Categories
IceCaps game report

Injury-depleted Bulldogs Fall to Barons, 3-0

Brandon Taylor / Hamilton Bulldogs Hockey Club
Brandon Taylor / Hamilton Bulldogs Hockey Club

By Dale Lamontagne, Hamilton Bulldogs Correspondent, Bulldogs Hockey Report – Twitter @Dale_Bulldogs 

HAMILTON, ON — The injury plagued Hamilton Bulldogs took on the Oklahoma City Barons (American Hockey  League affiliate of the Edmonton Oilers) on Sunday afternoon at the FirstOntario Centre, in Hamilton’s third game in three nights.

Both teams entered today’s contest having played two games in two nights, and today would mark the third in three.

The Montreal Canadiens sent Sven Andrighetto to the Bulldogs after Saturday’s game against the Pittsburgh Penguins. Hamilton really needed the offensive support – especially since this afternoon was their third game in three nights.

It only took 4 minutes and 14 seconds for the game to see its first goal, and that would go to the Oklahoma City Barons. Forward Jason Williams picked the puck off a Hamilton player and backhanded it past MacDonald on the blocker side, to notch his 14th goal of the season.

The Bulldogs then pushed hard to get on the board, but there were not successful as the Barons netminder Richard Bachman made 11 big saves in the opening frame.

But with only 4:27 to go in the period, the Barons extended their lead to 2-0 thanks to Iro Pakarinen, who tipped a shot from the point that squeaked by MacDonald.

The second period came to an end in Hamilton and the Barons remained up by two goals. Although the Bulldogs trail the Barons, Hamilton did generate some more offensive chances and outshot Oklahoma in the second 9-7. But Bachman was real solid for the Barons and the ‘Dogs just could not find a way to get by him.

Five minutes into the third, Bowman had a solid chance to score, as he initially shot the puck but then there was a huge rebound and Bowman shot the puck at an open net, but some how Bachman made sure that puck stayed out. Close call.

The Bulldogs had another solid opportunity to score, this time from forward Nevins, who shot the puck wide and missed an open net.

With about two minutes to go, Bowman tripped over the Bulldogs net and appeared to be in some pain as he struggled to walk on his left foot. He left the rest of the period and did not return.

(After the game head coach Sylvain Lefebvre provided an update on Bowman saying that he will be just fine.)

But with a minute left, the Barons put the nail in the coffin and made it 3-0 with an empty net goal from Andrew Miller.

With tonight’s loss, the Bulldogs went 1-2-0 on the weekend set.

Injury Update – 

The Bulldogs were without forwards Connor Crisp (injured), Eric Tangradi (injured) and Shane Bakker (healthy) and defencemen Magnus Nygren (injured) and Jarred Tinordi (injured) tonight and coach Lefebvre said post-game that they’re hoping Crisp and Tinordi will only miss about a week or two.

Quick Notes – 

Attendance  – 4,255
Total shots – Hamilton 26, Oklahoma 31
Three Stars – 1) Bachman (OKC), 2) Williams (OKC), 3) MacDonald (HAM)

Next Game  – 

The Bulldogs will resume their season long seven game homestand on Wednesday as they play host to the Milwaukee Admirals at FirstOntario Centre with puck drop set for 7:30 p.m.

 

Categories
IceCaps game report

Barons Dump ‘Dogs in Dubnyk’s Debut [with post-game audio]

By Dan Kramer, Senior Writer, All Habs Hockey Magazine

Post-game audio: Devan Dubnyk | Davis Drewiske | Sylvain Lefebvre

HAMILTON, ON – If it was the Hamilton Bulldogs’ mission to make new goaltender Devan Dubnyk feel at home in his debut with the team, they certainly succeeded. Dubnyk turned in a solid performance, but was faced with an overwhelming barrage of scoring chances all night from the Oklahoma City Barons – something he had become accustomed to in backstopping the Edmonton Oilers – unable to help his new squad prevail in a pivotal game for the Western Conference playoff race. Despite the netminder’s 38 saves, the Bulldogs were unable to generate much offensively, finding themselves on the wrong end of a 2-1 decision.

