This week, the Hamilton Bulldogs made good on most of their opportunities, winning 3 of 4 games, and in the process, establishing a very small bit of wiggle room for that final playoff spot, something they haven’t managed to do all season. It started off well on Wednesday, beating the Moose 2-1, before falling by that same score Friday against St. John’s in their final (and 100th) regular season contest ever. Then came their most important game of the season in Syracuse, who was just 1 point back of the Dogs at the time, and to say Hamilton showed up would be an understatement, as they blanked the Crunch 3-0. In their 4th game in 5 days, the Bulldogs still showed no fatigue, and cruised to a 4-1 win over Grand Rapids, getting revenge for a similar loss to the Griffs a couple of weeks back before the rough stuff began.
Sunday leads to benches clearing:
Late in Sunday’s contest vs Grand Rapids, things got ugly, as Griffins’ F Peter Vandermeer was ejected for a deliberate elbow on W Jason Ward, who left the game for some facial repairs. Then at the end of the game, Jonathan Ferland and Darryl Bootland then got into a fight at the end of the game, where Bulldogs tough guy Raitis Ivanans jumped in, and received a 3rd man in penalty. From there the benches cleared, but nothing really transpired, however, it is anticipated that suspensions will be forthcoming.
Record Setting Week for 1 Bulldog:
In what was one of, if not his best week as a pro, G Yann Danis took some pages out of the Hamilton Bulldogs record book. In Saturday’s win at Syracuse, he tied the franchise record for shutouts in a season, with 5 (tying Eric Kepler). With that win, his 25th, he broke the all-time mark for wins by a goaltender in a season, surpassing Jean-Sebastian Aubin and Steve Passmore, both of whom have spent some time in the NHL.
By the Numbers:
The Bulldogs have picked it up as of late, going 7-2-1-0 in their last 10 games, earning 15 of a possible 20 points. Corey Locke scored his first goal in 19 games on Saturday night, while Mike Komisarek seems to be getting his legs back, earning 3 assists in his last 6 games. Marc-Andre Thinel earned an assist Sunday vs Grand Rapids, in his first game since the clear day rosters were released over 2 weeks ago.
With 2 weeks to go in the season, it’s time to look at Doug Jarvis’ line combos as of the Sunday game against Grand Rapids. Also noted here will be the probable changes when certain players return given their previous linemates.
1) Chris Higgins – Tomas Plekanec – Antti Miettinen
2) Andrei Kostitsyn – Steve Begin – Jason Ward
3) Marc-Andre Thinel – Gavin Morgan – Duncan Milroy
4) Raitis Ivanans – Corey Locke – Jonathan Ferland
Injured: Steve Ott Scratch: Benjamin Carpentier
Probable change #1: Steve Ott to replace Andrei Kostitsyn on line 2, Kostitsyn drops to line 4, replacing Jonathan Ferland
Probable change #2: Benjamin Carpentier to replace Marc-Andre Thinel on line 3.
1) Ron Hainsey – Mike Komisarek
2) Trevor Daley – Dan Jancevski
3) Jean-Phillipe Cote – Andrew Archer
Injured: Dan Focht, Phillipe Plante Scratch: James Sanford
There are no probable changes on the defence corps.
1) Dan Ellis
2) Yann Danis
Remember, this was the lineup for the Sunday game vs Grand Rapids, where Dan Ellis got the start. However, Yann Danis will be the full-time starter down the stretch.
Yann Danis was nothing short of amazing this week, winning 2 of 3 games he played in, including a 43-save shutout, and allowing just 1 goal in the loss. He stopped 98/101 shots this week. Weekly Stats: 3 GP, 2-1 record, 1.01 GAA, .970 SV%. Dan Ellis, meanwhile, got his first action in 3 weeks, and didn’t look rusty at all, allowing just 1 goal against Grand Rapids on Sunday afternoon. Weekly Stats: 1 GP, 1-0 record, 1.00 GAA, .950 SV%.
D Dan Focht (shoulder), out for the season
D Phillipe Plante (knee), day-to-day
C Steve Ott (ankle), day-to-day
From here on in until the playoffs, we’ll look at the division standings to see how close Hamilton is to making the postseason. The new playoff format allows just the top-4 teams per division to qualify for the playoffs. Currently, the Bulldogs are in sole possession of 4th, 5 points up on Syracuse. However, the Crunch have a pair of games in hand, and currently hold the first tiebreaker (wins), while Edmonton and Cleveland find themselves 6 and 8 points out respectively. Now, the standings:
Teams highlighted in blue are in the playoffs, teams in grey are out as of April 3, 2005. Teams indicated by ‘X‘ have clinched a playoff berth.
