verhaeghe), 9:53. Penalties — Fox (E) hooking, 2:51; Agozzino (N) goaltender interference, 12:00.
2nd Period — 3. Erie, Connor Brown 15 (Fox, McDowell), 6:45. 4. Niagara, Andrew Agozzino 24 (Ritchie, Doudera), 10:53. 5. Erie, Dane Fox 16 (McDowell), 13:46 (pp). Penalties — Graham (N) interference, 12:48.
3rd Period — None. Penalties — Kuhnhackl (N) high sticking, 3:11; McDowell (E) interference, 10:14.
Shots on goal — Niagara, 20-16-10—46; Erie, 7-10-4—21.
Goaltenders — Niagara, Mark Visentin 15-7-0-2 (21 shots, 19 saves); Erie, Ramis Sadikov 3-17-1-1 (46 shots, 43 saves).
Power plays — Niagara (0-2), Erie (1-3).
Referees — Joe Celestin, Garrett Rank. Linesmen — Adam Harris, Mike Harrington.
Attendance — 2,469.
* Andrew Agozzino, IceDogs (goal, assist) ** Dane Fox, Otters (goal, assist) *** Ramis Sadikov, Otters (43 saves)