The Hamilton Bulldogs hit the road for a 4 game road trip starting off tonight in Chicago. This is a pretty important road trip for the Dogs, because 3 of the 4 teams they will face are only 2 or 3 points ahead of them and are all in the bottom 5 of the Conference. The Chicago Wolves (10-9-3) sit 11th in the Western Conference 4 spots ahead of the last place Hamilton Bulldogs, but only 3 points separating the two teams. Both the Wolves and the Dogs have horrible special teams, the Wolves are ranked 28th on the powerplay and 29th on the penalty kill. The Bulldogs are ranked 29th on the powerplay and 20th on the penalty kill. Brendan Gallagher leads the club with 72 shots in 21 games and Joonas Nattinen leads the club in shooting percentage at 19% rate, Also since coming on board Mike Commodore has averaged 2 penalty minutes per game in 5 games.
The Bulldogs let Alain Berger go earlier this week as he refused to report to the ECHL Wheeling Nailers, and has now signed on with SC Bern of the Swiss League. The Dogs have also called up Olivier Fortier from the ECHL Orlando Solar Bears to replace the injured Palushaj. Aaron Palushaj sustained an injury during practice and is said to be out for 4-6 weeks, could be a big blow to the Dogs. Blake Geoffrion is still out indefinitely with a compressed skull fracture and is currently at his hometown in Tennessee. Defensemen Greg Pateryn is also out with a fractured elbow and is still another 2-3 weeks away from returning. It seems like Alexander Avtsin and Zack Stortini are glued to the press box, and the only a positive out of that is we don’t have to see Stortini’s bone headed plays cost the team a goal. Once again I think it’s only a matter of time when Avtsin gets another opportunity to play because the Dogs have not scored more than 3 goals in a game since Nov 16th against the Marlies in a 6-3 win.
Bulldogs Projected Lines
Patrick Holland – Brendan Gallagher – Mike Blunden
Michael Bournival – Stefan Chaput – Louis Leblanc
Steve Quailer – Daryl Boyce – Gabriel Dumont
Kyle Hagel – Joonas Nattinen – Zack Stortini
Frederic St-Denis – Brendon Nash
Jarred Tinordi – Mike Commodore
Nathan Beaulieu – Morgan Ellis