Kingston 4 Hamilton 3 (SO)

Kingston 4 Hamilton 3 (SO)

The Hamilton Bulldogs showed grit and continued to put pucks at the net, but couple of bad defensive miscues led to Kingston comeback twice to steal two points today in a shootout loss 4-3

The Bulldogs showed today that they can find the net, something they haven’t really done in the previous three games (4 goals overall in first three games), and still created multiple opportunities. Veteran Forward Will Bitten and rookie Forward Arthur Kaliyev were the major contributors for the home team with both a goal and an assist. 

The defense contained the experienced Kingston offensive attack, with limiting the opposition to single digit shot totals in the first forty minutes. But a couple of mistakes late in the second and the big rebound left unnoticed led to the comeback by the visitors. Goaltender Kaden Fultcher was good, but not as sharp like the previous two games. He allowed a saveable goal in the first minute of the third, and the eventual winner in the shootout.

Once again, discipline and lack of power play sustainability at the attack zone (0/6 in PP opportunities) was the two ciritical factors in the second period and the outcome of the game, but the positive was the penalty kill was very effective (4/4 in opportunities under a man). Another negative was the lack of face off victories (35-45 in face offs).

Despite the outcome, the Bulldogs got seven out of eight possible points to start the year. Hamilton remains at home for the next game next Saturday against the Niagara IceDogs.

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Hamilton 2 Barrie 1 (SO)

Hamilton 2 Barrie 1 (SO)

The Hamilton Bulldogs win in an another nail biter performance, this time in a shootout. 

Goaltender Kaden Fultcher was incredible tonight, stopping 32 out of 33 shots. The defense showed grit, but was at times undisciplined, especially in the second period (had to kill three straight penalties). Give full credit to the penalty kill unit for preventing five opportunities by Barrie. The power play unit, however, it’s a work in progress. Can’t have several opportunities to have Barrie capitalize at the Bulldogs end when the opposition is short-handed.

Forwards Matthew Strome and Will Bitten provided enough offensive spark for a team that can go to the net a lot, but couldn’t cash in.

Next game to conclude the week is at home in FirstOntario Centre when the Bulldogs host their arch rival Kingston Frontenacs.

Hamilton 2 Mississauga 0

Hamilton 2 Mississauga 0

The Hamilton Bulldogs delivered a complete performance in Mississauga tonight. They won the matchup 2-0 in front of a sparse crowd at the Hershey Centre. 

Kaden Fultcher had a great performance in net today, with earning his first win and shutout of the 2017-2018 campaign. The Bulldogs goaltender stopped all 25 shots he encountered, and the defence helped him out with good hustle and timely blocked and diverted shots. 

The team managed to stay disciplined for the entire game, and engaged power play opportunities, but unable to captialize on both opportunities. The penalty kill was effective in its only one attempt. 

For the second straight game, the Hamilton Bulldogs offense went to the net with effective shooting at the opponent goaltending. The visitors outshot their opponent 34-25, with going double digit all three periods. Issac Nurse and Matthew Strome scored for the Bulldogs, while rookie Connor McMichael getting his first career OHL point with the assist on Nurse’s goal. 

Hamilton travels to Barrie to face the Colts on Saturday.

My thoughts about Johnny Manziel….

My thoughts about Johnny Manziel….

‪As many, if not all, fans of pro football in both sides of the border have heard the news today that former NFL quarterback Johnny Manziel will not be coming to the CFL. Included in this post was the words I wrote on my Facebook page from earlier today…

My opinion about Manziel as a football player hasn’t changed, but I’m well aware of this man’s poor character decisions off the field. ‬

‪Like every human, assaulting/abusing people is never okay. The league and the team understood that despite Manziel has been admitted to and completed rehab and anger management classes. ‬

‪I’m a believer of second chances, but as long as accountability and maturity is at is prime priority. The league made the right decision to not allow Manziel into the league until he steps up with consistency to be a better human being.‬

Niagara 4 Hamilton 1

Niagara 4 Hamilton 1

The Hamilton Bulldogs opened its third season this evening, but eventually fell 4-1 at the hands of its QEW rival, the Niagara IceDogs.

