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IceCaps game report

Griffins Hand Indisiciplined Bulldogs First Loss [with AUDIO]

By Dan Kramer, Senior Writer, All Habs Hockey Magazine

POST-GAME AUDIO: Sylvain Lefebvre | Greg Pateryn | Akim Aliu

HAMILTON, ON – A night of undisciplined penalties cost the Hamilton Bulldogs a chance at a perfect opening weekend at home, but the resilient squad managed to salvage a point in a game where they had to kill nine minor penalties. After Akim Aliu tied the game at three with ten seconds remaining in regulation time, all five Bulldog shootout participants were stopped, while Gustav Nyquist would beat Robert Mayer to earn the defending Calder Cup champions a 4-3 victory.

When Andrighetto speaks of this game to his grandchildren, he'll recall his first professional goal and game-tying assist, and not his bad penalty on a backcheck. (PHOTO:  Jamie Squire/Getty Images North America)
When Andrighetto speaks of this game to his grandchildren, he’ll recall his first professional goal and game-tying assist, and not his bad penalty on a backcheck. (PHOTO: Jamie Squire/Getty Images North America)

For the second night in a row, the Bulldogs started the game strong, as it was again defenseman Greg Pateryn that opened the game’s scoring. On a powerplay, Patrick Holland took a Griffins’ defenseman hard to the net, screening netminder Petr Mrazek, and helping Pateryn’s blast off a Magnus Nygren feed to find the back of the net.

In the second, Hamilton looked to add to its lead thanks to a strong shift from the experienced trio of Mike BlundenGabriel Dumont, and Louis Leblanc. First an offensive zone cycle led to a goal post being struck, and then in the same shift, a Leblanc breakaway and subsequent rebound were somehow kept out by Mrazek. Unfortunately, the play led to two Bulldog forwards lying on the ice behind the goal line, and the Griffins converted rushing the puck the other way. A lucky bounce ended up on the stick of star Gustav Nyquist who made no mistake in beating Robert Mayer.

The Bulldogs didn’t relent, regaining their lead just 18 seconds later, when two Patrick Holland shots were stopped, but Sven Andrighetto was waiting on the doorstep to tap in a rebound for his first professional goal. From there, however, the ‘Dogs indiscipline was the key storyline, as the team took a string of six consecutive penalties, with a strong penalty killing effort finally relenting on the last opportunity late in the second. Nyquist again would this time find Calle Jarnkrok all alone in the slot to one-time a shot past a fallen Mayer, who had made numerous difficult saves to keep the ‘Dogs ahead up till that point.

The parade to the penalty box continued early in the third, and the Griffins would make the Bulldogs pay. With Martin St. Pierre in the box for the second time, Jeff Hoggan collected a rebound of a shot that bounced off two posts and deposited it into the goal behind an outstretched Mayer.

It looked like the game may be done when a miscommunication between Drew Schiestel and Nathan McIver created a too many men call with under 8 minutes to go, but a successful penalty kill allowed the home team to pull Mayer for an extra skater in the game’s final minute. After a Greg Pateryn shot was stopped by Mrazek’s blocker, an Andrighetto shot bounced off a defender and on to the stick of Akim Aliu, whose whack at the puck went up over the Red Wings’ prospect to even the score.

Hamilton – the better team at 5-on-5 (which was rare) for most of the night – failed to carry the momentum of the tying goal into overtime, and the extra frame solved nothing. A shootout was necessary, where the bad ice forced players to keep things relatively simple, and in the end, only a Gustav Nyquist shot would beat either netminder, slipping between Mayer’s legs for the game winner.

The shootout loss drops the ‘Dogs to 1-0-1 to start the season, with the team taking to the road for the first time next weekend for trips to Lake Erie and Toronto.

Hamilton Bulldog lines:

Sven Andrighetto – Martin St. Pierre – Patrick Holland
Mike Blunden – Gabriel Dumont – Louis Leblanc
Erik Nystrom – Ben Duffy – Akim Aliu
Justin Courtnall – Joonas Nattinen – Nick Tarnasky

Joel Chouinard – Greg Pateryn
Drew Schiestel – Darren Dietz
Magnus Nygren – Nathan McIver

Robert Mayer
Dustin Tokarski

Three Stars:

1. Gustav Nyquist
2. Robert Mayer
3. Jeff Hoggan

Hardest Working Bulldog: Greg Pateryn

Honourable mentions to Mike Blunden, Louis Leblanc, Sven Andrighetto

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IceCaps game report

Marlies Sweep Preseason Back-to-Back vs Bulldogs

By Dan Kramer, Senior Writer, All Habs Hockey Magazine

COBOURG, ON – For the second night in a row, the Hamilton Bulldogs got off to a slow start against the Toronto Marlies, but this time they would show considerably less bite the rest of the way, unable to muster anything offensively until the game’s final minutes in ultimately dropping a 2-1 decision.

