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For the second straight week, the Bulldogs
earned a split on the road and also for the second straight week were dominated
in their first game before putting forth a winning effort in game two. 
Wins continue to be hard to come by for Wheeling as they lost a pair; both
Montreal affiliates are now last in their conferences.  Despite their
struggles, there have been some positives in Hamilton’s season, my Final Thought
looks at the good and bad through the first quarter of the year.

The Dog
Pound

Hamilton’s victory in Hershey extended their
winning streak in Pennsylvania to a span of over 40 months…covering a
whopping two whole games.  Suffice it to say, these two teams don’t play
each other often.

News and
Notes:

- The Bulldogs have allowed their opponents to
score the opening goal in 17 of their last 18 games.

- Alexander Avtsin was not with the team this
past week due to the birth of his first child. 

- Greg Pateryn is 2-3 weeks away from returning
from an elbow injury while Peter Delmas (ankle) is now listed as day-to-day.

- Lines from the most recent game:

Forwards:

Quailer – Dumont – Gallagher
Blunden – Boyce – Leblanc
Bournival – Chaput – Palushaj
Hagel – Nattinen – Holland

Defence:

Beaulieu – Ellis
Tinordi – Commodore
Nash – St-Denis

Results:

December 7:

Syracuse 5, Hamilton 1

December 8:

Hamilton 3, Hershey 2

StatPack:

After a slow start to the season,
Nathan Beaulieu’s offence has come to life over the last few weeks.  He has
five points in his last six games after just picking up one in his first
thirteen contests.

SKATERS


#

Player

GP

G

A

+/-

SH

PIMS
4 Brendon Nash 2 0 1 E 2 2
5 Jarred Tinordi 2 0 0 -2 0 0
8 Nathan Beaulieu 2 0 3 E 4 0
10 Stefan Chaput 2 0 0 -2 2 2
12 Zack Stortini 1 0 0 E 0 2
13 Steve Quailer 2 0 0 E 3 0
14 Michael Blunden 2 1 0 E 3 2
15 Kyle Hagel 2 0 0 -1 3 10
17 Brendan Gallagher 2 0 1 +1 6 4
18 Michael Bournival 1 0 1 E 1 0
20 Louis Leblanc 2 0 1 -1 1 0
22 Mike Commodore 2 0 0 -2 1 0
23 Joonas Nattinen 2 1 0 +1 4 0
28 Aaron Palushaj 2 1 0 -1 7 0
32 Frederic St-Denis 2 0 0 +1 2 2
37 Patrick Holland 2 1 0 +1 2 0
40 Gabriel Dumont 2 0 0 +1 0 2
44 Morgan Ellis 2 0 1 +1 1 2
47 Darryl Boyce 2 0 0 -2 0 2

GOALIES


#

Player

Record

SV%

GAA
30 Cedrick Desjardins 1-1-0 .892 3.50

Scoring
Leaders:

Goals: Aaron Palushaj
(7)
Assists: 5 tied with (6)
Points: Brendan Gallagher (12)
+/-: Joonas Nattinen (+4)
PIMS: Zack Stortini (68)
Shots: Brendan Gallagher (65)

Schedule:

December 11:
Lake Erie vs Hamilton
December 13: Hamilton vs Chicago

December 15:
Hamilton vs Rockford
December 16: Hamilton vs Milwaukee

The
Farm’s Farm

Shootouts were not the friend of the Habs’ ECHL
affiliate in Wheeling as the Nailers lost a pair of home games to Florida in the
breakaway contest.

As the Habs/Bulldogs now have players playing
for four different teams, the table below now covers all of those players, not
just the ones with Wheeling.

Player Team
GP

G

A

+/-

SH

PIMS
Olivier Fortier Orlando 3 1 1 -2 7 0
Scott Gomez Alaska 3 2 3 +2 6 2
Phillipe Lefebvre Wheeling 2 0 1 +1 3 0
Ian Schultz Utah 3 1 0 E 2 15
Joe Stejskal Wheeling 2 0 0 -2 3 2

Schedule:


December 12: Wheeling vs Toledo
December 14: Wheeling vs Trenton
December 15:
Fort Wayne vs Wheeling
December 16: Evansville vs Wheeling

Final
Thought

With the Bulldogs passing the one quarter mark
of the season this past week, there is now enough information to comment on some
of the positives and negatives of the season so far.

Positives:

- Brendan Gallagher – Despite the teams’
struggles offensively, he has managed to produce at about the level I expected
him to.  The fact that he is Hamilton’s top point getter is a positive for
his season.

- Home Penalty Kill – This has been very
strong in the early going of the year as the Bulldogs have a 95% success rate
killing penalties on home ice.

Negatives:

- Road Penalty Kill – Not only do the Bulldogs
allow more PP goals on the road, they also take a lot more penalties. 
Hamilton sits dead last in both PP goals allowed (16) and PK percentage (73.8%)
away from Copps Coliseum.

- Lack of scoring – Two goals per game isn’t
going to cut it at any level but especially in the pros.  However, the
‘Dogs have scored just 42 goals on the season which puts them dead last in the
AHL.

- Standings – Speaking of dead last, the
Bulldogs are tied with Peoria for the fewest points so far this season (18)
although Hamilton has two games in hand on the Rivermen.  I expected a slow
start to the season, but being tied for 29th overall wasn’t exactly what I had
in mind.

If you have any questions/comments, please feel
free to drop me a line at [email protected]