Facing elimination, the Hamilton Bulldogs forced their first round OHL playoff series to a 7th and deciding game with a 5-2 win over the Kingston Frontenacs Sunday afternoon at FirstOntario Centre.
Once again the Bulldogs got off to a slow start in the first period as the Frontenacs scored on the power-play to take a 1-0 lead at 13:03. Hamilton could only manage three shots on goal in the opening twenty minutes.
It was a completely different story in the 2nd period. Luke Kutkevicius got the Bulldogs on the board early after walking around the Kingston defense and depositing the puck into the wide open net at 1:17 to tie the game 1-1. Matthew Strome and Justin Lemcke picked up the assists. The game wasn’t tied for long however, as Kingston would get one right back just :43 seconds later to regain the lead at 2-1. The Bulldogs then took over in the second half of the period. On the power-play, Will Bitten (3) capitalized on a scramble in front of the Kingston net to make it 2-2 at 10:03. Niki Petti and Matthew Strome assisted on the play. Matthew Strome (1) got his first ever OHL playoff goal at 13:42 by picking the top corner on the rush to give the Bulldogs their first lead 3-2. Marian Studenic and Connor Walters set up the goal. MacKenzie Entwistle (1) then followed up with his first ever OHL playoff goal at 14:56 by fooling Kingston goalie Jeremy Helvig with a nifty move then shoveling a backhand into the net for a 4-2 Hamilton lead. Matthew Strome picked up the only assist.
The Bulldogs then took a page out of the Frontenacs play-book in the 3rd period by playing shut-down defense limiting Kingston to just five shots on goal. Matt Luff (3) would sink an empty netter from center ice at 17:51 to make the final score 5-2. Michael Cramarossa picked up the lone assist.
The Kingston goal scorers were Eemeli Rasanen (1) and Nathan Dunkley (4).
Hamilton was 1-1 on the power-play while the Frotenacs were 1-5. Kingston is now 3-25 with the man advantage in the series while the Bulldogs are 5-14.
The Bulldogs have scored 17 goals in the series, 13 have come in the 2nd period.
Matt Strome had a goal and three assists in Game 6 to get 1st star honours. Will Bitten was a force physically, and scored his third power-play goal of the series to earn 2nd star. The third member of that line, Mackenzie Entwistle, scored a goal and was named 3rd star.
The Bulldogs now head back to Kingston for Game 7 Tuesday night. Game time at the Rogers K-Rock Centre is 7 pm.
Listen to the game with Stew Kernan on TSN 1150 with the pre-game show starting at 6:30 pm or watch on Cable 14.