The Hamilton Bulldogs used a third period offensive explosion to beat the Barrie Colts 8-3 Thursday night to start off a weekend road trip with their sixth win in a row.

The Bulldogs capitalized on their first power-play opportunity of the night, when Niki Petti (16) banged home a loose puck in the crease to give the Bulldogs an early 1-0 lead. Will Bitten and Brandon Saigeon picked up the helpers. Hamilton’s power-play would strike again as Connor Roberts (6) deflected a Cole Candella point shot to put the Bulldogs up by 2. Michael Cramarossa picked up the second assist. The Colts would get one back only 48 seconds later to cut the Bulldogs lead to 2-1 after the first period.

Michael Cramarossa (17) one-timed a Will Bitten feed into the open net early in the second period after he and Bitten took off on a 2 on 1. Brandon Saigeon also got an assist on the play as Hamilton went ahead 3-1. The Colts rebounded and scored two in a row to tie the game 3-3 after forty minutes.

The Bulldogs offense went to work in the 3rd period. Niki Petti (17) finished off a nifty setup from Connor Roberts for his second goal of the game. Roberts and Matthew Strome assisted on Petti’s 4-3 goal. Matthew Strome (31) banged home a rebound at the 6:30 mark to make it 5-3. Connor Roberts and Benjamin Gleason were credited with the assists. Marian Studenic (17) found himself alone in the slot and picked the top corner to put the Bulldogs up 6-3. Zach Jackson and Cole Candella got the assists. Niki Petti (18) capped off his hat trick to make it 7-3 with Jack Hanley picking up the only assist on the play. Hanley (3) finished the scoring with a power-play goal to make it 8-3 after his one-timer bounced off of a Barrie defenseman and past the goaltender.

The Colts goals were scored by Curtis Douglas (3), Zachary Magwood (15) and Lucas Chiodo (20).

Niki Petti’s three goal outburst earned him 1st Star honours. Rookie, Connor Roberts notched a goal and two assists to secure the 2nd Star. 3rd Star went to Colts Rookie, Tyler Tucker after recording two assists.

Hamilton’s season record improves to 29-23-3-2 as they now move into sole possession of 4th place in the Eastern Conference standings, two points ahead of the Kingston Frontenacs who lost 3-1 in Peterborough.

The Bulldogs are off Friday but continue their road trip with stops in Ottawa Saturday afternoon and in Kingston Sunday afternoon. Hamilton’s next home game is Friday March 3rd when they host the Peterborough Petes at FirstOntario Centre at 7:30 pm.

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