MISSISSAUGA, Ont., -The Niagara IceDogs struck for four goals in the first period and went on to beat the Mississauga St. Michael's Majors 5-2 in OHL action Friday night.
It was a physical game that was a preview to a first-round playoff matchup between the two teams in the OHL Eastern Conference.
Luca Caputi, Andrew Merrett, Matthew Maione and Barry Sanderson had the first-period goals as the IceDogs (41-25-0-1) won for the seventh time in eight meetings against the Majors this season.
Caputi's goal was his 51st of the season. Jason Bergeron had the other Niagara goal in the second period.
Jesse Messier and Kaspars Daugavins, with his 40th goal this season, replied for the Majors (30-32-2-2), who will open their best-of-seven playoff series next week in St. Catharines.
"That was playoff hockey," said Niagara centre Michael Swift, who had a pair of assists to help the IceDogs to their fourth win in a row. "We came out hard in the first period and we played our game."
The two teams kept referees Mark Hicks and Scott Ferguson busy all night long. The referees handed out 42 penalties in all, 25 to Mississauga. The Majors took 13 penalties in the third period alone, most of them by left winger Zac Rinaldo.
Rinaldo was given two minors, a fighting major, a 10-minute misconduct and a game misconduct just as the game ended.
The IceDogs fired 37 shots at Mississauga goaltender Anthony Grieco. Niagara goaltender Lucas Lobsinger stopped 28 of 30 shots.