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This week, Hamilton’s streak in which they recorded at least a point ended at 5, as they split a mini two-game series vs the Manitoba Moose.  In the opener, the Bulldogs got the early 2-0 lead and never looked back, as they held on for a 4-3 victory, in a game where the score was closer than it should’ve been.  The next night, it was the Moose who got the 2-0 lead, and despite valiant comeback attempts by Hamilton late in the 3rd period, held on for the 4-2 win. 

Roster notes:

Chris Higgins missed Saturday’s game vs Manitoba with a leg bruise … Andrei Kostitsyn will play one more game with Hamilton before joining Team Belarus for the World Junior Championships on the 21st … Dan Ellis will likely rejoin the team for Monday’s game in Edmonton, which would send Olivier Michaud back to the ECHL.  Read below for more on Ellis and the Canadian Loto Cup squad … Dan Focht was a healthy scratch on Friday, and saw limited action Saturday, as Doug Jarvis was forced to dress 7 defencemen due to Higgins’ injury … Christian Larrivee was recalled Sunday just prior to the writing of this column.

Ellis and Co. fall short in Slovakia:

Earlier this week, backup G Dan Ellis left the Bulldogs to suit up for Team Canada at the 2004 Loto Cup, held from December 16-18 in Piestany, Slovakia.  Canada made the “gold medal” matchup, and wound up winning bronze.  Confused?  Whoever won the game would win gold, while the loser would take either silver or bronze, depending on the tiebreaker.  The Canadians lost 4-2 to Slovakia in the final game, a rematch from last year’s final game.  Ellis had a very minor role for the team, as he backed up former Montreal Canadien goalie Frederic Chabot in the 3 games.  Canada finished with a 1-1-1 record.

By the Numbers:

Corey Locke continued his strong play this week, notching a pair of points.  He now has 7 points in his last 5 games … Tomas Plekanec and Jason Ward are both scoreless in their last 5 games … Duncan Milroy has a point in 6 of his last 9 games; Chris Higgins has a point in 5 of 9 … Andrew Archer and Raitis Ivanans, despite playing over 25 games apiece, are still scoreless.

Goalie Zone:

After getting a lengthy rest spanning two weeks, Yann Danis played both games this week, with recalled G Olivier Michaud backing him up.  Prior to these games, Danis’ last outing was an OT loss to Chicago on December 3rd.  He went 1-1 over the weekend, allowing 5 goals in the 2 games.

The Lineup:

The Bulldogs have likely played their final game with a full complement of forwards in the calendar year, with Andrei Kostitsyn leaving after 1 more game, and Jonathan Ferland’s concussion not healing as quickly as expected.  So, here is the top Bulldogs lineup as we approach 2005:

Line 1: Andrei Kostitsyn-Tomas Plekanec-Jason Ward
Line 2: Chris Higgins-Corey Locke-Duncan Milroy
Line 3: Marc-Andre Thinel-Gavin Morgan-Steve Ott
Line 4: Michael Lambert-Benjamin Carpentier-Raitis Ivanans

Defence 1: Andrew Archer-Ron Hainsey
Defence 2: Dan Jancevski- Phillipe Plante
Defence 3: Trevor Daley-Jean-Phillipe Cote

The Infirmary:

D Mike Komisarek (hip surgery), out indefinitely
W Jonathan Ferland (concussion), out week-to-week
C Antti Miettinen (shoulder), out 8-10 weeks
C Benoit Dusablon (neck stinger), out indefinitely
C/W Chris Higgins (leg bruise), out day-to-day

The Weekly Bulldogs Stat Pack:

Game Results:

December 17: Hamilton 4, Manitoba 3
December 18: Manitoba 4, Hamilton 2

Week Record: 1-1-0-0
Season Record: 11-12-4-1 (7th in division, 11th in conference)

Team Scoring Leaders:

Weekly Scoring Leaders

Steve Ott (2)
Corey Locke (1)
Andrei Kostitsyn (1)
2 others with 1

Duncan Milroy (2)
Gavin Morgan (2)
Chris Higgins (1)
5 others with 1

Corey Locke (2)
Duncan Milroy (2)
Chris Higgins (2)
2 other with 2

Season Scoring Leaders

Corey Locke (8)
Tomas Plekanec (7)
Jason Ward (6)

Tomas Plekanec (10)
Trevor Daley (9)
Duncan Milroy (9)

Tomas Plekanec (17)
Corey Locke (15)
Duncan Milroy (13)
1 other with 13

Weekly Scoring Summary:

1) Locke (Higgins, Milroy)
2) Higgins (Locke, Milroy)
3) Carpentier (Plante)
4) Ott (Morgan, Thinel) GWG
5) Ott (unassisted)
6) Kostitsyn (Daley, Morgan)

Special Teams:

This Week:
Powerplay: 0/7 (0%)
Penalty Kill: 9/10 (90%)

This Season:
Powerplay: 16/154 (10.4%)
Penalty Kill: 111/135 (82.2%)

Upcoming Schedule:

December 20: Hamilton vs Edmonton
December 21: Hamilton vs Edmonton

Long Beach Ice DogsECHL Report:

Week’s Long Beach Transactions:
Dec. 15: D David Walker placed on 7-day IR
Dec. 15: G Chris Madden activated off IR
Dec. 16: G Olivier Michaud recalled to Hamilton (AHL)
Dec. 19: C Christian Larrivee recalled to Hamilton (AHL)

The Ice Dogs played a pair of games this week, winning the first and losing the second in a shootout.  Canadiens prospect Olivier Michaud played both games before being recalled to Hamilton.  Michaud has now earned the team at least 1 point in 4 straight starts, but his playing time will diminish with the return of Chris Madden.  Long Beach is now 12-8-3 for 27 points, which puts them 4th in the West Division and 8th in their conference.

Player Reports:

C-Christian Larrivee (Long Beach) This Week: 2 GP, 1 A, 2 PIMS  Season:  17 GP, 2-3-5, -1, 6 PIMS
C-Cory Urquhart (Long Beach) This Week: 2 GP, 2 A, -2  Season:  20 GP, 3-6-8, -1, 4 PIMS
G-Olivier Michaud (Long Beach) This Week: 1-0-0-1 record  Season:  4-7-1-2 record, 2.92 GAA, .912 SV%
D-James Sanford (Peoria) This Week: 1 GP, 0 pts  Season:  17 GP, 2-6-8, -7, 12 PIMS
D-Matt Shasby (Long Beach) Season: 6 GP, 1-2-3, +3, 0 PIMS

Upcoming Schedule:

December 22: Long Beach vs Bakersfield

Blast From the Past

The fan aspect of this feature has been cancelled due to an overall lack of participation.  Periodically, an ex-Hab player report will be made, beginning in the new year.

Bulldogs Player of the Week:

Each week, one Hamilton player will be selected as the HabsWorld Player of the Week.  At the end of each month, you the fans will be able to vote on the Player of the Month.  A different player will be nominated each week.

This Week’s Winner: Corey Locke (1 goal and 1 assist in 2 games)

December Weekly Winners:
November 28-December 4:
C Steve Ott
December 5-December 12: G Dan Ellis
December 13-December 19: C Corey Locke

Previous Monthly Winners (as previously selected:
G Yann Danis
November: C Tomas Plekanec

Note: The Bulldogs This Week will not be published next Sunday (the 26th).  It instead will appear the following day, Monday December 27th.  Happy Holidays!