LARDIS PAIR LEADS BULLDOGS OVER COLTS IN GAME 4
HAMILTON, ONTARIO. Looking to hold serve on home ice, the Hamilton Bulldogs welcomed the Barrie Colts back to FirstOntario Centre for Game 4 with the opportunity to tie the Eastern Conference Quarterfinal at 2-2.
Matteo Drobac opened the game with a quick chest save, picking up where he left off from a fabulous performance in Game 3. Just as the Bulldogs first power-play of the game expired, Cedricsson Okitundu sent a laser beam to the net that surprise Colts starter Ben West turned aside only to have juicy rebound landed on the stick of Cole Brown who deposited it into the net for his 2nd of the playoffs, giving the Bulldogs a 1-0 at 5:13. Mere moments later, an errand pass landed on the stick of Zach Wigle leading to a quick triangle passing play with Tyler Savard & Declan McDonnell tucking it through the five-hole of Drobac tying the game 1-1. Late in the opening period, the Bulldogs took back-to-back penalties a minute apart, giving the Colts a lengthy 5-on-3. Matteo Drobac was magnificent again, stretching over to take one away from Jacob Frasca with his glove. Before the period expired with the Bulldogs on the man-advantage, Sahil Panwar deflected a Lucas Moore point shot, but Ben West was able to get his right pad extended and keep it out, sending the game to the locker room locked up 1-1 after 20-minutes.
Barrie went right back to penalty kill in the middle frame as Ethan Cardwell tripped Patrick Thomas chasing the puck net front. It took only 14 seconds of power-play time for Jorian Donovan to reclaim his team’s lead, blasting a shot from the point through a screened Ben West for his 1st of the playoffs making it a 2-1 game from Lucas Moore & Nick Lardis at 1:58. On the following play, as Lawson Sherk tried to shoot the puck off the boards and sailed it over the glass for a delay of game minor. Hamilton’s penalty kill shined as Barrie wasn’t able to generate any momentum. Shortly after Sherk exited the box, Adrian Rebelo picked up the puck after Cole Brown shoveled up on the right side and fired it under the arm of Ben West for his 3rd of the postseason, making it a 3-1 game at 8:10. Matteo Drobac stopped all 7 shots he faced in the middle frame with the Bulldogs playing a stout defensive period.
Opening the final frame on the man-advantage, Ethan Cardwell snuck behind the Bulldogs defender and tapped a cross crease pass five-hole through a sprawled Drobac to pull the Colts back to within one at 3-2. With the Bulldogs on the power-play after Ben Pickell boarded Cole Brown, Declan McDonnell earned a breakaway chance on Drobac who shut the door, closing off the five-hole. The Dogs turned around and put the puck in the net at the other end of the ice with Patrick Thomas finding Nick Lardis wide open cross crease who one-timed it past West, regaining Hamilton’s 2 goal lead at 3:10. With the Colts on a mid-period 4-on-3, Braden Hache wired a point shot past a screened Drobac to make it a 4-3 contest at 10:12 on the defender’s 2nd of the playoffs. The Colts continued to apply heavy pressure in the offensive zone, but Cedricson Okitundu endured a fantastic defensive shift getting in front of a shot and getting the puck out of their zone. After Beau Akey was penalized for making contact with Matteo Drobac on a rush through the crease, the Bulldogs applied the finishing touch. Jorian Donovan’s point shot pinballed off Sahil Panwar, eventually landing nearest to Nick Lardis who hammered it into the open goal for his 2nd of the game & 3rd of the post-season at 15:55 sealing the Bulldogs 5-3 Game 4 victory and tying the series 2-2.
The series heads back north to Barrie on Thursday, April 6th at Sadlon Arena with a 7:30pm puck drop.
For more information on Hamilton Bulldogs 2023 Playoff Tickets call 905-529-8500 or visit hamiltonbulldogs.com.