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THE SHERIFF SENDS THE BULLDOGS TO 3-2 OT WIN & CONFERENCE FINAL 

HAMILTON, ONTARIO. With a chance to sweep the series in Mississauga and punch their ticket to the Eastern Conference Finals for the 2nd time in franchise history the Bulldogs hit the ice for Game 4 on Friday night. With lucky number 13, Avery Hayes, back in the lineup on Friday the 13th the Bulldogs lineup gets a closer to full strength with the significant re-addition.

For the first time in the series the Steelheads took the lead after a controversial early period goal review from Zander Veccia. Seconds later Ryan Humphrey answered back on his second shift of the game putting the puck passed Joe Ranger at 1:42 with Logan Morrison and Avery Hayes picking up the helpers to tie the game 1-1. Just passed the halfway point Marco Costantini and Humphrey came up big with the period defining save to keep the game tied at 1-1 with Costantini making an impressive leg save and Humphrey scrambling the puck off the goal line. The Steelheads took the lead once more putting the pressure on the Bulldogs with a power-play goal from Aidan Prueter at 15:29. For the first time in the series the Bulldogs were one goal behind coming out of a period and a man down with Humphrey being sent to the box at the end of the period.

While shorthanded Avery Hayes stole the puck in the neutral zone from Ethan Del Mastro and walked into the Steelheads zone in a 2-on-0 give and go with Mason McTavish that Ranger stopped and but regained the puck on the rebound and found McTavish in the left circle who ripped it passed Ranger for his 9th of the playoffs to once again tie the game 2-2 at 1:03. With a massive save from Costantini shutting down Kai Schwindt right on the doorstep the Bulldogs goaltender built on the momentum from the shorthanded goal. The Bulldogs got their first power-play of the game late in the second and spent the majority of it cycling in the Steelheads zone, testing Ranger, and coming close to taking the lead with the hard right circle shot of Arber Xhekaj but found themselves still knotted at 2-2 heading to the third period.

The Bulldogs had the majority of control in the third period, coming close time after time to taking their first lead of the game piling 14 total shots at Ranger in the frame. With 11 minutes left of regulation McTavish had the Bulldogs best chance, trying to squeeze one past Ranger in the net front scramble but the puck just wouldn’t cross the goal line. The Steelheads cut it close from an Owen Beck shot creating a scramble out-front causing Costantini to lay out in the crease making 3-stops in the scramble while Logan Morrison was able to clear it away from the blue paint. Despite a furious effort to end the game in regulation, 60 minutes wouldn’t be enough and the Bulldogs entered sudden death overtime for the first time this post-season.

Just 1:49 into the extra frame Ryan Winterton drove the right wing side of the Steelheads zone, pulling up to feed Gavin White at the right point. White walked the line and moved the puck to his left who finding the Hamilton native Arber Xhekaj in full flight from the left point. Xhekaj strode to the top of the circle and fired a rocket of a shot past Ranger to finish the game with a 3-2 win and series sweep.

The Bulldogs are back on Friday May 20th at the FirstOntario Centre to host Game 1 of the OHL Eastern Conference Final.

For more information on Hamilton Bulldogs 2022 playoff tickets or playoff flex packs call 905-529-8500 or visit hamiltonbulldogs.com

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