DOGS STUNG 6-0 BY STING TO OPEN ROAD TRIP
SARNIA, ONTARIO. The Hamilton Bulldogs opened their season ending five-game road trip with the team’s first visit to the Progressive Auto Sales Arena in Sarnia since opening night of the 2019-20 season to take on a Sting that loaded up for a long playoff run at the trade deadline.
Nashville Predators undrafted free agent signee Nolan Burke opened the scoring just 1:57 into the game, collecting his 48th of the season batting a Lukas Fischer right point shot rebound past Matteo Drobac. Florian Xhekaj thought he had quickly tied the game attacking through the left circle and firing a snap shot that beat Benjamin Gaudreau but rang off the crossbar denying the Bulldogs power-forward his 13th of the season. At the end of the shift, Nolan Dillingham tossed his gloves off behind the Sarnia net jumping Florian Xhekaj, despite the Bulldogs forward only getting his gloves off after the officials had stepped in while Dillingham hand thrown several punches, the Sting captain was given a double minor for roughing with Xhekaj curiously being given a roughing penalty of his own. Former Bulldog Brenden Anderson was next on the scoresheet with a shot from the bottom of the right circle that just barely trickled through Drobac and over the goal line for the towering forward’s 3rd of the season at 8:57. Drobac was in the spotlight just past the halfway mark of the opening frame with a brilliant split save, stealing what looked like a certain goal from Nolan Burke. With the Bulldogs on the penalty kill at 18:16, Masen Wray blocked a pass to the right circle and looked to get the puck out of the zone when he was hooked down to the ice, with no call on the play Luca Del Bel Belluz captured the puck and fed Ty Voit in the right circle for his 20th of the season, sending the hosts to the locker room up 3-0 through 20 minutes.
Bad luck was the theme of the 2nd period as Ryan Mast carried the puck down the right side of the Bulldogs zone at 8:30 and fired a shot off a Bulldog stick that deflected through the legs of Drobac to give the Sting a 4-0 lead on Mast’s 7th of the season. The lead was extended to 5-0 as Christian Kyrou attempted to center the puck and had it batted away by Matteo Drobac but the puck came off the netminder’s stick and knuckleballed over his shoulder for Kyrou’s 19th of the year and the end to Matteo Drobac’s night. Tristan Malboeuf entered the game for the Bulldogs and immediately turned aside a racing Sasha Pastujov as he tried to give his Dogs the ability to climb back into the game. Despite a late period flurry led by Ben Bujold, Noah Nelson and Lawson Sherk, the Bulldogs hit the intermission down 5-0 through 40 minutes.
Though Tristan Malboeuf was excellent in stopping 18 of the 19 he faced, one did manage to get by. A Christian Kyrou point shot deflected off the body of Zach Filak and laid flat for Nolan Burke to toss over Malboeuf for his 2nd of the game and 49th of the season at 6:02 giving
Sarnia a 6-0 lead. Tempers flared down the stretch, including the Sting utilizing their top power-play unit with 4:00 and 1:20 left to go. In the end, 21 Benjamin Gaudreau saves made the difference in a 6-0 Sting victory in the Bulldogs only visit to Sarnia.
The Hamilton Bulldogs will continue their five-game road trip from the Dort Financial Centre in Flint, Michigan as the Bulldogs make their only trip to take on the Firebirds with a 7:00pm puck drop.
For more information on Hamilton Bulldogs 2023 playoff tickets call 905-529-8500 or visit hamiltonbulldogs.com.