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BULLDOGS CLINCH REGULAR SEASON CHAMPIONSHIP WITH 6-0 VICTORY

HAMILTON, ONTARIO. The Hamilton Bulldogs entered play on Friday night against the Ottawa 67s with an opportunity to clinch the #1 overall seed in the Ontario Hockey League, securing home ice advantage through the playoffs.

Marco Costantini was certainly marvellous in the opening frame turning aside all 9 shots he faced, including stunning saves on a shorthanded breakaway from Brady Stonehouse and a toe save on twin brother Anthony Costantini’s point drive to keep the score blanked until the latter stages of the opening period. At 18:31, Avery Hayes worked the puck to the right wing boards where Lawson Sherk charged into the offensive zone and laid a sweet feed to the slot for Ryan Humphrey to fire five-hole on Max Donoso for his 20th of the year, on his birthday, giving the Bulldogs the 1-0 lead through 20 minutes.

Statistically the second period has been the Bulldogs best of the season and Friday night was the exemplification of that with Hamilton striking 3-times in the frame. Ryan Humphrey collected his second of the game, taking the puck over the line off a Sherk dish on the left wing, flying through the left circle and cutting out front of the net to tuck home on the backhand for his 21st of the year at 3:05. Humphrey was quickly followed by Mason McTavish, sprung on a 2-on-1 with Patrick Thomas by Ryan Winterton, Thomas fed a perfect pass to McTavish whose initial chance was denied but collected his own rebound to beat Donoso for his 19th of the season at 4:46. After killing a 5-on-3; the Bulldogs cashed on a power-play of their own as Mason McTavish fed Nathan Staios along the blue line, tossing a shot through the slot that Jan Mysak got his stick on to record his 32nd of the year, giving the Bulldogs a 4-0 lead that they would take into the locker room with Marco Costantini stopping all 16 he faced through 40 minutes.

With 20 minutes standing between the Bulldogs and another piece of history, they added to their tally in the 3rd. On the power-play at 2:44, Avery Hayes drove wide on the right wing side, splitting three 67s defenders with a cross seam pass to the tape of Ryan Winterton for his 18th of the season on the one-timer finish giving the Bulldogs a 5-0 lead. With the Bulldogs immediately back to the power-play at 3:10, Jorian Donovan fed Patrick Thomas to the left circle, sending a low shot through the slot that Ryan Humphrey got his stick on to tip in for his hat-tick goal and 22nd of the year. Marco Costantini continued his marvellous season, denying all 24 shots he faced and the Hamilton Bulldogs clinched their spot at OHL Regular Season Champions moving to 99 points on Costantini’s 6th shutout of the season and 47th overall win of the season in a 6-0 final.

The Hamilton Bulldogs are back in action on Sunday April 10th as they travel to the Tribute Communities Centre in Oshawa to face the Generals with a 6:05 start time.

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