Hamilton Bulldogs vs the Toronto Roadrunners 11-26 (3-1)
By Dan Linn
The Hamilton Bulldogs visit the Toronto Roadrunners for the 1st time in team history. After being teammates last year for many of the Dogs and Roadrunners, a new season and a new team will make that all but a distant memory. The Dogs will add Ron Hainsey and Marcel Hossa to the lineup, but will be without Mike Komisarek and Pierre Dagenais who were called up to the Montreal Canadiens. Hossa will play on the top line with Gratton and Balej, while Hainsey would be looked at to lead the power play with his offensive abilities.
A tight defensive battle, as no team was able to score on either Eric Fichaud or Michael Morrison. The Dogs were able to kill off two penalties to keep the game scoreless, thanks to some big saves by Fichaud.
Still no goals, in what was clearly a goaltenders duel. Although both Hossa and Hainsey had chances to score, neither were able to crack the roadrunners goalie. Hainsey came the closest when he ringed a shot off the post, late in the period. Perezhogin took a costly penalty, as he found himself in coach Jarvis’s doghouse with limited ice time.
Finally a goal, as the roadrunners were able to get a lucky bounce, and Hinz was able to drive it home to open the scoring at the midway point of the peroid. Less then 3 minutes later, Chirs Higgins was able to score a highlight reel goal, when he picked up a drop pass from linemate Alex Perezhogin, then moved to the center of the ice and held onto the puck until he got the goalie out of position, where he was able to put home his 6th goal of the year. But that was it for the Dogs, as the Roadrunners were able to break the tie late in the period as Jamie Wright put one home. The Roadrunners added an empty net goal, as Josef Balej wasn’t able to get down the ice fast enough to stop Michael Henrich.
It was a really tough night for the Hossa Gratton Balej line, as they were all -2, with Balej being a -3 on the night. Dykhuis, Traverse, Cote, Plante were all -1 with Higgins joining them at -1 as well. Alex Perezhogin was the only + player for the Dogs at +1. Eric Fichaud was named the 2nd star of the game. Francois Beauchemin led the way with 3 shots on goal.
The Dogs return home Friday night in a rematch with the Roadrunners at 7 pm.