The Bulldogs had one of their strongest outings so far this young season but ended up with the L anyway tonight, losing 5-4 in overtime against their Ontario rivals, outshooting them 39 to 24.
Marlie supporters might grumble that it shouldn’t have gone that late anyway, as a buzzer beating goal with 4 seconds left in the 3rd period was called off due to a Joe Colborne penalty.
Overall, the Bulldogs were likely the stronger team even if they didn’t get the win. The CHL rookie line of Holland-Bournival-Gallagher was especially solid, dominanting the flow of the game on most of their shifts. Gallagher in particular was noticable for constantly driving towards the net, often leaving his opponents flat-footed as he slid between the smallest gaps to open his path towards the goal mouth. His devotion to his offensive duties was rewarded with #17’s first professional goal and a two point night.
While the play of the Hamilton blueline was not exactly stellar, it was a marked improvement over previous nights. Opposing forwards alone with clear paths towards the net was a thankfully much less common sight. In particular, the 2nd pairing of Tinordi-Pateryn went from previous gross negligence to a night of playing reasonably responsibly.
Speaking of previous gross negligence, Nathan Beaulieu played a lot simpler and calmer of a game, no longer getting caught out of position due to his pinching ways. This did not prevent him from having an impact though, his skating, puck-handling and passing were crucial in Hamilton’s ability to control the balance of puck possession at even strength. His pairing partner, St. Denis, continued to be an able watchdog for the youngest Bulldog. Together the team had two goals for and none against in front of them.
Morgan Ellis played a smart basic game in his second outing with partner Corbin being largely invisible, they did get 2 goals scored against them with no answer though.
Steve Quailer runs hot and cold, with short stretches of dominance based on speed, size and skill which fades into basic positional play. He’s one to watch for a potential breakout if he can put it together. Aaron Palushaj hasn’t been bad, but also hasn’t been the offensive leader the Bulldogs need him to be. Likewise, Peter Delmas wasn’t bad in nets but the team sure could use a star like Desjardins in his place.
The Bulldogs finally scored another PP goal, (Gallagher’s first) going 1 for 6, bringing them up to 2 for 25 on the year. Penalty kill was likewise 4 for 5 on the night in an even match on special teams.
On the other side of the rink, Jake Gardiner and Joe Colborne were particularly impressive opponents.
Holland-Bournival-Gallagher: 1 goal, 15(!) shots.
Quailer-Dumont-Palushaj: 1 goal, 9 shots
Blunden-Nattinen-Geoffrion: 1 goal, 5 shots
Hagel-Boyce-Sortini: 2 shots.
Beaulieu-St.Denis: 1 goal, 4 shots, +2 (2 GF/0 GA)
Tinordi-Pateryn: 1 shots, -1 (1 GF/2 GA)
Corbin-Ellis: 3 shots, -2 (0 GF/2 GA)