As I sit down to write this edition of the Hamilton Bulldogs Weekly Recap, it is Halloween; All Hallows Eve which precedes the Day of the Dead celebration from ancient origins in history. This is perhaps somewhat fitting due to the fact that the Bulldogs played like a group of undead zombies this past week, finishing with a record of 1 win and 2 losses.
That single win took place vs. the Rochester Americans (affiliate of the Buffalo Sabres) on October 27th and the Bulldogs were lucky to come away with the victory, blowing a two goal lead in the 3rd period. With the game forced into an overtime period, the Dogs were saved by Louis Leblanc who scored his first AHL goal in this, his first AHL game to give the Bulldogs a 3-2 overtime win. The assists on the goal were provided by Andreas Engqvist and Joe Callahan. The Hamilton goals in regulation time were scored by Engqvist and Andrew Conboy, with assists to Garrett Stafford, Engqvist once again, and Leblanc on both goals.
Keeping with the Halloween theme, if this game had been a bad dream in narrowly achieving victory, then the nightmare was about to begin. The next morning, Friday October 28th, the Dogs boarded their team bus and drove for over nine hours to Albany, New York, hampered by a snowstorm and Customs delays. And then, to make matters worse, backup goaltender Robert Mayer was assigned the starting duties in net to take on the Albany Devils (affiliate of the New Jersey Devils) for the game on Saturday night. Regular starter, Nathan Lawson had played in all six of Hamilton’s games so far this season and was given the night off. Based on Mayer’s performance last year (which was dismally brutal) giving him the start is enough to send the most dedicated fan into having the screaming willies.
Mayer would allow 3 goals on 26 shots as the Bulldogs were defeated by the Albany Devils by a final score of 3-2. Scoring for Hamilton was Olivier Fortier and Garrett Stafford. Assists were by Mark Mitera, Brian Willsie, and Dany Masse.
There was a quick turn around immediately following this matchup, as the Hamilton Bulldogs had to return home to their Dog Pound at Copps Coliseum for an afternoon game the next day on Sunday vs. the Abbotsford Heat (affiliate of the Calgary Flames). Nathan Lawson started this game but was replaced by Mayer at the conclusion of the 1st period due to an injury. At this point, Abbotsford put 5 goals into the Bulldogs net and defeated Hamilton by a final score of 6-2. Scoring for the Dogs was again, Olivier Fortier and Andreas Engqvist.
Coming up next is a rematch with Abbotsford on Tuesday November 1st, and then weekend matchups vs. the Houston Aeros and the Lake Erie Monsters.