HAMILTON, ONTARIO. The Hamilton Bulldogs were right back at it Saturday afternoon, hosting the visiting Saginaw Spirit for the first time in 987 days. The Bulldogs entered the game looking to bounce back after a tough 4-3 defeat the night prior courtesy of the Ottawa 67’s, Saginaw arrived in Hamilton looking to continue their hot streak having won their last five straight.
Goaltenders Andrew Oke and Matteo Drobac both came up with some highlight reel saves to begin the game. The Spirit quickly got to the offense getting a close-up opportunity, however Drobac squeezed his five-hole and kept the puck out. Drobac followed with an incredible stick-paddle stop as the third in a sequence to keep the game scoreless past the halfway point of the opening period. After Bulldogs forward Lawson Sherk received a 4-minute double minor for a high-stick on Matyas Sapovaliv, Saginaw took advantage scoring in both halves of the the 4-minute powerplay courtesy of recently acquired Nic Sima at 14:48, followed by 2022 1st overall pick Michael Misa at 16:42 giving the Spirit a lightning quick 2-0 lead. The 15-year-old Misa didn’t stop there, as he threw one on net from the left circle with the puck taking a crazy hop and squeezing by Drobac with 42 seconds left in the period giving Saginaw a 3-0 lead heading to the dressing room after one.
The second period followed the script of the first with the Bulldogs garnering chances around Andrew Oke with the Shelby Township product shutting the door. At the other end of the rink, despite Matteo Drobac’s efforts the Spirit extended their lead. Just after a Saginaw power-play expired, Calem Mangone walked off the right point and hammered a shot through a screen past Drobac to give the Spirit a 4-0 advantage at 7:24. As to serve as an example of a tough night for the Bulldogs, with Hamilton on the power-play at 13:58, Theo Hill whipped a puck from the left half boards that hit Patrick Thomas’ leg in the left circle and found the near side corner for a bad-luck shorthanded marker to give Saginaw a 5-0 lead and calling Tristan Malboeuf to enter the game in relief of Drobac.
The Bulldogs didn’t surrender in the final frame however, mounting a strong showing to build from. After Bulldogs defenseman Artem Grushnikov threw a massive hip check on Michael Misa and defended himself well in a tussle with Oliver Savard, the Bulldogs found a spark. Jorian Donovan took a right half board exchange from Patrick Thomas cutting in towards and firing a shot over the shoulder of Oke for his second goal in 2 games & 4th of the season at 11:37 to get Hamilton on the board. The Bulldogs continued to press on the powerplay late in the frame with Logan Morrison delivering a perfect pass across the rink from the right circle to the left for Avery Hayes who one-timed it past Oke for his 14th tuck of the season cutting the lead to 5-2. Although it’s as close as the Bulldogs got, Hamilton held Saginaw to only 2 shots in the final frame and gave themselves a building block moving forward.
The Bulldogs continue their homestand next Friday, November 25th against the North Bay Battalion at the FirstOntario Centre, with a 7:00pm puck drop.
For more information on Hamilton Bulldogs 2022-23 Holiday Flex packages call 905-529-8500 or visit hamiltonbulldogs.com.