Replacing the spotlight stat, from here on in, we’ll look directly at the schedule for the 4 teams contending for the final playoff spot. Here is this week’s important schedule:
Apr. 6/8 vs Milwaukee
|Apr. 5/6 @ Manitoba|
Apr. 8 @ Cleveland
Apr. 9 vs Rochester
Total: 1 home, 3 away
|Apr. 8 vs St. John’s|
Apr. 9 vs St. John’s
Total: 2 home, 0 away
|Apr. 8 vs Syracuse|
Apr. 9 @ Cincinnati
Apr. 10 vs Cincinnati
Total: 2 home, 1 away
The Weekly Bulldogs Stat Pack:
Week Record: 3-1-0-0
Season Record: 34-28-7-5, 80 points (4th in division, tied for 8th in conference, current playoff matchup: Rochester)
Team Scoring Leaders:
|Weekly Scoring Leaders||Season Scoring Leaders|
Weekly Scoring Summary:
1) Begin (Ward) SH
2) Ivanans (Locke) GWG
3) Ward (Locke, Komisarek) PP
4) Jancevski (Plekanec, Daley) PP, GWG
5) Daley (Miettinen, Plekanec)
6) Locke (Ivanans, Ferland)
7) Ward (Hainsey, Begin)
8) Plekanec (Miettinen, Komisarek) GWG
9) Miettinen (Thinel, Locke)
10) Higgins (Daley, Plekanec) PP
Powerplay: 3/17 (17.6%)
Penalty Kill: 11/11 (100%)
Powerplay: 60/401 (15%)
Penalty Kill: 302/355 (85.1%)
April 6: Milwaukee vs Hamilton
April 8: Milwaukee vs Hamilton
April 9: Hamilton vs Manitoba
April 10: Hamilton vs Manitoba
Week’s Long Beach Transactions:
Mar. 28: Release D Trevor Read
April 1: Long Beach 2 Alaska 1
April 2: Long Beach 5, Gwinnett 1
April 3: Long Beach 7, Fresno 0
The Ice Dogs finally secured a playoff spot this week, after winning all 3 games they played this week, including one over Alaska, who the Dogs are pursuing for first in their division and conference. Despite having just 2 games left, Long Beach could finish anywhere between 1st and 3rd in the division, and could possibly slip as low as 4th in their conference.
C-Christian Larrivee (Long Beach) This Week: 3 GP, 1 G, 2 A, +3 Season: 51 GP, 9-20-29, +4, 18 PIMS
C-Cory Urquhart (Long Beach) This Week: 3 GP, 1 G, +1, 2 PIMS Season: 61 GP, 16-13-29, +2, 14 PIMS
G-Olivier Michaud (Long Beach) This Week: 1 GP, win Season: 17-14-4-2 record, 2.58 GAA, .917 SV%
D-Matt Shasby (Long Beach) This Week: 3 GP, 3 A, +4, 2 PIMS Season: 38 GP, 3-18-21, +18, 48 PIMS
W-Michael Lambert (Long Beach) This Week: 3 GP, 1 A, +1, 10 PIMS Season: 16 GP, 4-3-7, -5, 26 PIMS
D-James Sanford (Peoria) This Week: DNP Season: 17 GP, 2-7-9, -7, 14 PIMS
April 8: Long Beach vs Fresno
April 9: Long Beach vs Fresno
End of regular season
Bulldogs Player of the Week:
Each week, one Hamilton player will be selected as the HabsWorld Player of the Week. At the end of each month, you the fans will be able to vote on the Player of the Month. A different player will be nominated each week.
This week’s top player is G Yann Danis, who had his best week as a professional, setting or equaling a pair of franchise records, as well as recording a 2-1 record, with a 1.01 GAA and a sparkling .970 SV%.
As for the March Player of the Month, that honour goes to D Ron Hainsey, who stepped up his game tremendously upon the arrival of Mike Komisarek. Hainsey had a cool 10 points this past month.
April Weekly Winners:
March 28-April 3: G Yann Danis
Past Monthly Winners (as previously selected:)
October: G Yann Danis
November: C Tomas Plekanec
December: C Corey Locke
January: W Jason Ward
February: G Yann Danis
March: D Ron Hainsey
1) Ron Hainsey 54%
2) Chris Higgins 24%
T-3) Steve Begin 11%
T-3) Yann Danis 11%