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IceCaps game report

Second Period Collapse Sinks Bulldogs Against Griffins [with AUDIO]

By Dan Kramer, Senior Writer, All Habs Hockey Magazine

POST-GAME AUDIO: Martin St. Pierre | Sylvain Lefebvre

HAMILTON, ON – Military Appreciation Night won’t go down as one to remember in Hamilton. Despite the Bulldogs playing the defending Calder Cup champion Grand Rapid Griffins relatively evenly most of the night, a total defensive and goaltending collapse midway through the second period saw the visitors deposit four pucks into the ‘Dog net in a 1:13 span to take over the game en route to an easy 6-1 victory.

Sven Andrighetto drew even with Louis Leblanc and Nick Tarnasky for the team lead with his 5th goal of the season in the blowout loss.
Sven Andrighetto drew even with Louis Leblanc and Nick Tarnasky for the team lead with his 5th goal of the season in the blowout loss.

The Bulldogs had generated the better early-game chances when a harmless looking shift in their defensive end saw a puck pop up to Cory Emmerton. The long-time veteran of the Detroit organization caught the puck, dropped it and fired a quick shot with perfect accuracy, wringing off the post and in past a slow-to-react Robert Mayer.

In an ironic twist on Military Appreciation Night, it was a lack of discipline that then got the home team in further trouble, as first a Greg Pateryn board and then a Maxime Macenauer high stick left Hamilton two men short. A unit of Gabriel DumontNathan Beaulieu, and Jarred Tinordi collapsed tight to the net to protect Mayer, but after Dumont took a shot off the right hand leaving him hobbled, AHL superstar Gustav Nyquist found 22-year old Swede Calle Jarnkork at the top of the face-off circle to blast a one-time shot to the back of the net.

There was reason to suspect another comeback effort may have been in the cards for the Bulldogs as they buzzed out of the gate to start the second period. One wraparound chance looked like it may have crossed the goal line, but video review could not conclusively prove that the puck had gone in under Petr Mrazek.

Truthfully, there was no reason to suspect the meltdown that would occur next, starting at the 10:52 mark of the middle stanza. In fact, while it didn’t entirely reflect the balance of play, Hamilton led 22-10 on the shot clock at that point. But then, just after the ‘Dogs had failed to draw within one on a powerplay opportunity, a harmless looking wrister from just inside the blueline off the blade of Andrej Nestrasil somehow went right through Mayer. And the Griffins were hardly done there. Twenty-three seconds later it was Jarnkrok, again on a Nyquist feed, firing his second past the ‘Dogs starter. If that wasn’t enough, a quick rush off the ensuing face-off saw Mayer leave a Nestrasil rebound just outside the blue paint where Mitch Callahan was able to tap it in past the floundering keeper. Three goals in 33 seconds made it a 5-0 game and ended the night for Mayer, paving way for Dustin Tokarski.

Even if a 5-0 game seems out of reach, sometimes changing netminders can help to settle a side down, but that wasn’t the case on this night. The Bulldogs would surrender their fourth goal in a 1:13 span as Teemu Pulkkinen got his stick on a Ryan Sproul shot off the rush on the first shot Tokarski would face.

Typical of a blowout, the third period was a penalty-filled affair as refs kept whistles in their mouths to keep things in check. Despite the numerous powerplays, there were few chances either way, until Sven Andrighetto spoiled Mrazek’s shutout bid with the man advantage on a shot from just inside the blueline in the game’s final minute.

Post-game, captain Martin St. Pierre was at a loss to explain how this game got away from his troops. “It was just a mental breakdown. There’s no fatigue or anything else to blame. It doesn’t matter who’s on the ice after a disallowed goal or after they score one or two really quick. It’s just a matter of bouncing back and forgetting about that. But we just dwelled on it and we shot ourselves in the foot. There’s no one else to blame except us.”

The Bulldogs will take what they can out of this one with less than 48 hours to think about it before they are back in action at home again Sunday against the struggling Utica Comets – a perfect opportunity to rebound.

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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