The Hamilton Bulldogs started their season with a loss on home ice to the Niagara IceDogs back in September and finished the regular season portion of their home schedule at FirstOntario Centre with a similar result.
In front of over 6,500 faithful on Fan Appreciation Night, the Bulldogs came out strong and had several great chances in the first couple of shifts, but it was the IceDogs who got on the board first at 2:25. Hamilton responded over 8-minutes later when Matthew Strome scored on the power-play after a nice set-up from Robert Thomas and Brandon Saigeon and despite out-shooting Niagara 13-2, the 1st period ended 1-1.
The IceDogs had a game plan in the 2nd period to get more shots on goal and it worked. They out-shot Hamilton 16-7 and out-scored the home team 2-1 to take a 3-2 lead after forty minutes. The Bulldogs goal again came off the stick of Matthew Strome on the power-play.
The deciding goal in the game came at 1:19 of the 3rd period as the IceDogs scored on the power-play to take a 4-2 lead. The Bulldogs made it interesting 36-seconds later as the puck bounced in off Arthur Kaliyev, but the Black and Gold couldn’t get the equalizer as Niagara got an empty netter to make the final 5-3.
The Bulldogs out-shot the IceDogs 34-29.
Niagara goals were scored by Ben Jones, Andrew Bruder, Kirill Maksimov, Akil Thomas and Sam Miletic.
The Bulldogs finish their weekend with a game in Oshawa Sunday at 6:05 pm.
Hamilton is back on home ice for Game 1 of the playoffs on March 22nd with their opponent yet to be determined.