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Due to circumstances beyond our control, we were not able to compile last week’s Bulldogs column.  We apologize for any inconvenience.

The AHL All-Star break has come and gone, and the Hamilton Bulldogs have some catching up to do if they want to make the postseason.  Unfortunately, they couldn’t use the momentum from a pair of blowout wins a week before, as in game 1 back from the break, they were doubled up 6-3 by the piddly River Rats, in a game that the Bulldogs thoroughly dominated.  The following afternoon led to redemption though, as they doubled up on the Baby Leafs by a score of 4-2.

Plekanec lights it up in Manchester:

Despite having just 1 team representative, the Hamilton Bulldogs were quite successful at the annual AHL All-Star Classic.  C Tomas Plekanec won the Fastest Skater competition on the Sunday night, and parlayed that into an MVP performance the following night, scoring a goal in regulation play, as well as a shootout goal in Planet USA’s 5-4 win over Canada, their first win in 6 years.

Another Hab heads down:

Following the first (and official) cancellation of the 04-05 NHL campaign, C Steve Begin decided it was time to lace up the skates somewhere.  That somewhere is in Hamilton, where he will add some toughness to the lineup.  Begin is no stranger to the AHL, having won a Calder Cup MVP before, and the Bulldogs will look to his experience to aid their cause as they try to rally and make the playoffs.  No player has been sent down yet as Begin has not been activated to the roster.  Expect Michael Lambert to be the odd man out.

Brawling Bunch:

Not getting named to the All-Star game can do many things to players.  For some, it disappoints them greatly, while for others, it motivates them even more.  For the Bulldogs, however, it makes them want to fight apparently.  The end of Saturday’s contest in Albany saw a couple of violent incidents, and that bad blood boiled over into Sunday’s game vs St. John’s, where 193 PIMS were handed out, the most in a Hamilton game this season. 

By the Numbers:

Following up on the fight-filled weekend, here’s some interesting notes.  Raitis Ivanans and Steve Ott appeared to be in a competition for most PIMS in a weekend.  Ivanans (17+28=45) defeated Ott (16+16=32).  In Sunday’s matinee, no fewer than 6 Bulldogs found themselves with double digit PIMS, including the usually timid James Sanford, who was ejected for 3rd man in a fight.  The return of Antti Miettinen seems to have sparked the offense, as, he has 6 points in 10 games this season, the first 5 in which he had a grand total of 1 assist.  Tomas Plekanec is just 3 goals away from equalling last year’s total of 23, set in 76 games.

Goalie Zone:

It was a rough week for Dan Ellis, as he was yanked halfway through the Albany game, after allowing 4 goals on just 15 shots.  His record now drops to 7-17 on the season.  Yann Danis meanwhile, had a strong weekend, stopping 39 of 43 shots faced on the weekend, improving his record to 15-11-5. 

The Infirmary:

D Mike Komisarek (hip surgery), out indefinitely
D Dan Focht (shoulder), out indefintely
C Steve Begin (conditioning), out day-to-day

Spotlight Stat:

A new feature to the column, here, we’ll take a more detailed look at some of the Bulldogs stats for the remainder of the season.  This week’s feature: Game Winner goals.

As a team heads down the stretch, it relies more on its veteran players to ensure that the team gets at least a point if not a win, particularly in Hamilton’s case, where they are struggling to move up in the standings.  So far, this has been the case, as veterans Tomas Plekanec and Steve Ott are leading the way with 5 and 3 respectively.  Not coincidentally, those two also lead the team in scoring.

Full Stats: Plekanec (5), Ott, Chris Higgins (3), Jason Ward, Duncan Milroy (2), Andrei Kostitsyn, Gavin Morgan, Dan Jancevski, Marc-Andre Thinel, Raitis Ivanans (1).

The Weekly Bulldogs Stat Pack:

Game Results:

February 19: Albany 6, Hamilton 3
February 20: Hamilton 4, St. John’s 2

Week Record: 1-1-0-0
Season Record: 22-22-6-5 (tied for 5th in division, tied for 8th in conference, out of playoffs)

Team Scoring Leaders:

Weekly Scoring Leaders Season Scoring Leaders

Antti Miettinen (2)
Jason Ward (1)
Andrei Kostitsyn (1)
3 others with 1

Andrew Archer (2)
James Sanford (1)
Tomas Plekanec (1)
6 others with 1

Antti Miettinen (3)
Andrew Archer (2)
Corey Locke (2)

Tomas Plekanec (20)
Chris Higgins (16)
Corey Locke (16)
1 other with 16

Tomas Plekanec (21)
Jason Ward (20)
Steve Ott (18)

Tomas Plekanec (41)
Steve Ott (33)
Jason Ward (33)

Weekly Scoring Summary:

1) Higgins (Miettinen, Archer)
2) Morgan (Milroy)
3) Locke (unassisted)
4) Miettinen (Sanford, Daley) PP
5) Ward (Locke, Ott) PP
6) Kostitsyn (Archer) GWG
7) Miettinen (Plekanec, Jancevski)

Special Teams:

This Week:
Powerplay: 2/13 (15.4%)
Penalty Kill: 10/13 (76.9%)

This Season:
Powerplay: 41/305 (13.4%)
Penalty Kill: 221/266 (83.1%)

Upcoming Schedule:

February 23: St. John’s vs Hamilton
February 25: Rochester vs Hamilton
February 26: Manitoba vs Hamilton

ECHL Report

Week’s Long Beach Transactions:
No transactions this week.

The “Baby Dogs” continue to dominate the ECHL, winning all 3 games they played this week, a pair of 5-3 wins over Vegas, and a 3-1 win over the Bakersfield Condors.  Long Beach is now 33-14-5, good for first in their conference, and 2nd overall in the ECHL to Pensacola, a joint affiliation between Toronto and Tampa Bay.

Player Reports:

C-Christian Larrivee (Long Beach) Season:  35 GP, 5-7-12, +4, 10 PIMS
C-Cory Urquhart (Long Beach) Season:  43 GP, 13-8-21, +4, 10 PIMS
G-Olivier Michaud (Long Beach) Season:  14-9-2-1 record, 2.39 GAA, .927 SV%
D-James Sanford (Peoria) Season:  17 GP, 2-7-9, -7, 14 PIMS
D-Matt Shasby (Long Beach) Season: 20 GP, 2-8-10, +10, 22 PIMS

Upcoming Schedule:

February 23: Las Vegas vs Long Beach
February 25: Bakersfield vs Long Beach
February 26: Idaho vs Long Beach

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: C Antti Miettinen (2 goals in 2 games)

February Weekly Winners:
January 28-February 4:
W Duncan Milroy
February 5-February 12: C Steve Ott
February 13-February 20: C Antti Miettinen

Previous Monthly Winners (as previously selected:
G Yann Danis
November: C Tomas Plekanec
December: C Corey Locke
January: W Jason Ward

January Results:
Jason Ward (42%)
Chris Higgns (27%)
Tomas Plekanec (25%)
Gavin Morgan (6%)