HAMILTON, ONTARIO. For the second time in just six days the Hamilton Bulldogs squared off with the Barrie Colts, opening a 5-game homestand with a special 10:30am puck drop as 5,620 HWCDSB students filled FirstOntario Centre on Wednesday morning.
With a lineup bolstered by the returns of Ryan Humphrey from injury & Marek Vanacker from the U-17 World Hockey Challenge, the Bulldogs got off to a strong start laying siege to goaltender Ben West with four lines rolling and contributing. The Colts netminder was outstanding in the opening period and brilliant throughout the game turning aside opportunities from the line of Logan Morrison, Avery Hayes & Patrick Thomas on the cycle and later stealing what appeared to be certain goals from Florian Xhekaj & Lawson Sherk, both with point blank slot opportunities. Against the run of play, the Colts struck first, with the Bulldogs pressing in the offensive zone, a 2-on-1 developed for Barrie with Ethan Cardwell keeping off the right side and getting a shot under Drobac’s arm to give the Colts a 1-0 lead at 9:49. With time ticking down in the first period, Drobac wouldn’t be outdone by Ben West heroics at the other end, after stopping Zach Wigle’s flip in tight, Drobac sprawled back across his crease making a miraculous glove save to deny Jacob Frasca a 2-0 Colts lead through 20 minutes.
Drobac’s work to hold the fort paid dividends in a second period the Bulldogs entirely controlled, outshooting the Colts by a 19-3 margin. With the Bulldogs on the man advantage at 6:43, Avery Hayes glided over the Colts blueline, dropping the puck to Ryan Humphrey attacking on the left, Humphrey starred down West before sliding to the right for a charging Logan Morrison who fired the puck past West for his 6th of the season, tying the game 1-1. At 19:51, the Bulldogs managed to beat the buzzer with Hayes sliding the puck to the left point for Jorian Donovan, continuing around the perimeter to the right for Gavin White who placed a wrist shot along the ice to the tape of Hayes who had returned to the slot, tipping the puck past a sprawled West, giving the Bulldogs a 2-1 lead through 40 minutes on Hayes’ 13th of the year.
Heading to the third frame, the Bulldogs had outshot the Colts by a 32-9 margin and a 2-1 lead was all Matteo Drobac needed. Walling off the Hamilton goal, while the Bulldogs as a team allowed just 6-shots through to their starting goaltender. As the final buzzer sounded, to the delight of a massive School Day crowd, the Hamilton Bulldogs secured their third straight victory and 4th win in their last 5 games, 2-1 over the Colts.
The Hamilton Bulldogs will host a weekend back-to-back at FirstOntario Centre, beginning Friday night November 18th at 7:00pm hosting the top team in the Ontario Hockey League, the Ottawa 67s. The Bulldogs will follow that up on Saturday, November 19th facing off with exceptional status recipient Michael Misa and the Saginaw Spirit, with a 4:00pm puck drop.
For more information on Hamilton Bulldogs Flex Pack or Group packages call 905-529-8500 or visit hamiltonbulldogs.com.