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.

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. 

2016-2017 HAMILTON BULLDOGS SEASON REVIEW COMMENTARY

2016-2017 HAMILTON BULLDOGS SEASON REVIEW COMMENTARY

In the 2016/2017 season, the Hamilton Bulldogs made significant strides this season. 

New coach, new jersey, restructured administration, and a major early season acquisition of Will Bitten proved to the revolving fan base that the Bulldogs are making a major push for the championship. 

Despite the hot start in which they, at one point, were seventh in the top ten CHL rankings in October, the team had a rough stretch from November through mid December. But by the time the holiday break ended, the Bulldogs caught fire.

For the majority of the season, the Bulldogs were not a consistent team. They played well in several winning streaks of four and five in several occasions in the year. But when they lose, they have a long streak of five or six games. In other words, they were hot and cold. Dawson Carty took over the starting goaltender job mid-February and didn’t totally relinquish.

The special teams were a downer for most of the year, but showed glimpses of what can become. The power play improved from the bottom five at the start of the year for three months to the top ten by the final week of the year. The penalty kill showed several bright spots, but wasn’t a consistent force, largely due to the discipline issue.

The playoffs were a roller coaster. Despite the early exit, the main core of the team (Luff, Strome, Entwhistle, Studenic and Roberts just to name a few) gained substantial key game experience in which they can utilize for a championship run next year.

At the end of the year, Bulldogs say farewell to graduates Niki Petti, Dawson Carty, and Michael Crammerosa.

If I could grade the team overall this year…I would give them a B. 

Barrie Colts 2 Hamilton Bulldogs 3

Barrie Colts 2 Hamilton Bulldogs 3

The Hamilton Bulldogs didn’t play their good style of hockey tonight. But they pulled it off in a semi-ugly fashion as they defeated the Barrie Colts 3-2.

Offense

The Bulldogs offensive unit were in “high noon” mode in the first eight minutes of the contest, scoring two goals in the process. However, despite the very good performance in the first twenty, the team stalled in the middle frame, and large part of the third, as they couldn’t shoot effectively despite the overwhelming number of shots. Furthermore, Barrie kept the pressure at their attack zone for most of that period, and eventually fought back to tie the game at two going into the third. 

Marian Studenic scored two goals and one assist, including the eventual game winner in the third, and was rewarded the first star of the game for his performance. Best performance I have seen him in his first year in the OHL. Brandon Saigeon contributed two points (1 goal and 1 assist), and team captain Justin Lemcke helped out with two valuable assists as well.

Defense and Goaltending

For the large part, the Bulldogs defense and goaltending of Dawson Carty was good tonight, especially in the final few minutes. They allowed only single digit shots in all three periods. Their scheme was very effective, and they did a very good job maintaining discipline. However, there were some shaky moments by Carty, but maintained great composure down the stretch.

Special Teams

In regards to the power play, the Bulldogs capitalized on their most of the oppurtunities in this game. They were 2/3 with the man advantage. On the contary to the penalty kill, Hamilton was above average in their four sessions in this game. In the late stages of the third period, however, they played their best PK of the year (in my opinion) when they had to minimize the Barrie extra attacker along with the man advantage for 90 seconds of the two minutes on the PK.
The Hamilton Bulldogs host Niagara IceDogs on Saturday and travel to Oshawa to take on the Eastern Conference leading Generals.