A Bulldogs roster still lacking many of its more valuable contributors (see the game’s line-up below) was outplayed by the Marlies in the first, and relied on Dustin Tokarski to keep it scoreless early. Tokarski looked increasingly human as the period wore on, however, appearing weak on a bouncing Sam Carrick shot, and then getting only a small piece of a Wade MacLeod wrister from along the boards before it deflected behind him, spotting Toronto a 2-0 lead.

The ‘Dogs had a rare opportunity to cut into the deficit in the period’s dying seconds when Sven Andrighetto – playing his first game with the team – fed Akim Aliu – the standout of training camp – on the doorstep, but Aliu’s deflection was turned aside by Garrett Sparks. Andrighetto had a tough night defensively, but was one of the more creative Bulldogs in the offensive zone, while Aliu continued to bring his physical brand of hockey mixed with flashes of his top end puck skills.

The game got choppy from there on, with three separate fights and scrums after most whistles, which led to a second period lacking any real flow. The goaltenders switched halfway through the game, with Robert Mayer making his preseason debut for Hamilton, but scoring chances were limited for either side.

Patrick Holland
Patrick Holland (Photo: Getty Images)

Toronto looked poised to skate to an easy win in the third period’s early-goings, but the ‘Dogs ensured the fans in Cobourg, Ontario – host city for the night’s preseason action – would see an exciting finish. Just before the midway mark, with Hamilton on the powerplay, a Patrick Holland blast from the point squeaked through traffic in front and past Christopher Gibson to pull his side within one. Holland regularly played the point on the powerplay last season, and was back in that role in his first warm-up contest, while lining up at centre five-on-five.

For the final ten minutes, the Bulldogs controlled much of the play, but their momentum was thwarted by an unfortunate penalty call, where Akim Aliu was the only man sent to the box out of a large scrum. Marlies’ skaters regularly targeted Aliu after whistles, and so if there were any discipline or character issues there – the primary knock against him – he was being put to the test and handled himself rather well.

After killing the penalty, the ‘Dogs’ pressure resumed, and Ben Duffy nearly tipped in a Jordan Owens centering feed. The offensive zone shift would draw a powerplay as Aliu – in the middle of the action again – would be taken out hard into the boards by Jason Beattie. Unfortunately, despite the late flurry evening what had once been a lopsided shot disadvantage, the powerplay proved fruitless, and the Marlies would hold on for their second win in as many days.

Prior to the game, the Bulldogs had announced the first seven cuts of training camp. Peter Delmas was assigned to Orlando of the ECHL, while Chad Wiseman, Andre Morrissette, David Laliberta, Trevor Bruess, Pierre Durepos, and Matt Lashoff were released from their free agent tryout agreements. Many more cuts are to come this week, as there remain twenty forwards, thirteen defensemen, and three goaltenders in camp.

The Bulldogs fall to 0-2-0 in the preseason, and wrap up their exhibition schedule with a game in Dundas, Ontario on Thursday night against the Utica Comets. They then open the regular season at Copps Coliseum on October 11th.

Bulldogs Line-up:
Ben Duffy – Akim Aliu – Sven Andrighetto
Erik Nystrom – Alex Belzile – Stephen MacAulay
Justin Courtnall – Patrick Holland – Jordan Owens
Stefan Fournier – Joonas Nattinen – Kelsey Wilson

Dalton Thrower – Drew Schiestel
Morgan Ellis – Jeremy Price
Nathan McIver – Jonathan Narbonne

Dustin Tokarski
Robert Mayer

 

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IceCaps game report

Tryout Filled Bulldogs Drop Preseason Opener to Marlies

By Dan Kramer, Senior Writer, All Habs Hockey Magazine

OAKVILLE, ON – The Hamilton Bulldogs opened their preseason calendar Friday night, and for the first few minutes, picked right back up where they left off last year. A weak line-up filled mostly with tryouts was dominated early by a Toronto Marlies squad highlighted by some of the Leafs’ top prospects, but fought back to make a game of it after Toronto had staked out a 2-0 lead. In the end, however, a valiant effort would fall short, with a late Spencer Abbott goal snapping a 3-3 tie and en empty netter rounding out the 5-3 Marlies victory.

