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- Rene Bourque is off to his longest goal drought to start a season since 2007-08. However, he has a while to go to beat his slump that year where he needed 12 games to record his first goal.
The Bulldogs have hit the halfway point of the season and find themselves in nearly an identical situation compared to where they were after the one-quarter mark, hovering just over the .500 mark and hanging on to a low playoff spot. A lot of Hamilton's success this past quarter can be attributed to some stingy defence and quality goaltending, resulting in some higher grades this time around.
Players must have played in at least five games to receive a grade.
Robert Mayer: B: There were more good games than bad for the AHL veteran netminder who allowed two or fewer goals in three of his five starts. Tokarski started to see more of the workload, allowing Mayer to have ample rest before most of his games and that seemed to help. Even though his performance overseas doesn't count in his grade, it's worth noting that he won a pair of games at the Spengler Cup including the championship contest.
2nd Quarter Stats: 5 GP, 2-3-0 record, 2.42 GAA, .910 SV%, 0 SO
Season Stats: 12 GP, 3-7-2 record, 2.96 GAA, .899 SV%, 0 SO
Dustin Tokarski: A-: With Hamilton's offence going into the tank, a lot of their success recently can be attributed to Tokarski who closed off the quarter with seven straight starts allowing two goals or less. In my books, he is the Bulldogs' MVP of the first half of the year and finds himself inside the top-5 among all AHL goalies in GAA and SV%. There should be no doubt left as to who their top goalie is.
2nd Quarter Stats: 12 GP, 7-4-1 record, 2.29 GAA, .919 SV%, 0 SO
Season Stats: 26 GP, 15-7-2 record, 2.09 GAA, .928 SV%, 1 SO
N/A: Mike Condon (Only 3 GP; he did play reasonably well in each contest though which was a positive sign in case injuries arise.)
Nathan Beaulieu: B+: After struggling to find his way after settling back in Hamilton from his back-and-forth stints with the Habs, Beaulieu played much more consistently at both ends of the rink over these past few weeks. He still is making some questionable mistakes but they're becoming less frequent while he was one of very few players who provided any sort of regular threat offensively.
2nd Quarter Stats: 19 GP, 2 goals, 6 assists, 8 points, even rating,
15 PIMS, 54 shots
Season Stats: 32 GP, 4 goals, 10 assists, 14 points, -4 rating, 21 PIMS, 91 shots
Joel Chouinard: C: Although he has yet to show any of the upside he had in junior (he had a 68 point season several years ago), Chouinard has worked his way into the every day lineup in recent weeks, beating out Drew Schiestel and Nathan McIver for the spot. He's still nothing more than a filler player for the team though.
2nd Quarter Stats: 13 GP, 1 goal, 0 assists, 1 point, even rating, 6
PIMS, 10 shots
Season Stats: 29 GP, 1 goal, 2 assists, 3 points, even rating, 8 PIMS, 26 shots
Darren Dietz: C+: Dietz hasn't had the offensive impact that many were hoping for after a stellar junior season last year but he has provided some defensive stability which has helped keep him in the lineup regularly. It's likely to be a slow development curve with him but as long as he keeps playing well in his own end, he'll stay in the lineup which should get the scoring element of his game going over time.
2nd Quarter Stats: 18 GP, 0 goals, 4 assists, 4 points, -2 rating, 18
PIMS, 17 shots
Season Stats: 22 GP, 0 goals, 4 assists, 4 points, -1 rating, 24 PIMS, 19 shots
Morgan Ellis: B: Ellis bounced around between the second and third pairings (and even the press box at times) early on but now he has settled in as a steady second pairing player. His defensive game continues to improve although he has yet to become the two-way threat he was at the junior level. Still, his game is finally on the upswing and he is beginning to show some promise once again.
2nd Quarter Stats: 18 GP, 2 goals, 1 assist, 3 points, +4 rating, 22
PIMS, 31 shots
Season Stats: 31 GP, 3 goals, 4 assists, 7 points, +10 rating, 24 PIMS, 40 shots
Nathan McIver: D+: An injury took him out of the lineup and he has yet to reclaim his spot since getting the green light from the doctors. McIver has been a bit better defensively than expected but at the same time, he hasn't provided the physical style of game that was expected of him.
2nd Quarter Stats: 6 GP, 0 goals, 0 assists, 0 points, -2 rating, 9
PIMS, 2 shots
Season Stats: 16 GP, 0 goals, 1 assist, 1 point, -2 rating, 38 PIMS, 7 shots
Greg Pateryn: B+: Pateryn continues to be a go-to player in all situations for the Bulldogs. While he doesn't thrive in any particular situation, he doesn't struggle with any one either, making him their most reliable blueliner in the first half of the year. If the Habs are planning to give their youngsters a shot, he most certainly deserves a chance to play a few games with the big club.
2nd Quarter Stats: 19 GP, 3 goals, 4 assists, 7 points, +3 rating, 14
PIMS, 33 shots
Season Stats: 31 GP, 7 goals, 9 assists, 16 points, +10 rating, 31 PIMS, 63 shots
Drew Schiestel: D+: Like McIver, Schiestel got injured and then never got a chance to get back into the lineup, eventually getting sent down to Wheeling of the ECHL to get some playing time. So much for having a Hamilton native on the Bulldogs...for now at least.
2nd Quarter Stats: 5 GP, 0 goals, 1 assist, 1 point, even rating, 10
PIMS, 6 shots
Season Stats: 21 GP, 0 goals, 6 assists, 6 points, even rating, 16 PIMS, 23 shots
Jarred Tinordi: B: After playing a relatively passive style early on, Tinordi was much more involved in the play this quarter, especially on the physical side of things. I still don't think he's ready for a full-time role yet though as he still has lots to work on with regards to his puck movement and overall offensive game.
2nd Quarter Stats: 19 GP, 1 goal, 1 assist, 2 points, +3 rating, 46
PIMS, 37 shots
Season Stats: 33 GP, 1 goal, 4 assists, 5 points, +3 rating, 52 PIMS, 56 shots
- Hamilton First Quarter Grades: Goaltenders and Defencemen posted by B. La Rose
- Hamilton First Quarter Grades: Forwards posted by B. La Rose