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 The saying “Slow and steady wins the race” is a good motto for Hamilton Bulldog fans, as they slowly continue to climb the division ranks in an attempt to secure the final playoff spot in the Western Conference.  The week started off with a bang, as Hamilton edged out Albany 3-2 in a shootout in just their second win in that area this season, but then things went sour.  Despite putting 3 goals behind the highly improved Chicago Wolves, and heavily outshooting them, Hamilton could not pull off the W, falling 4-3.  The next night they sought revenge vs Grand Rapids, and didn’t get it, allowing a pair of shorthanded goals and another right off a powerplay en route to a 4-1 defeat. 

Sunday afternoon in Hamilton though was another story, as the name of the game was “threes.”  In the first, the Bulldogs jumped out to a 3-0 lead, before allowing 3 to the Roadrunners in the first and second to make it 3-3, heading into period number 3.  There, Hamilton scored, that’s right, 3 more goals, propelling them to a 6-3 victory, and more importantly, ahead of them in the standings, giving them a temporary hold on the final playoff spot, however that lasted all of about an hour, as Syracuse overtook them with a win themselves.  More on the Bulldogs playoff run in our “Playoff Push” section. 

Oops, spoke too soon:

At this point last week, the Hamilton Bulldogs were relatively healthy on the back end, but that is not the case now.  Dan Focht continues to be out indefinitely with a shoulder injury, while Phillipe Plante’s injury, still undisclosed at this point, has now cost him a month of action and counting.  Meanwhile, J-P Cote, who missed a significant portion of the season with a shoulder injury of his own, is now out of action indefinitely, forcing LW Benjamin Carpentier to take some shifts on the back end.  On the plus side, C/W Chris Higgins returned to action after missing 1 game with a mild concussion, and wound up tied for team scoring this week.

By the Numbers:

Special teams continue to improve for the Bulldogs down the stretch, as for the 4th straight week, their season percentage on the powerplay has improved, overall by a total of 1.5%.  As for the penalty kill, there has been an improvement for 3 straight weeks, increasing by 0.9% over that stretch.  As for individual performances, Jonathan Ferland scored his first goal in over 2 months, notching a pair on Sunday against Edmonton, while Marc-Andre Thinel had his first goal in roughly a month, scoring the game-tying goal vs Albany.  Mike Komisarek has struggled since returning to the lineup, notching 0 points in 5 games, along with a -4 rating (worst in that span), 10 PIMS, but with an impressive 13 SOG.  Ron Hainsey seems to have benefited the most from his return, as he has lit it up, scoring 5 of his 14 points (36%) in the 2 weeks that Komisarek has returned to the lineup.

Shootout Stats:

The Bulldogs participated in just their 7th shootout of the season on Wednesday against Albany, winning it 2-0, and the game 3-2.  The win improves their shootout record to 2-5.  Below are this week’s, and the overall season shootout statistics:

Weekly Results Season Results
James Sanford 1/1 (100%)
Andrei Kostitsyn 1/1 (100%)
Corey Locke 0/1 (0%)

Weekly Total: 2/3 (67%)

Season Totals: 10/38 (28%)

Shootout Record: 2-5 (29%)
James Sanford 3/3 (100%)
Andrei Kostitsyn 3/5 (60%)
Gavin Morgan 1/2 (50%)
Corey Locke 2/8 (25%)
Tomas Plekanec 1/8 (13%)
Jason Ward 0/1 (0%)
Steve Ott 0/1 (0%)
Marc-Andre Thinel 0/2 (0%)
Chris Higgins 0/4 (0%)
Duncan Milroy 0/4 (0%)

Goalie Zone:

Yann Danis continues to get the job done for Hamilton, winning 2 of his 3 starts this week, allowing 9 goals on 82 shots, plus stopping 4 of 4 in Wednesday’s shootout.  Weekly Stats: 2-1 record, 2.93 GAA, .890 SV%.  Meanwhile, Dan Ellis had a rough night at the office, facing a whopping 43 shots vs Grand Rapids, stopping 39.  Suffice it to say, he was not the reason Hamilton lost on Saturday night.  Weekly Stats: 0-1 record, 4.00 GAA, .907 SV%.  Below are the goaltending season statistics:



35 Yann Danis 41 20 14 5 3 2.50 .921
30 Dan Ellis 28 8 18 0 1 2.82 .907

The Infirmary:

D Dan Focht (shoulder), out indefinitely
D Phillipe Plante (undisclosed), has missed the last month, out indefinitely
D Jean-Phillipe Cote (undisclosed), status uncertain

Spotlight Stat:  Schedule analysis, Part 1 (Home vs Away)

With just 15 games remaining in the season, it’s about that time to start analyzing the schedule with a bigger magnifying glass, and this week, we start by breaking down the home vs away.  Home has been a friendly place for Hamilton recently, as they are 8-2-0-0 in their last 10 at Copps, but on the road, it’s been a different story, going 2-4-2-2 in the last 10.  On the optimistic side, that road record means that they’ve earned at least a point in 6 of 10, which will be critical down the stretch.  As for what’s left, Hamilton has 8 of 15 games left at home, and 7 of 15 on the road, 2 of which will be played this week vs division rival St. John’s.

