SUDBURY, ONTARIO. Entering the Sudbury Community Arena on Friday night, the Bulldogs were riding a 3-game win streak taking on the Sudbury Wolves. Coming off a big emotional lift of an overtime victory over the North Bay Battalion on Thursday night, the Bulldogs met a Wolves team that was off on Thursday and waiting for their arrival.
The biggest difference in the opening frame was in the legs of the two teams, with the Wolves winning races and sieging the goal of Matteo Drobac for 15 shots in the first period. Drobac was up to the early test, including a brilliant split glove stop, as Alex Pharand carried the puck across the face of goal, Drobac followed from his right to his left, splitting out to take the lower portion of the net away and robbing Pharand with a brilliant glove save as the former Bulldog tried to lift it over the Hamilton backstop keeping the game scoreless. Sudbury would manage to open the scoring at 6:42 as Kieron Walton collected his 6th of the season using his size and strength net front to nose the Wolves out front 1-0. By the end of the period, the Bulldogs had found a little pushback but had been outshot 15-6 with Drobac keeping the team in the game through 20 minutes.
The second period opened the same way as the first with the Wolves jumping out of the gates and again hitting the scoreboard despite Drobac standing on his head. At 2:31, Nick DeGrazia doubled the Wolves lead to 2-0 on his 19th of the season. The Bulldogs did find an offensive rhythm shortly thereafter, at 4:41 of the middle frame, Cole Brown sent Lawson Sherk ahead on the right side, striding over the Sudbury line and dropping the puck for Jorian Donovan at the top of the slot who used Luca Testa to his left as a decoy and ripped a wrist shot past Nate Krawchuk for his 10th of the season, cutting the Wolves lead in half. Just 46-seconds later with the Bulldogs on the power play and Jorian Donovan quarterbacking at the top of the formation moved the puck left for Nick Lardis who made a brilliant pass through a seem occupied by a pair of Wolves to Cole Brown firing quickly past Krawchuk for his 8th of the season and 2nd point of the game, tying the game 2-2. With time ticking down on a Sudbury power-play at 10:11, Landon McCallum was able to elude a Bulldogs checker along the right-wing boards, setting the puck middle for Nathan Villeneuve to knock a bouncing puck past Drobac to put the Wolves back on top 3-2. The Wolves quickly doubled the lead again, 1:21 after the go-ahead goal at 11:32, a Dylan Robinson point drive was deflected Marc Boudreau to give the Wolves a 4-2 lead which they would hold to the second intermission with Drobac again standing strong turning aside 15 of 18 he faced in the period to keep the Bulldogs in the game.
The long road trip appeared to take its toll in the final frame for the Bulldogs, as the jump that the team had in the opening 3-games of the road trip just wasn’t quite there on this night. Despite break opportunities for Sahil Panwar and Cole Borwn & a stuff shot opportunity for Marek Vanacker the Bulldogs just couldn’t claw their way back into the game. Just after the Bulldogs had a potential shorthanded 2-on-1 for Patrick Thomas & Sahil Panwar blown down for a high-stick, a Wolves point shot, just as the game got back to 5-on-5 would bounce loose off Drobac where Chase Coughlan backhanded the puck into the empty side to give the Wolves a 5-2 lead at 8:08 that they would hold on to the rest of the way, halting the Bulldogs win streak at 3 despite 45 saves from Matteo Drobac on the night.
The Hamilton Bulldogs get right back to action, closing their 5-game road trip on Saturday, January 21st, with a trip to the GFL Memorial Gardens in Sault Ste. Marie to face the Greyhounds with a 7:07 puck drop.
For more information on Hamilton Bulldogs 2022-23 Flex packages or single game tickets call 905-529-8500 or visit hamiltonbulldogs.com