The Hamilton offense managed to find opportunities shooting the puck at the net. But with their untimely turnovers at their end of the rink, as well as the lack of discipline and luckluster D in the final thirty minutes proved to be the fate for the Bulldogs. The penalty kill units were very good this evening, especially killing three consecutive penalties (latter was the McCourt double minor). As far as the goaltending as concerned, Kaden Fultcher didn’t get significant support from the Bulldogs D, and struggled at times to maintain vision and skill getting to the puck. 

The Bulldogs travel to Mississauga next Friday for their tilt against the Steelheads.

HAMILTON BULLDOGS 2017-2018 SEASON PREVIEW

HAMILTON BULLDOGS 2017-2018 SEASON PREVIEW

After advancing to the last years playoffs, and eventually fall in a hard fought seven game series against Kingston, the 2017-2018 Hamilton Bulldogs look into a longer run in the postseason.

Returning to the team are the likes of Matthew Strome, Mackenzie Entwistle, Will Bitten and Brandon Saigeon with the second year returnees Marian Studenic and Connor Roberts to provide efficient leadership. Mixing with the returning core of talents will be first year studs Connor McMichael and Arthur Kaliyev, who are capable in producing right away for the team that needs scoring depth in which Niki Petti, Michael Crammerosa, and Matt Luff (potentially) are graduated from the club. 

Regarding the defensive corps, team captain Justin Lemcke and Connor Walters lead the experienced core of talent that can be a backbone going forward this year. Rielly Webb, Riley McCourt, Jack Henley, and newly acquired TJ Fergus (via Erie) will look to establish themselves as the league elite. Special Teams need to be better in both phases. The penalty kill and the power play were not very good, as the team was in the bottom five at both categories.

Goaltending will be the most glanced and scrutinized of the entire team. Kaden Fultcher comes in as #1 netminder, looking to improve a progressive 2017 season in which he lost his starting job midseason as the team brought in Dawson Carty from Kitchener. Nick Donofrio will be the backup (Cole Ceci was traded to Guelph Friday afternoon), and could see several games starting during the season. If he can duplicate what he was able to do last year in the USHL, he will be a fordmiable piece.

Pending injuries and inconsistency, this team should be a threat for the OHL and Memorial Cup Championship this season. 

Kent Austin Revokes Head Coach Role, Remains VP of Football Operations

Kent Austin Revokes Head Coach Role, Remains VP of Football Operations

After four plus years at the helm, Kent Austin has officially relinquished his duties as Head Coach of the Hamilton Tiger-Cats. Austin will remain with the team as Vice President of Football Operations. June Jones will now assume the role as Head Coach. 

Austin joined the Tiger-Cats in 2013 as VP of Football Operations, Head Coach and General Manager. No noble Ticat fan will forget the significant impact Kent Austin made in his tenure as HC. From taking over a team in disarray (Full season in Guelph in 2013, half season at Mac) to a Grey Cup challenger every year. Furthermore, he led an organization through the Mount Rushmore full of injuries every season and made the playoffs every year. 

Now, as of this time of writing, I haven’t seen any posts on social media praising or critiquing this news. However, what I have seen over the last month is, for the most part, is the unnecessary bashing of the team and its amount of selfish. I’m all for fair discussion and proper critique, but to unfairly critique without merit and lack of knowledge in the business and the sport buy overlapping others opinion to justify ones needs is wrong. 

The football team is not perfect. Ever since Quarterback Zach Collaros went down in late 2015, the team lost its position, not its edge, as a prime contender for the Grey Cup championship. Despite a due diligence of a season last year (Masoli played admirably given the quality of the team that was again derailed by injuries), the team never had a proper formula as they once again this year had several key players out. Jeff Reinebold was released as Defensive Coordinator earlier this month, signalling that the end of Kent Austin with the team is closer than it was originally predicted. 

I respect and commend Kent Austin for what he has done with this team on the field. He shouldn’t have been unfairly reprimanded almost every week by these bandwagoners whose agenda is to feed their lack of knowledge and one sided perspective to social media (most notorious is the Facebook group page Hamilton Tiger Cats Fans) during the four plus seasons with organization. Glad he’s still the Vice President of Football Operations as he got a great eye for talent.