The Hamilton Bulldogs square off for a weekend home & home with the Mississauga Steelheads, beginning Friday, December 6th at the Paramount Fine Foods Centre in Mississauga for a 7:00pm puck drop before returning to the FirstOntario Centre on Saturday, December 7th with puck drop at 4:00pm as the Hamilton Bulldogs present a Military Appreciation Game.
Entering the weekend the Hamilton Bulldogs sit tied for 6th place in the OHL’s Eastern Conference with a 12-14-2-0 record for 26 points through 28 games, Mississauga meanwhile sits in the 8th and final playoff spot in the East, holding a 8-16-2-0 record and totalling 18 points through 26 games, just two points clear of the Kingston Frontenacs.
The Bulldogs head into the weekend home and home looking for a rebound from back to back losses to the Peterborough Petes & Barrie Colts, though the Bulldogs did take a point in the game against Barrie and held leads in both contests. Hamilton comes into the weekend a little uneven with a 4-5-1-0 record across the team’s last 10 as they look to regain momentum and keep a stranglehold on their place in the East playoff picture. Mississauga enters the weekend with points in each of their last two games going 1-0-1-0, however the Steelheads have struggled across their last 10 overall, sitting 3-5-2-0 in that time. The Steelheads have also struggled to score goals on the season, having potted 74 through their 26 games while the Bulldogs on the other hand have scored the 4th most in the Eastern Conference, with 107 goals in 28 games.
The Bulldogs & Steelheads have met twice already this season with Hamilton going 1-1-0-0 in those games, both having been played at Paramount Fine Foods Centre. Mississauga blitzed the Bulldogs in the first meeting of the season coming away with a 6-2 victory on October 4th but the Bulldogs would right the ship on November 1st, downing the Steelheads by a 4-2 margin in a very entertaining game.
In the meetings between the teams thus far the Bulldogs have seen a level of balance in scoring headlined by Jan Jenik with a 1-3-4 line and followed closely by Arthur Kaliyev, 3-0-3, and Liam Van Loon, 0-3-3. Nathan Staios leads Bulldogs blueliners in the season series with 0-2-2 through the pair of games while Gavin White recorded his first point in the Ontario Hockey League in the meeting on October 4th. For the Steelheads, Richard Whittaker, 1-2-3, and Nicholas Canade, 0-3-3, lead the way in scoring for the season series, while Max Dodig has recorded his only two OHL goals against the Bulldogs, one in each game between the teams so far.
Coming into the weekend home & home Arthur Kaliyev sits at 110 goals scored in the OHL, just 5 behind Matt Strome’s team record of 115. Jan Jenik will be looking to continue his season long, 25-game point-streak which has seen the Bulldogs import centre record 20 goals & 34 assists for 54 across the 25 games he has appeared in. Hamilton winger Tag Bertuzzi will play in his 100th career game on Saturday at FirstOntario Centre in the back half of the home and home while Bulldogs center Bradey Johnson will continue to close in on his 200th OHL game, coming into the weekend with 186 games played. Avery Hayes & Jake Gravelle are also on milestone watch as Gravelle enters the weekend at 96 OHL games played & Hayes at 92.