The Hamilton Bulldogs continued their road trip this past week with stops in Grand Rapids, Chicago, and Milwaukee. Overall, the Dogs did not fair very well; winning only a single game out of three, yet they retained their position of first place in the North Division with a record of 21-13-1-4 and a total of 47 points, one more than the 2nd place Manitoba Moose.
On Wednesday January 5th, the Bulldogs played the Grand Rapids Griffins (affiliate of the Detroit Red Wings) for the third time out of six meetings that the two teams will have this season. Coming into this game, Hamilton had an all-time record of 30-17-1-2-4 vs the Griffins but unfortunately the loss column in that statistic would increase by one when this one ended with Grand Rapids defeating the Dogs by a final score of 3-2.
J.T. Wyman struck first, assisted by Olivier Fortier and Ryan Russell, to give Hamilton a 1-0 lead in the 1st period but then Grand Rapids took control of the game, peppering Curtis Sanford with 48 shots. Sanford stopped 45 of them and almost single-handedly gave the Bulldogs the chance to even stay in the game. Mathieu Carle aided the cause when he scored the second goal for the Dogs in the third period to actually tie the score at 2-2. But then, 1:22 later, the Griffins put the game-winning goal behind Sanford and went on to victory.
The next game, on Saturday January 8th, had the Hamilton Bulldogs in Chicago to take on the Wolves (affiliate of the Atlanta Thrashers). This was the 3rd of four meetings between the two clubs this season. The last time the two teams met was back on December 28th when Chicago defeated Hamilton by a final score of 5-3. Hamilton holds the upper hand all-time with a 13-9-0-2 record and went a perfect 4-0-0-0 last season, but this year Chicago had a 2-0-0-0 advantage going into this matchup.
Not wanting to experience a repeat of the Grand Rapids game, the Bulldogs came out flying and dominated the Chicago Wolves, outshooting them 36-16 with a final score of 4-1. J.T. Wyman once again got his name on the score sheet, scoring a pair of goals, along with Dustin Boyd and Kyle Klubertanz. Assists were provided by Frederic St. Denis, Andrew Conboy, Ryan White, Brendon Nash, Alex Henry, and Ben Maxwell.
The following afternoon, Sunday January 9th, the Bulldogs made a short journey up the Interstate to Milwaukee, Wisconsin for the first of two meetings this season vs the Milwaukee Admirals (affiliate of the Nashville Predators).
Perhaps being over-confident with their rout over Chicago, the Dogs ended up taking a lot of dumb penalties and lost this one by a final score of 3-2. Again, J.T. Wyman scored both goals for Hamilton; the assists to Mathieu Carle, Brendon Nash, Aaron Palushaj, and Alexander Avtsin.
The Bulldogs now return home to their Dog Pound at Copps Coliseum this week for upcoming games against the Lake Erie Monsters, the Syracuse Crunch, and the Rochester Americans.