Condon's debut in a Bulldogs sweater was a success, despite the loss (PHOTO: Ontario Reign)
Condon’s debut in a Bulldogs sweater was a success, despite the loss (PHOTO: Ontario Reign)

The Marlies opened the scoring when Mike Condon gave up a juicy rebound on a Kevin Marshall shot, kicking it cross-crease to where Jerry D’Amigo had an easy tap in. Condon appeared shaky when moments later, no one could clear Greg McKegg from in the crease, and his third whack at the puck snuck across the goal line to give Toronto a 2-0 lead. In fairness to the ‘Dogs, their roster contained few players expected to be major contributor to the team this season, while the Marlies iced multiple top Leafs prospects for the first half of a back-to-back.

But the tryouts on the Hamilton side were determined to strut their stuff in what could be their only chance to do so, given the Bulldogs’ short three game pre-season schedule. Though a 5-on-3 proved unfruitful, before the second penalty could expire, a Dalton Thrower point shot was narrowly missed on a deflection attempt by Alex Belzile, but the puck would bounce back in front off Akim Aliu for a Chad Wiseman tap-in before Christopher Gibson could recover, cutting the lead in half. Erik Nystrom – who left Sweden for a mere 25-game tryout deal with the Bulldogs – tied the score with a nifty deflection of a Joel Chouinard blast before the first frame was out.

The Bulldogs stormed out of the gates to start the second period, with the best scoring chance coming from Wiseman again off an Aliu rebound. Aliu was easily Hamilton’s most dangerous forward on the night, but Wiseman couldn’t find the puck in his skates quickly enough to capitalize for what would have been Aliu’s third assist. Though the Dogs were outchancing their rivals, it would be Toronto’s Wade MacLeod who would break the tie, tipping a Sam Carrick point shot past Condon during a delayed penalty.

After appearing shaky on the first two goals, Condon was solid between the pipes, notably robbing a Marlie with a cross-crease dive during a 4-on-3 penalty kill where it seemed he had no chance. The Princeton University alum will be in his first professional season, though he is almost certain to begin in the ECHL with Dustin Tokarski and Robert Mayer in the picture for Hamilton.

The second period ended on a bit of a scary note when Matt Lashoff took a hard hit while pinching in the offensive zone and was slow to get up. That ended his night, and perhaps his entire disappointing tryout with the organization.

Just before the ten minute mark of the third, Kelsey Wilson – the originator of a line-brawl in the game’s first period – appeared to tie the game on a great feed from Belzile, but despite him being the only player near the net, the goal was strangely waved off. The official announcement was that the net had come off its moorings, but the Oakville complex unfortunately offered no in-game replays.

Stefan Fournier would managed to knot things up a minute later, squeaking a shot through Sparks. Fournier nearly went from hero to goat, taking a penalty shortly after his tying goal, but sound goaltending and good defensive work from Chouinard (to go with his pair of helpers) kept it even.

Despite continued strong play from Condon, the Marlies would regain the lead with under two minutes to play. Jerry D’Amigo would spot Spencer Abbott alone on the doorstep after Matt Grassi lost his man in coverage, and Abbott had an easy tap-in to an open side of the net.

Shortly after Condon got to the bench for an extra attacker, Alex Belzile would turn the puck over in the neutral zone, and D’Amigo completed his night as the best skater for either side with an empty netter, icing the 5-3 victory.

The game should have ended there, but there was a strange dust up with fifteen seconds to play. Wilson again dropped the gloves, this time with Sam Carrick, and after a good bout of several blows exchanged each way, a fired up Wilson walked behind Hamilton’s bench, shouting on his way to the dressing room.

 

Hamilton line-up:
Erik Nystrom – Ben Duffy – Jordan Owens
Chad Wiseman – Akim Aliu – Alex Belzile
Justin Courtnall – Joonas Nattinen – Andre Morrissette
Stephen MacAulay – Stefan Fournier – Kelsey Wilson

Dalton Thrower – Matt Lashoff
Jeremy Price – Joel Chouinard
Matt Grassi – Nathan McIver

Mike Condon
Robert Mayer

 

The Bulldogs are next in action Saturday night with a rematch against the Marlies in Cobourg, Ontario. Their final preseason game is scheduled for Thursday, October 3rd against the Utica Comets in Dundas, Ontario, before opening their regular season at home on Friday, October 11th. You can tune in via radio throughout the season on the new home of the Hamilton Bulldogs, Hamilton AM 900 CHML, which will feature brand new pre- and post-game shows sure to highlight many Montreal Canadiens’ prospects.