Rookie goaltender Marco Costantini put on a spectacular 33 save performance
to open his OHL career but the Windsor Spitfires managed to quiet the Bulldogs big guns.
The first period would open in tremendous fashion for the Bulldogs, drawing a power-play just 2:14 into the game, on the ensuing power play Hamilton’s returning center Jan Jenik & top scorer Arthur Kaliyev would control the pace of the game but the Dogs would be unable to crack Xavier Medina. Despite the ice being tilted in Hamilton’s favour it would be the Spitfires Cole Purboo who would open the scoring at 13:55 of the first period off a double deflection of a Rueben Rafkin point shot to give Windsor the 1-0 advantage, which they would take into the locker room after 20 minutes.
The Bulldogs would start the second period with jump as returning captain Isaac Nurse, skating in his first game with the “C”, would break in on Medina only to see the Windsor goaltender steal away his opportunity to even the game. Closely following, Jan Jenik would set a two-on-one for Tag Bertuzzi and Arthur Kaliyev with Medina again denying bid on goal. Marco Costantini meanwhile would give his team the opportunity to find their touch around goal stopping all 8 shots he faced in the frame but with 0:03 to go in the period Medina would steal the show again with a tremendous stop on a Jan Jenik opportunity to keep his side up heading to the third.
With Thomas Stevenson whistled for kneeing the debuting Ryan Humphrey and the Bulldogs on the power-play, Jenik would once again find Kaliyev wide open at the right-wing circle only to see Medina once again come up with a spectacular glove save to keep the Bulldogs off the board. Costantini would make a series of four saves in less then a minute to keep the Bulldogs in the game nearing midway point of the third period but with 9:46 to go, Pasquale Zito would station in the slot and tip home a Louka Henault point drive to extend the Windsor lead to 2-0. Payton Vescio would pot his first as a Hamilton Bulldog & first in the OHL after some great offensive zone work from Jenik & Tag Bertuzzi but it wouldn’t be enough to lift the Bulldogs past a gritty Windsor Spitfires effort dropping the final by a 2-1 score.
The Hamilton Bulldogs return to action tomorrow night, September 28th, at the First Ontario Centre hosting the London Knights in London’s only visit of the season.
Source: Hamilton Bulldogs