The Hamilton Bulldogs clinched 1st place overall in the Eastern Conference and home ice advantage throughout the first three rounds of the playoffs with the point earned Thursday night in a 3-2 overtime loss to the Niagara IceDogs.
A tentative start to the hockey game to say the least as chances were few and far between for both clubs. The Bulldogs got a break as Nicolas Mattinen (8) picked up a loose puck and buried a wrist-shot to give the visitors a 1-0 lead at the 15:08 mark. Nicholas Caamano then took 4-minutes in penalties and the IceDogs took advantage scoring twice on the power-play to take a 2-1 lead after the opening twenty minutes.
The Bulldogs had back-to-back power-plays to start the 2nd period and had some chances, but couldn’t find the back of the net. As a matter of fact, neither team was able to get one past the goaltenders as Niagara took a 2-1 lead to the dressing room.
Hamilton finally converted on the power-play as Mackenzie Entwistle (13) tapped home a rebound at 9:43 of the 3rd period. It was a goal that sent the game into overtime and gave the Bulldogs the point they needed to secure top spot in the Eastern Conference.
The IceDogs went on to score at 2:30 of overtime to get the 3-2 win.
Hamilton out-shot Niagara 43-28.
IceDogs goal scorers were Ben Jones (26) and Oliver Castleman (10, 11).
1) Oliver Castleman (NIA)
2) Stephen Dhillon (NIA)
3) Marian Studenic (HAM)
The Bulldogs wrap-up the regular season Saturday night in Peterborough.
The Bulldogs begin the 2018 OHL Playoffs on March 22nd at FirstOntario Centre. For more information on how to get playoff tickets, call 905-529-8500 or go to www.hamiltonbulldogs.com