Through 13 games, the Bulldogs have had their ups and downs and many points of interest but today marks the occasion of something new for the season. The Bulldogs finally get to play against a below average AHL team.
Through the vagaries of AHL scheduling, which favours multi-game series and many divisional games to keep travel costs in check, the Bulldogs have played against only 5 squads so far. Toronto, Rochester, Abbotsford, Syracuse and Grand Rapids. What’s amazing about this is how good those 5 teams are.
|Grand Rapids|| |
|Weighted Avg.|| |
|Hamilton Inverse|| |
The weighted average of the likelihood of Hamilton’s opponents to win their games in this seaon is 61.2% of the time, which is pretty close to the inverse of the likelihood of Hamilton winning a game thus far this season (61.5%). While in goal differential, which is probably a better measure of team strength, especially this early, they average 5.6 percentage points better than league average, which is probably a major reason Hamilton’s goal differential is 9.5 points lower than average.
Every non divisional opponent the Bulldogs are leading their divisions and Hamilton’s division is the winningest in the AHL.
So in other words, St. John’s will be a good measuring stick match for Hamilton, for the first time we can see how well they stack up against a below average AHL squad for a change.
|Goal Dif.|| |
|Shots F/G|| |
|Shots A/G|| |
At long last, Hamilton finds a team with a worse offense game then they have. The IceCaps are only slightly better on the powerplay and below the Bulldogs in both shots for and shooting percentage. However, Hamilton loses ground on defense, with some inflated goals against statistics coming off a 6 goal drubbing by Toronto.
Both St. John’s special teams are weak, suggesting that they are making up ground on even strength, although they have also drawn 30 more penalty minutes than their opposition this season (Hamilton has taken 45 more than the opposition, strangely enough another number skewed by last game where they took 43 more minutes than Toronto did).
Injured: Leblanc, Pateryn, Geoffrion, Delmas
Hamilton is down two of its top 3 forwards and a top 4 defensemen currently. Darling has been released from his tryout contract so we can surmise Desjardins is back in the lineup and likely to start for Hamilton.
Beaulieu returns to the top pairing after a minor elbow injury, which bumps Stejskal from the lineup and brings Tinordi and Ellis together as a shutdown pairing.
Forward lines re-shuffled. The goon line at the bottom returns, with Hagel and Sortini both in the lineup. Nattinen, whose been a very effective two-way player recently, is given the unfortunate task of centering them. Holland emerges from the doghouse to play with Bournival again and a third offensive line is built with Quailer and Avtsin on the wings. Blunden-Dumont-Gallagher stays together despite not producing much offense last time (although they were fine defensively).
The player to watch for St John’s is Burmistrov. He’s already a capable top nine center in the NHL with a notably advanced defensive game for one so young.
Spenser Machacek is notable for having the third worst plus minus in the entire league with -10.
Ex-Habs prospect Ben Maxwell suits up for the IceCaps. He is the most snakebit player on a snakebit team with 1 goal in 39 shots.
EDIT: Fresh lineup information for the Dogs from