MALBOEUF SHINES IN BULLDOGS 4-0 LOSS TO BATTALION
NORTH BAY, ONTARIO. Down to the last two games of the 2022-23 regular season, the Hamilton Bulldogs travelled to the Memorial Gardens in North Bay for their penultimate game against the Battalion. Heading into the game the Bulldogs held the advantage in the season series, having taken each of the last two meetings from the Central Division leaders.
The Bulldogs opened the game with just 15 skaters, running 10 forwards and 5 defensemen but came out with jump in their stride, creating a couple scoring chances through the hardwork of Florian Xhekaj and Sahil Panwar pushing the game into the Battalion end but unable to best Dom DiVincentiis. After the Bulldogs successfully killed off an early period penalty, the Battalion kept momentum from the man advantage leading to Anthony Romani tiptoeing through the left circle, dragging the puck around Tristan Malboeuf and just tucking it inside the post before turning around back of the Bulldogs net giving the Battalion a 1-0 lead at 9:34. The hosts kept the offense rolling, after Noah Roberts disrupted a low zone cycle Avery Winslow was able to keep the puck onside and twist it right for Luc Brzustowski who fired through a pile of players to the front of the goal with the puck rolling through Malboeuf and into the Dogs goal to give North Bay a 2-0 lead at 13:47. The Bulldogs nearly got on the board with time ticking away in the opening frame as Noah Van Vliet walked from the right point to the middle for a drive that DiVincentiis stopped and a rebound that just bounced away from both Sahil Panwar & Patrick Thomas, sending the game to the locker room with the Bulldogs trailing 2-0 through 20 minutes.
Tristan Malboeuf stepped to the forefront in the middle frame, early in the period with Matvey Petrov carrying the puck across the face of goal, Malboeuf laid out across his crease, forcing the Edmonton Oilers draft pick to continue from his right to his left, where Malboeuf jammed his pad to the post and denied the lift attempt into the net. The “Malboeuf Mastery” continued in the middle frame with a brilliant glove save, with the Bulldogs shorthanded, Kyle Jackson worked North Bay’s umbrella to feed Ty Nelson for an open one-timer. With Malboeuf sliding from left to right, the Bulldogs netminder flashed a lightning quick glove to keep the Bulldogs within striking range. To the late portion of the middle frame, Sahil Panwar and Nick Lardis looked to make a little magic down the slot as Panwar flipped the rolling puck towards Nick Lardis but Dom DiVincentiis held up his end for the hosts making a strong split save to keep the Bulldogs off the board. With Tristan Malboeuf having denied 21 of 23 through 40 minutes, the Bulldogs went down the tunnel still firmly in the game through 40 minutes, trailing 2-0.
Tristan Malboeuf continued his super-human efforts in the final frame for the undermanned Bulldogs with another pair of scintillating glove saves to keep the Bulldogs in the game. With the Battalion on the power-play at 2:35, after Ty Nelson dented the post from the left circle he received a second opportunity from the right point where the Seattle Kraken prospect whistled a shot through traffic that hit the back of the net for his 23rd of the season giving the Battalion a 3-0 lead. With the Bulldogs putting pressure on in the latter stages, Malboeuf hit the bench with 6:24 to go and despite pressure on the Battalion zone it was Anthony Romani who hit the empty net to give the Battalion an insurmountable 4-0 lead with Dom DiVincentiis earning his 5th shutout of the season, while Tristan Malboeuf denied 40 North Bay shots in the loss.
The Bulldogs are back in action tomorrow night playing Game 68 and closing out the regular season, taking on the Sudbury Wolves in a game with massive playoff implications at the Sudbury Community Arena at 7:05pm.
For more information on Hamilton Bulldogs 2023 Playoff tickets call 905-529-8500 or visit hamiltonbulldogs.com.