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Another week, another 2-1 record for the Hamilton Bulldogs, as they continue to inch their way towards a playoff berth in the Western Conference.  Things got off to a slow start, as the Dogs lost a heartbreaker, 2-1 to the Cleveland Barons, a team that at the time was behind them in the division.  The next day they got their revenge, using a 4-goal 2nd to their advantage, winning 5-4, before heading to Edmonton, the 4th place team in the West.  There, a late goal by Benjamin Carpentier was the difference, as Hamilton won another 1 goal game, this time, by a score of 4-3.

Another one back in the lineup:

Last week, it was C Steve Begin who made his season debut with the Bulldogs.  This week, a more familiar face returned to the lineup, D Mike Komisarek, who suited up Friday, after missing every game with a hip injury.  Komisarek had 2 shots, and was even in his debut.  This leaves one key injury on the back end remaining, in Dan Focht.  Andrew Archer is now the odd man out, as recent call-up James Sanford has supplanted him on the depth chart.

By the Numbers:

Special teams dominated this week, as Hamilton far exceeded their season averages on both the powerplay and penalty kill.  In fact, the Bulldogs scored as many goals shorthanded as they allowed, 2, both coming in the same game.  That marks the 3rd time this season that Hamilton has scored multiple “shorties” in a single game.  At one point in this stretch, 7 straight goals were scored on special teams (5 PP, 2 SH), a season high in that respect.  In terms of individual offensive performances, Tomas Plekanec continues to pick his game up after his MVP performance in the All-Star game, as he has 8 points in the last 7 games, while Chris Higgins has 9 in his last 7 contests (he missed Sunday’s game in Edmonton).  Jason Ward, meanwhile has struggled lately, contributing just a goal and an assist in the last 8 games.  On a more positive note, Antti Miettinen continues to produce, as he now has 11 points in as many games.

Goalie Zone:

This week, Yann Danis continued to get the job done, allowing just 2 goals vs Cleveland (unfortunately in a loss), and 3 vs Edmonton in the win.  This week, he went 1-1, allowing 5 goals on 67 shots (2.50 GAA, .925 SV%).  Danis now has won 4 of his last 6 starts.  Meanwhile, Dan Ellis got his first start since being yanked against Albany, and he rebounded from a shaky start, allowing 2 goals in as many shots, to make 31 saves in the 5-4 win vs the Barons.  His line: 1-0 record, allowing 4 goals on 35 shots (4.00 GAA, .886 SV%). 

35 Yann Danis 38 18 13 5 3 2.46 .923
30 Dan Ellis 27 8 17 0 1 2.78 .907

The Infirmary:

D Dan Focht (shoulder), out indefinitely
D Phillipe Plante (undisclosed), has missed the last 3 weeks
C/W Chris Higgins (concussion), day-to-day

Spotlight Stat:  “Firsts”:

As a team heads down the stretch towards the playoffs, everyone has to step up their game, from the top defenceman to the 13th forward.  As this happens, a lot of “firsts” occur, as was the case this week.  Here are the firsts from this past week:

The first…goal of the season for Steve Begin, a shorthanded marker vs Cleveland (Saturday).
The first…game played by the team’s top defender, Mike Komisarek, vs Cleveland (Friday).
The first…point by a goalie since October, when Dan Ellis recorded an assist vs Cleveland (Saturday).
The first…time this season that all of Hamilton’s goals in a game came on special teams (3 PP, 2 SH), excluding games where they recorded 2 or fewer goals (Saturday).  This also marks the first game in which Hamilton has had multiple goals both on the PP and PK.

The Playoff Push:

From here on in until the playoffs, we’ll look at the division standings to see how close Hamilton is to making the postseason.  The new playoff format allows just the top-4 teams per division to qualify for the playoffs.  Currently, the Bulldogs are in 5th, 3 points behind 4th place Edmonton.  However, the Roadrunners also have a game in hand.  Now, the standings:

Rochester 62 44 10 3 5 96
Manitoba 59 34 17 2 6 76
St. John’s 62 35 23 1 3 74
Edmonton 60 27 21 4 8 66
Hamilton 61 26 24 6 5 63
Cleveland 61 27 28 1 5 60
Syracuse 60 26 26 5 3 60

Teams highlighted in blue are in the playoffs, teams in grey are out as of March 6th, 2005.