Beaulieu was the only Bulldog able to beat Richard Bachman in a 2-1 loss. (PHOTO: Robin Leworthy Wilson, Aerial Promotions)
Beaulieu was the only Bulldog able to beat Richard Bachman in a 2-1 loss. (PHOTO: Robin Leworthy Wilson, Aerial Promotions)

Things started off well for the home team. The Bulldogs were gifted a 5-on-3 powerplay early in the game when Austin Fyten was guilty of a flagrant high stick on captain Martin St. Pierre with Taylor Fedun already sitting in the box. A Gabriel Dumont slash subsequently reduced the advantage to 4-on-3, but just as the first Barons’ penalty expired, Greg Pateryn found Nathan Beaulieu with a cross-ice pass, and the offensive blueliner rifled a shot that beat Richard Bachman up high for a 1-0 lead.

Oklahoma City – a team with a roster far better than you’d expect of a ninth place squad – took over the opening stanza from there, pouncing on numerous Hamilton defensive lapses. First it was Pateryn – exhausted at the end of a near three minute shift – with a turnover to Matthew Ford forcing Dubnyk into a quick save on a break. Dubnyk wouldn’t be agile enough to make up for a second giveaway, however, as Gabriel Dumont deflected a puck in the defensive zone right out to Mark Arcobello at the midway mark of the period. Arcobello, who spent time on the Edmonton Oilers’ powerplay earlier this season as a teammate of Dubnyk’s, made no mistake in shelfing a backhander off the crossbar and in to tie the score.

Dubnyk would finish the first with 12 saves as the visitors held a 13-5 shot advantage. Hamilton would manage to generate more offensive pressure in the second, with the best chance coming as Louis Leblanc picked off a Baron defender to skate in alone on a breakaway in the early minutes. But his backhand to forehand attempt was turned aside by Bachman, as was a quick shot on a Martin St. Pierre break later in the frame.

After the wasted opportunities, a tough shift for Maxime Macenauer would prove costly. The two-way center coughed a puck up in his own end bailing on a play to dodge a hit and then was called for a clear hook in trying to cover his error. Oklahoma City would quickly capitalize on the powerplay, as top prospect Anton Lander found Arcobello again with a cross-rink feed, and his quick one-timer fooled Dubnyk between the legs as he slid across the net. Through forty minutes, the shots stood a highly one-sided 30-17.

The third period was quiet, with the Barons effectively shutting down the ‘Dogs, stifling them from any sustained offensive zone pressure even during two powerplays. Any hope of a last-minute comeback was stymied when an all-out brawl in the crease erupted after a questionable Dumont goalie interference call, resulting in a face-off outside the blueline as both Greg Pateryn and Nathan Beaulieu left the points to defend their tackled forwards.

While two critical points escaped Hamilton on the night, the positive news was the play of the new masked man guarding the team’s cage while Dustin Tokarski is up in Montreal. “Arcobello’s a pretty good hockey player,” joked Dubnyk post-game on the coincidence of facing his former club’s AHL affiliate in his first game within the Canadiens’ organization.

Dubnyk acknowledged there are challenges ahead playing behind a team that doesn’t score a lot of goals. “You can’t give up bad goals. You have to make the saves you should make, and hope to make some spectacular ones in between. It’s that much more important to make sure that goals that shouldn’t go in don’t go in.”

On his playing future, Dubnyk is taking things one game at a time. “As the weeks went by after the Olympic break, you start to see the writing on the wall. I was happy that I was acquired by a team that wants me here. I’m not sure what the situation is, but whether it’s up there or down here, it’s fun to play hockey again. I’m gonna try to enjoy it and work as hard as I can.” But that doesn’t mean he’s satisfied continuing his career at the AHL level. “Everybody wants to be in the NHL. I want to get back there as soon as I can, but you have to make the best out of it.”

Also making his Bulldog debut was Davis Drewiske, rounding out the team’s top four on the blueline on a pairing with Morgan Ellis. He had a couple of nice touches, but was mostly unnoticeable, which suits the stay-at-home d-man’s game nicely. “I was on the IR all year, so just trying to get into shape, get acquainted with the guys. [Tonight] was ok. About what you’d expect for not playing all year. Ok in some parts, and rusty in others. Room for improvement. Trying to get some confidence back, and just play.”

The old and new Bulldogs won’t have much time to think about Friday’s loss, as they are back in action at home Saturday night against the Wilkes-Barre Scranton Penguins, before rounding out a three-in-three Sunday as hosts to the Lake Erie Monsters. If they are to not lose further ground in their long-shot playoff hopes, Hamilton must aim to collect all four remaining possible points on the weekend.

