It was an exciting second season of O-H-L Hockey in Hamilton, but the Bulldogs 2016-17 campaign came to an end Tuesday night in Kingston after a 3-2 overtime loss to the Frontenacs in Game 7 of their first round series.
The 1st period of Game 7 was pretty much what most expected, a close checking opening twenty minutes with few offensive chances for either team. There were just seven shots total, 4-3 in favour of the Bulldogs.
Things got interesting in the 2nd period as the Bulldogs started to get more pucks to the net. It paid off as Matt Luff (4) buried a bad angle shot to give Hamilton a 1-0 lead. Ben Gleason and Connor Walters picked up the assists. Michael Cramarossa (2) showed incredible patience by holding onto the puck and walking around the Kingston goaltender and calmly firing the puck into the net at 19:11 to make it 2-0. Luff and Justin Lemcke set up the play. Just when it seemed the Bulldogs would take a two goal lead to the dressing room, Kingston answered back only :18 seconds later to cut the Bulldogs lead in half going into the 2nd intermission.
Hamilton had some chances early in the 3rd, but Kingston would tie the game 2-2 at 5:05. Both teams traded chances down the stretch, but Game 7 would be decided in overtime. After three periods, the shots on goal were 20-19 for Kingston.
In overtime, it was all Bulldogs as they came out flying as Luff, Petti, Cramarossa and Entwistle all had chances to end it, but couldn’t beat Frontenacs goalie Jeremy Helvig. Hamilton had a 6-0 shot advantage until Kingston got a break. A shot rang off the post and eventually landed on the stick of Linus Nyman who beat a sprawled Dawson Carty for the game and series winning goal at 8:48 of the first overtime.
Jason Robertson (4) and Linus Nyman (3, 4) were the Kingston goal scorers.
Frontenacs hero Linus Nyman who scored the tying goal and then the overtime winner was named the 1st star. Kingston’s Jason Robertson was the 2nd star after putting up a goal and two assists. The Bulldogs Matt Luff finished the game with a goal and an assist and was named 3rd star.
With the win, Kingston advances to the Eastern Conference semi-finals to face the Peterborough Petes.
As for the Bulldogs, 2016-17 will down as a huge success. There was a 16-point improvement over last season and their first ever playoff appearance.
The end of the season also ends the O-H-L careers of Niki Petti, Michael Cramarossa and Dawson Carty who will be remembered as great Bulldogs.