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In this week‘s Bulldogs Recap, we take a look at Hamilton’s struggles to hold on to a playoff position in the American Hockey League’s North Division. With only three points separating the first place team (Manitoba) from the one holding the final playoff spot (Toronto), the Bulldogs are perilously sitting right in the middle of this group, where a single win or a loss could either elevate them back to the top of the standings or potentially knock them out.
To complicate the situation ever further is the fact that the Dogs had been experiencing a season-long 5-game losing streak, which leads us into our first game review of this past week.
On Wednesday February 16th, the Dogs made their way to Grand Rapids, Michigan, for a hockey battle vs the Griffins (affiliate of the Detroit Red Wings). This was the fifth of six meetings between the two clubs this season with each team having two victories apiece so far in the series. Scoring for the Bulldogs were Mathieu Carle, Aaron Palushaj, and Frederic St. Denis. Assists were provided by Ben Maxwell, J.T. Wyman, Andrew Conboy and Dustin Boyd. Boyd assisted on two of the goals, his first assists as a member of the Hamilton Bulldogs, but it was not enough as the Dogs lost by a final score of 5-3 and gave them their fifth straight loss.
The losing streak would finally come to an end two days later on Friday February 18th when the Bulldogs travelled to Toronto for the eighth of ten meetings with the Marlies (affiliate of the Toronto Maple Leafs). Ben Maxwell had a goal and an assist while Mathieu Carle recorded two assists, as the Bulldogs defeated the Marlies by a score of 4-3. Also scoring for Hamilton were Andreas Engqvist, Aaron Palushaj, and Hunter Bishop.
Hamilton’s final game of the week came against the San Antonio Rampage (affiliate of the Phoenix Coyotes) as the Dogs returned to their home ice at Copps Coliseum on Saturday February 19 for an afternoon game. This was the second and last game of the season between the two teams. Hamilton’s all-time record against San Antonio is 9-2-0-0 and the Bulldogs would add another win to that record when all was said and done. They carried their momentum forward, winning their second game in a row, and defeated the Rampage 3-1. Most of the game’s scoring was in the first period, which was disrupted by a 20-minute long power failure. The teams were sent to their respective dressing rooms and the remaining time left on the clock was added to the start of the second period. Ryan Russell, Ben Maxwell, and Andreas Engqvist provided the game scoring for the Dogs. Assists were to Alex Henry, J.T. Wyman, and Dustin Boyd.
Up next for the Bulldogs is a trip to Montreal where they will play the Adirondack Phantoms (affiliate of the Philadelphia Flyers) at the Bell Centre this weekend.