Here are some comments and observations from the Hamilton vs. Houston game at Copps Coliseum on February 16.
1 Here’s a look at last night’s line combos and D pairings
Tenute – Blunden – Holland
Leblanc -Bournival- Dumont
Murovich – Stortini – Chaput
Avtsin – Hagel – Fortier
Pateryn – Beaulieu
Ellis – DeSantis
Stejskal – Tinordi
St. Denis is still out and no update on when he will return. Bournival returned from a foot injury.
2 The PK went 7 for 7 bringing the total for the month of February to 39 of 43. Not a good night but a great night on the PK. They even scored a shorthanded goal although that was into an empty net but still counts as a shorty.
3 The Dogs went 1 for 3 with the man advantage tonight. This brings their total so far for the month of February to 5 goals in 34 chances. They’ve recorded at least 1 powerplay goal in each of the last three games. Things are starting to look up for the Dogs on the PP. Bournival scored the goal playing on a unit with Avtsin, Leblanc, Holland and Desantis.
4 The Dogs outshot Houston 33 to 26. Strange thing tonight the Dogs had 11 shots on goal in each period of play.
5 Former Hab Paul Mara now plays for the Houston Aeros wasn’t much of a force tonight ended the game a -1 no shots, points or penalty minutes.
6 Dustin Tokarski got his first start as a Dog replacing Robert Mayer who was in Montreal backing up Budaj. He played well stopping 24 of 26 shots to get his first win as a Dog and 19th overall for the season. In the first he stopped all 7 shots that Houston threw at him. A good period for us as we went to the room up 1-0. The second period was a bit of a disaster as the first shot of the period beat him to tie the game at 1 on a shot I thought was savable. At 12:13 of the same period Houston scored a softy beating Tokarski five hole on a shot about 10 feet inside the blueline. It wasn’t really a hard shot it just seem to fool him. He wasn’t screened on the play either. That goal put Houston up 2-1 going into the third. Tokarski did stop 12 of 14 for the period as Houston outshot them 14-11. Tokarski had an easy third period stopping all 5 shots he faced while the Dogs scored 3 unanswered goals to secure a 4-2 victory.
7 Micheal Bournival made his return to the line up after missing 3 games with a foot injury. Bournival had his best game as a pro so far scoring 3 goals on 6 shots, recording his 1st pro hattrick and ended the game with a +2 rating. The amazing thing is all 3 goals were scored unanswered in the 3rd period making it a natural hattrick erasing a 2-1 Houston lead giving the Dogs a 4-2 victory. The interesting thing is how he scored the goals no two were a like. At 4:20 of the third he started the run by scoring a powerplay goal which would tie the game at two. With less than 5 minutes left in the game he scored again this time it was an even strength goal which also turned out to be the game winner. With 30 seconds left in the game the Dogs on the PK and the Houston net empty Bournival scores again to complete the hattrick. So he ended up with a powerplay goal, an even strength game winning goal and an empty net shorthanded goal. What a night.
8 A look at the 3 stars of the game
1st star Micheal Bournival of Hamilton with 3 goals (including the game winner), 6 shots, and a +2 rating would have been my pick for 1st star. He played a great game.
2nd star Mike Blunden of Hamilton with 3 shots, a +2 rating and played great on the PK wouldn’t have been my pick for 2nd star. My choice would have been Patrick Holland who had 2 assists, 4 shots, a +1 rating and played great on the PP.
3rd star Chad Rau of Houston with 1 goal 3 shots and +1 rating wouldn’t have been my pick for 3rd star. I would have given it to Jarred Tinordi of Hamilton who had 2 assists, a +2 rating and was a big part of the PK tonight.
9 Premium Player of the Game went to Joey Tenute with 2 shots and a +1 rating wouldn’t have been my choice. Gabriel Dumont who had 3 shots and saw both PP and PK time played another good game. He might have made a bigger impact if he didn’t get a misconduct penalty for sticking up for a teammate.
10 The fights
Ryley Grantham vs. Kyle Hagel my favorite fight of the night I’d say Hagel wins he landed more blows.
Matt Kassian s. Zack Stortini I’d say an edge to Stortini not as good as the Hagel fight.
Drew Bagnall vs. Greg Pateryn I’d say Bagnall wins this one as Pateryn ended up in the dressing room bleeding from what looked like the back of the head. This was Pateryn’s first pro fight he did a good job since he’s not a fighter.
11 Bulldogs win 4 in a row for the first time this season. They have really started to turn things around on this home stand. Monday they take on divisional rival Rochester in a rare Monday afternoon game on Family Day.
Note: Robert Mayer has been returned to Hamilton