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- January hasn't been a kind month for Lars Eller. He has just 12 points in 44 games, his lowest PPG average of any month.
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.
- Lines from the most recent game:
Quailer - Dumont - Gallagher
Blunden - Boyce - Leblanc
Bournival - Chaput - Palushaj
Hagel - Nattinen - Holland
Beaulieu - Ellis
Tinordi - Commodore
Nash - St-Denis
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.
Goals: Aaron Palushaj
Assists: 5 tied with (6)
Points: Brendan Gallagher (12)
+/-: Joonas Nattinen (+4)
PIMS: Zack Stortini (68)
Shots: Brendan Gallagher (65)
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.
December 12: Wheeling vs Toledo
December 14: Wheeling vs Trenton
December 15: Fort Wayne vs Wheeling
December 16: Evansville vs Wheeling
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.
- 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.
- 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]