Bulldogs Move To Conference Finals

By Mike Marasco

The Dogs faced the Hartford Wolf Pack in three straight games at Copps Coliseum this past week.

Game 3, originally scheduled on Sunday but postponed due to unsafe ice conditions, was played on Monday night. The “Energy Line” got the Bulldogs on
the board when Adam Dewan scored at 6:41 of the first. Then, almost sixteen minutes into the second, Chris Hajt scored his first professional playoff
goal. A minute after Hajt scored, the “Energy Line” struck again when Chad Hinz got an unassisted goal to give Hamilton a 3-0 lead after two periods.
But before the halfway mark of period number three, Rico Fata got Hartford on the board to break Marc Lamothe’s shutout bid. Then Fernando Pisani got the
three goal lead back on the power play to make the finals 4-1 and give the Hamilton Bulldogs a 2-1 series lead.

The next night the teams faced off in Game 4. Again, Dewan and the “Energy Line” opened the scoring seven minutes into the game. Almost three minutes later Jason Chimera scored to take a 2-0 lead after the first period. In the second period Hartford started to play undisciplined hockey. During one of their penalties Hartford’s Ken Gernander scored a shorthanded goal to cut the lead in half. Brian Swanson then scored fifty seconds later to regain the two goal lead. Pisani then scored to take a 3 goal lead. Two minutes into the third period Jamie Lundmark scored on the power play but that was all they
could get by Ty Conklin. The win gave the Bulldogs a 3-1 series lead in the Eastern Conference Semi Final.

Game 5 was held Thursday night with Hamilton having a chance to win the series. The first period was marred by slop plays by both teams and again a Hartford team playing very undisciplined hockey as Ryan Hollweg took a double minor four minutes in and then after being out for a few minutes took another minor penalty. Fortunately for the Wolf Pack the Bulldogs couldn’t score on their opportunities. Peter Sarno opened the scoring as Hollweg stepped out of the box from his last minor. Marc-Andre Bergeron shot the puck in and Michael Henrich made a beautiful goal mouth pass to Sarno who stuffed it in. Boyd Kane then scored to tie it up at 13:28. Lamothe had made the initial save but
the rebound had come to Kane who had an empty net to put it in.

Then the “Energy Line” got into the act again as Sean Selmser fired a shot front he hash marks. In the second, Brad Smyth scored when Lamothe caught the puck in his trapper but dropped it into the net. This tied it up after 2 periods of play. Just over the halfway mark of the third Bergeron fanned on a shot from the point which had enough mustard on it to get to Swanson who made a great between the legs tip into the net on the power play. Five minutes later Kevin Brown broke out on a 3 on 0 and scored an unassisted power play goal. With five seconds left in the game Ales Pisa scored from center ice on an empty
net.

The win gave Hamilton the series and their first trip to the Eastern Conference Finals since their inaugural season. This should be a classic Cat and Dog match-up as the Hamilton Bulldogs will take on the Bridgeport Sound Tigers. In the regular season the two teams split the series at one game each.

Game #1 – Friday, May 10 Hamilton at Bridgeport at 7:35 p.m.

Game #2 – Saturday, May 11 Hamilton at Bridgeport at 7:05 p.m.

Game #3 – Wednesday, May 15 Bridgeport at Hamilton at 7:30 p.m.

Game #4 – Friday, May 17 Bridgeport at Hamilton at 7:30 p.m.

Game #5 – Saturday, May 18 Bridgeport at Hamilton at 7:30 p.m.
Game #6 – Monday, May 20 Hamilton at Bridgeport at 7:05 p.m.

Game #7 – Wednesday, May 22 Hamilton at Bridgeport at 7:05 p.m.

Have you ever wanted to know what superstitions your favourite Hamilton Bulldog has or what they do to prepare for a game? Well here is your chance.

Send your question to derek@hamiltonbulldogs.com with the subject line Ask The Bulldogs. One question will be read live during a broadcast and answered by a
Hamilton Bulldog player.

The winning question will receive a prize pack from the Hamilton Bulldogs and be entered to win captain Alain Nasreddine’s game used stick at the end of the season.