I’m not going to say that I’m sick of watching the Hamilton Bulldogs, but… screw it. I’m really sick of watching the Hamilton Bulldogs. They’ve got little to brag about in terms of a prospect pool, play boring hockey, play that hockey poorly, and when they face the Toronto Marlies, tend to switch into a mode where they’re attemping to start a fight every two shifts. It’s in no way entertaining if you prefer skilled hockey. There’s still a game to go in Hamilton on Tuesday, but after that – sweet freedom. Season series done. After two preseason and twelve regular sesaon matchups, I’m probably as happy to not see the Bulldogs in Ricoh Coliseum again as the two teams are.
That said, while this wrapping up is all good and fantastic, there was still points on the line tonight. With the Bulldogs well out of the playoff picture already, these were Toronto’s points to lose, and unfortunately for them, they did just that, falling 6-4.
The first period saw Hamilton strike first, just six minutes in, courtesy of Nathan Beaulieu. The play from this point evened out, with the teams trading powerplays, before one of the more absurd things I’ve seen happen in a game – three minor penalties on one shift. First it was Corey Syvret, but Jamie Devane and Kenny Ryan soon followed. Syvret’s penalty ended quickly, with Greg Pateryn tallying his first of the year. But the Marlies were able to respond – as Devane left, a Greg Scott fed puck came with him, ending with a wrister past Cedrick Desjardins to close the gap to one with two minutes to go in the period.
The second period saw the Bulldogs strike even earlier than the first, with Louis Leblanc scoring his 5th of the year at the 1:57 mark. The goals didn’t stop there either for the Habs affiliate, as just three minutes later, Tyler Murovich added his second of the season. From that point, Toronto dominated on the shot count, had four powerplays, and gave up two of their own, but neither team could add to the score count.
That is, until the third, where things began to get interesting. Jesse Blacker scored his first of the year just a minute in. Ryan Hamilton added his 19th at the 7 minute mark. Now a one goal game, it was make or break for the Marlies. Jerry D’Amigo made it look like it was make, tying the game in the final minutes, but Louis Leblanc scored his second of the night to restore Hamilton’s lead within seconds. Looking to tie the game, Spencer Abbott began to lead a rush up, but was picked off by Gabriel Dumont, who put in the empty netter.
Jussi Rynnas was between the pipes tonight, and stopped 20 of 25 shots. Not his best night.
Ryan Hamilton returned to the Marlies lineup today after a stint with the Leafs, and scored his 19th of the season.
Jake Gardiner continues to play what’s being treated as a make-shift conditioning stint. Tonight, he had no points, took four shots, and was a -2.
Tim Connolly and Nicolas Deschamps were a team worst -3. Jerry D’Amigo lead the team as a +2.
The special teams were hit and miss – the penalty kill a solid 6 for 7, the powerplay a dreadful 0 for 8.
Ricoh Coliseum had over 6000 people here today, which is less than the past few games, but impressive when you consider that the game was rescheduled on short notice, formerly being a School Day game (work to rule is lame, says various children).
The Marlies play their next game on Saturday against the Chicago Wolves. It’s a 3PM start at Ricoh Coliseum, and will also be on Rogers TV and TSN Radio 1050.