Ryan Winterton’s five-point performance propelled the Bulldogs to a 6-2 win over the arch rival Niagara IceDogs.
The opening period saw both sides control the pace, with both getting quality chances. Hamilton struck first on the powerplay at the 3:05 mark as Ryan Winterton scored his first of the year off the rebound and went past IceDogs netminder Josh Rosenzweig. Ryan Humphrey and newly-acquired Amber Xhekaj received the assists.
Bulldogs’ starting netminder Matteo Drobac had a great first period and the defence stood tall despite being outshot 11-8 in the opening frame.
It was all Bulldogs in the middle frame. The barrage started at the 4:29 mark as newcomer Mason McTavish hustled down to pass to Jan Mysak for his 18th of the season. It was McTavish’s first point as a Bulldog. Winterton also received an assist.
McTavish wasn’t done as he scored his first goal with the Bulldogs after shooting a rocket one-timer past Rosenzweig for a 3-0 Hamilton lead. Mysak and Winterton received the assists.
The IceDogs looked to get back into the game, but the Bulldogs’ Drobac kept the door shut with a terrific save on Brice Cooke. The Bulldogs kept pouring on the score chart at 15:32 as George Diaco finished off the beautiful tic-tac-toe sequence set up by Patrick Thomas and Winterton.
Drobac continued his fine performance by stopping former Bulldog Liam Van Loon on a breakaway. On the powerplay late in the period, Logan Morrison scored on a terrific pass by Diaco to give the Bulldogs a 5-0 lead into the intermission. With the secondary assist, Winterton registered his fifth point of the game.
A milder final frame came as both teams exchanged goals. Daniil Gushchin ended Drobac’s shutout bid at the 3:10 mark by shooting the puck point blank past the Hamilton netminder. Morrison responded for the Bulldogs at the 8:40 mark after receiving a nice pass from Mysak for a 6-1 lead. Noah Roberts also received credit for the assist. The IceDogs cut the lead to 6-2 at the 12:38 mark as Juan Copeland scored on a wide-open breakaway shot, fooling Drobac.
With the win, the Bulldogs take over first place in the Eastern Division. Next game for the Bulldogs is Friday night as they pay a visit to Oshawa to take on the Oshawa Generals.