 

Categories
IceCaps game report

Veteran-laden Barons Too Much for Bulldogs to Handle [with AUDIO]

By Dan Kramer, Senior Writer, All Habs Hockey Magazine

POST-GAME AUDIO: Alex Belzile | Coach Sylvain Lefebvre | Yann Danis (OKC)

HAMILTON, ON – For the third night in a row, the Hamilton Bulldogs got behind the eight-ball early against a superior opponent and couldn’t muster enough of a comeback effort to get back in the game, dropping a 3-0 decision to the Oklahoma City Barons Sunday afternoon.

Patrick Holland was one of two Bulldog forwards unable to finish tonight's game. (PHOTO: Hamilton Spectator File Photo)
Patrick Holland was one of two Bulldog forwards unable to finish tonight’s game. (PHOTO: Hamilton Spectator File Photo)

It was a big night for one member of the Bulldogs’ squad, as Sherbrooke, Quebec native Jacob Gervais-Chouinard made his first start at the AHL level. The 21-year old was tested early and proved shaky, popping a Jonathan Cheechoo shot up in the air and being unable to track it in his own crease behind him before Philippe Cornet could pounce on it and tap it home. Moments later a centering pass was found in a scramble in front of the net by Mark Arcobello who also beat Gervais-Chouinard for a quick 2-0 lead for the visitors.

The young netminder would settle down – despite highly unorthodox rebound control – as Hamilton was outshot 11-1 halfway through the first. The shots trend continued into the second, but it would take until the Barons’ 30th shot – coming at almost exactly the midway mark of the second period – for them to next solve the ‘Dogs keeper. A powerplay had the Hamilton defense somehow leave Cheechoo all alone in front, allowing him to collect a pass off his backside, spin around, and beat an out of position Gervais-Chouinard. It marked the third time in as many nights that Hamilton fell behind 3-0.

A brief spark ignited when coach Sylvain Lefebvre reunited the team’s former top line of Alex Belzile – the team’s best forward in the game – Joey Tenute and Patrick Holland. The three instantly generated the second period’s best scoring chance, drawing a penalty on the sequence, but a dismal powerplay failed to produce a quality chance on goal.

Despite the likes of Jordan EberleTaylor HallRyan Nugent-Hopkins, Magnus Paajarvi, and Justin Schultz – all of whom played for the Barons during the lockout – being up in the NHL, the Barons present an experienced roster (Cheechoo, Ben EagerGarret Stafford, and more in addition to quality prospects Arcobello, Anton LanderToni Rajala, and Teemu Hartikainen) which was simply too much for the young Hamilton squad to handle. They would have to do little more than sit back and coast the rest of the way, with the home side managing only one other chance of note, when ex-Hab and Bulldog Yann Danis would stonewall Louis Leblanc standing all in front and taking a 3-on-1 pass perfectly from Petteri Nokelainen, one of the few big saves he was forced to make in earning his first shutout of the season.

The Barons would close out the scoring with a Toni Rajala centering pass that was inadvertently kicked into an empty cage by Nolekalinen, putting a cap on a slow but very one-sided affair.

With the team mathematically eliminated from the post-season, the bigger concern than the loss were injuries suffered by two key members of the Bulldogs. Neither Michael Bournival not Patrick Holland – two guys Montreal may well have added to their Black Aces list to keep skating into the playoffs – was unable to finish the game. Coach Sylvain Lefebvre confirmed it was a lower body injury for Bournival (seen post-game walking without crutches) and that both he and Holland would be evaluated tomorrow.

Belzile was recognized as the Bulldogs’ hardest worker on the night, but he failed to explain why the team got off to such slow starts all weekend long. “It’s hard to say. Maybe it’s the preparation. Or little details like trying to gain momentum quickly and to not lose it. Sometimes it’s just lucky bounces we didn’t get, but we need to keep pushing.” On his own performance and efforts to earn a new contract with the organization, the impressive AHL tryout explained, “Every game I need to be a little more intense on the ice. It’s one of my greatest tools, so I need to use it to bring something to the team. I hope I’ll be back, but I don’t want to think too far ahead. Game by game, I’ll bring my 100% to show I have my place here.”

Just three games remain in the 2013 calendar for the Hamilton Bulldogs, and after losing Steve Quailer to an injury Friday, they may be further undermanned if neither Holland nor Bournival can return next weekend. They will get some reinforcements, however, as Sebastian Collberg agreed to a tryout contract with the squad Sunday morning and will debut at home next Friday night.