The 67’s managed to crush the IceDogs 6-3 when these teams first met. It was all downhill from there though, as Niagara won all three of the meetings between these teams afterward. Most concerning to Ottawa has to be the fact that Ottawa could only manage a single goal in each of their last two meetings. One also has to consider that Ottawa’s win came before the trade deadline, as both rosters have been altered dramatically since. In an added wrinkle to the series, these two faced off in the 1st round of the playoffs last year, with Niagara winning in six games.
Players to Watch
Niagara – G Alex Nedeljkovic
Goaltending has long been an Achilles heel for the IceDogs, and the belief was that bringing in Nedeljkovic would fix that problem. While he has been solid, he also hasn’t been playing as well as we’ve seen him play in the past. With the IceDogs built to win now, they’ll be relying on him to provide stability in net as they try to make a deep playoff run.
Ottawa – LW Jeremiah Addison
While he’s never been an elite scorer, it was actually Addison who led the 67’s in goals during last year’s playoffs, scoring 6 goals in 6 games before the team fell to the IceDogs. Now, with a 27 goal season under his belt, Addison and linemate Dante Salituro will be tasked with carrying the bulk of the offence if Ottawa is to have a chance of moving on.
By The Numbers
Niagara (35-26-4-3) – 4th in East Conf., 3rd in Central Div.
Ottawa (36-29-2-1) – 5th in East Conf., 2nd in East Div.
Goals For: Ottawa 234, Niagara 213
Goals Against: Niagara 198, Ottawa 219
Head-to-Head: 3-1 for Niagara
H-to-H Goals: 15-11 for Niagara
Niagara: Alex Nedeljkovic (24-20-2-2) 2.91 GAA, 0.907 Sv%, 2 SO
Ottawa: Leo Lazarev (26-16-1-0) 2.80 GAA, 0.901 Sv%, 3 SO
Who has the edge: Niagara
Niagara looks better on paper here, but they’ve also looked better on paper than the way they actually played all year. With that being said, Ottawa certainly can make this a series, especially if Lazarev can get hot in net. It shouldn’t surprise anyone if this series goes seven games.