The Weekly Bulldogs Stat Pack:

Game Results:

March 4: Cleveland 2, Hamilton 1
March 5: Hamilton 5, Cleveland 4
March 6: Hamilton 4, Edmonton 3

Week Record: 2-1-0-0
Season Record: 26-24-6-5 (5th in division, 9th in conference, out of playoffs)

Team Scoring Leaders:

Weekly Scoring Leaders Season Scoring Leaders

Chris Higgins (2)
Steve Begin (1)
Duncan Milroy (1)
6 others with 1.

Tomas Plekanec (4)
Ron Hainsey (3)
Antti Miettinen (2)
1 other with 2.

Tomas Plekanec (4)
Ron Hainsey (4)
Chris Higgins (3)

Tomas Plekanec (22)
Chris Higgins (21)
Steve Ott (17)

Tomas Plekanec (26)
Jason Ward (21)
Corey Locke (19)
1 other with 19.

Tomas Plekanec (48)
Chris Higgins (39)
Steve Ott (36)

Weekly Scoring Summary:

1) Milroy (Plekanec, Sanford)
2) Higgins (Plekanec, Hainsey) PP
3) Higgins (Hainsey, Plekanec) SH
4) Daley (Higgins, Plekanec) PP
5) Begin (Miettinen) SH
6) Hainsey (Ellis) PP, GWG
7) Jancevski (Ott, Locke) PP
8) Ott (Miettinen, Hainsey) PP
9) Kostitsyn (Thinel)
10) Carpentier (Morgan, Sanford) GWG

Special Teams:

This Week:
Powerplay: 5/14 (35.7%)
Penalty Kill: 20/22 (90.9%)

This Season:
Powerplay: 50/337 (14.8%)
Penalty Kill: 253/302 (83.8%)

Upcoming Schedule:

March 9: Albany vs Hamilton
March 11: Chicago vs Hamilton
March 12: Hamilton vs Grand Rapids
March 13: Edmonton vs Hamilton 

Long Beach Ice Dogs ECHL Report

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

For the second straight week, the Ice Dogs have slipped in the standings.  Last week, they were first in their conference, and 2nd in the league, now they are 3rd and 4th in those respective categories, after going 1-1-1 vs Alaska this past week.

Player Reports:

C-Christian Larrivee (Long Beach) This Week:  3 GP, 3 A, -1  Season:  39 GP, 5-11-16, +3, 12 PIMS
C-Cory Urquhart (Long Beach) This Week:  3 GP, 1 A, -3, 2 PIMS  Season:  49 GP, 13-9-22, +1, 12 PIMS
G-Olivier Michaud (Long Beach) This Week:  3 GP, 1-1-1-0 record  Season:  16-12-3-1 record, 2.56 GAA, .920 SV%
D-James Sanford (Peoria) This Week:  DNP  Season:  17 GP, 2-7-9, -7, 14 PIMS
D-Matt Shasby (Long Beach) This Week:  3 GP, 1 A, +2, 4 PIMS  Season: 27 GP, 2-9-11, +12, 30 PIMS
W-Michael Lambert (Long Beach) This Week:  3 GP, 2 G, -1, 4 PIMS  Season: 6 GP, 2-0-2, -3, 4 PIMS

Upcoming Schedule:

March 11: San Diego vs Long Beach
March 12: Alaska vs Long Beach
March 13: Las Vegas 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 top player is D Ron Hainsey, who tied for the team lead in scoring this week with Tomas Plekanec (1 goal, 3 assists).  All his points were also on the powerplay.

March Weekly Winners:
February 28-March 6:
D Ron Hainsey

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

February Results:
G Yann Danis 59%
C Antti Miettinen 23%
W Duncan Milroy 11%
C Steve Ott 7%