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, just a single point behind 4th place Syracuse, but are also tied with the Edmonton Roadrunners; Hamilton has the edge based on wins.  However, both the Crunch and Roadrunners also have a game in hand, as does last place Cleveland who is just 2 points back of the ‘Dogs.  Now, the standings:

X-Rochester 66 45 11 4 6 100
Manitoba 63 35 19 3 6 79
St. John’s 64 37 23 1 3 78
Syracuse 64 30 26 5 3 68
Hamilton 65 28 26 6 5 67
Edmonton 64 27 24 4 9 67
Cleveland 64 29 28 1 6 65

Teams highlighted in blue are in the playoffs, teams in grey are out as of March 13th, 2005.  Teams indicated by ‘X‘ have clinched a playoff berth.

The Weekly Bulldogs Stat Pack:

Game Results:

March 9: Hamilton 3 Albany 2 (SO)
March 11: Chicago 4 Hamilton 3
March 12: Grand Rapids 4 Hamilton 1
March 13: Hamilton 6 Edmonton 3 

Week Record: 2-2-0-0
Season Record: 28-26-6-5, 67 points (tied for 5th in division, tied for 9th in conference, out of playoffs)

Team Scoring Leaders:

Weekly Scoring Leaders Season Scoring Leaders

Jonathan Ferland (2)
Chris Higgins (2)
Jason Ward (2)

Antti Miettinen (3)
Tomas Plekanec (2)
James Sanford (2)
3 others with 2

Antti Miettinen (4)
Chris Higgins (4)
Tomas Plekanec (4)

Tomas Plekanec (23)
Chris Higgins (23)
Steve Ott (17)

Tomas Plekanec (28)
Jason Ward (23)
Steve Ott (21)

Tomas Plekanec (51)
Chris Higgins (43)
Steve Ott (38)
1 other with 38

Weekly Scoring Summary:

1) Miettinen (Higgins, Plekanec)
2) Thinel (Ott, Ward)
3) Ward (Ott)
4) Begin (Miettinen, Sanford)
5) Hainsey (Ward, Sanford)
6) Carpentier (Begin)
7) Ward (Locke, Daley) PP
8) Higgins (Miettinen)
9) Ferland (Higgins)
10) Higgins (Plekanec, Miettinen) PP, GWG
11) Plekanec (unassisted)
12) Ferland (Kostitsyn, Jancevski)

Special Teams:

This Week:
Powerplay: 3/18 (16.7%)
Penalty Kill: 12/13 (92.3%)

This Season:
Powerplay: 53/355 (14.9%)
Penalty Kill: 265/315 (84.1%)

Upcoming Schedule:

March 18: Hamilton vs St. John’s
March 19: Hamilton vs St. John’s

Long Beach Ice Dogs ECHL Report:

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

It was yet another losing week for the Long Beach Ice Dogs, as they were winless in all 3 contests, falling 3-2 to San Diego, 4-3 to Alaska, and 4-2 to Las Vegas.  Olivier Michaud continues to play fairly well, but still must play every minute of every game (unless he gets hurt), until top netminder Chris Madden returns, which is unlikely.  The Ice Dogs remain 3rd in their division (3 points out of 1st) and 4th in the league.

Player Reports:

C-Christian Larrivee (Long Beach) This Week:  3 GP, 1 G, 1 A, -3, 2 PIMS  Season:  42 GP, 6-12-18, E, 14 PIMS
C-Cory Urquhart (Long Beach) This Week:  3 GP, 1 G Season:  52 GP, 14-9-23, +1, 12 PIMS
G-Olivier Michaud (Long Beach) This Week:  3 GP, 0-1-1-1 record  Season:  16-13-4-2 record, 2.61 GAA, .916 SV%
D-James Sanford (Peoria) This Week:  DNP  Season:  17 GP, 2-7-9, -7, 14 PIMS
D-Matt Shasby (Long Beach) This Week:  2 GP, 1 A, 2 PIMS  Season: 29 GP, 2-10-12, +12, 32 PIMS
W-Michael Lambert (Long Beach) This Week:  3 GP, 1 G, 1 A, 2 PIMS  Season: 6 GP, 2-0-2, -3, 4 PIMS

Upcoming Schedule:

March 18: San Diego 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 C/W Chris Higgins, who tied for the team lead in scoring this week with Tomas Plekanec and Antti Miettinen (2 goals, 2 assists) after missing a game with a concussion. 

March Weekly Winners:
February 28-March 6:
D Ron Hainsey
March 7-March 13: C/W Chris Higgins

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