Anticipation is high in Hamilton now that the 2018 Playoffs are about to begin. The Bulldogs just completed their best season ever since relocating from Belleville putting together a 43-18-4-3 record good for 93-points. The 19-point improvement from last season resulted in a 1st place finish atop the Eastern Conference regular season standings and the Leyden Trophy as East Division Champions, Hamilton’s first division crown since the 1975-76 Hamilton Fincups.
The Bulldogs offense was one of the best in the Eastern Conference all season finishing with 252 goals scored, 2nd best in the East. Leading the way, three 30-goal scorers, Matthew Strome (37), Brandon Saigeon (35) and 16-year old rookie Arthur Kaliyev (31) and four 20-goal scorers, Nicholas Caamano (25), Robert Thomas (24), Will Bitten (20) and Marian Studenic (20).
Hamilton’s defense was also strong allowing just 207 goals against, 2nd best in the Eastern Conference. Goalie Kaden Fulcher had an outstanding season with a record of 32-17-4-2, with 3-shut-outs, a goals-against-average of 2.86 and a save-percentage of .899. Nick Donofrio had a solid rookie campaign going 11-1-0-1, with 1 shut-out, a goals-against-average of 3.14 and a save-percentage of .884.
During the regular season, the Bulldogs went a perfect 5-0 against their 1st Round opponents from Ottawa, outscoring the 67’s 26-8.
Ottawa 1 @ Hamilton 3 (Mar 2 2018) Final
Hamilton 9 @ Ottawa 3 (Jan 20 2018) Final
Ottawa 2 @ Hamilton 6 (Nov 25 2017) Final
Hamilton 5 @ Ottawa 2 (Nov 18 2017) Final
Ottawa 0 @ Hamilton 3 (Oct 22 2017) Final
Matthew Strome and Will Bitten led the attack on the 67’s in the regular season series with 9-points each while Marian Studenic, Brandon Saigeon and Robert Thomas all had 6-points. The 6-points put up by Thomas, all assists, came in just two games. Nick Donofrio was in net for 3 of the wins over Ottawa while Kaden Fulcher picked up the other 2.
Ottawa’s offense came mainly from Austen Keating who had 5-points while Jacob Cascanette (Ott/Miss) and Sasha Chmelevski had 3-points each against the Bulldogs. Goalie Olivier Lafreniere (now in Owen Sound) was in net for 3 of the losses while Cedric Andree and Olivier Tremblay split the other 2.
1st Round Playoff Series Schedule: Hamilton (1) vs Ottawa (8)
Game 1: Ottawa @ Hamilton Thursday March 22nd at 7 pm (FirstOntario Centre)
Game 2: Ottawa @ Hamilton Sunday March 25th at 7:30 pm (FirstOntario Centre) Game 3: Hamilton @ Ottawa Tuesday March 27th at 7 pm (TD Place)
Game 4: Hamilton @ Ottawa Wednesday March 28th at 7 pm (TD Place)
*Game 5: Ottawa @ Hamilton Friday March 30th at 7 pm (FirstOntario Centre)
*Game 6: Hamilton @ Ottawa Sunday April 1st at 2 pm (TD Place)
*Game 7: Ottawa @ Hamilton Tuesday April 3rd at 7 pm (FirstOntario Centre)
For information on Bulldogs single game tickets and playoff tickets, call 905-529-8500 or go to www.hamiltonbulldogs.com