The Hamilton Bulldogs dominated the Mississauga Steelheads 7-0 in the season opener for both teams at the Hershey Centre in Mississauga.
Hamilton Bulldogs forward Matt Luff led the great showing of the Bulldogs offense with an outstanding outing. Luff scored a hat trick and finished the game with three goals and one assist (3 G and 1 A). Fellow Bulldogs forward MacKenzie Entwistle had a great game of his own with scoring two goals, and was a force at both ends of the ice. Newcomers Marian Studenic and Connor Roberts both had impressive debuts. Roberts did a great job with his playmaking and did a good job on the faceoff circle. Given considerable amount of time, expect Roberts to be promoted to at least the second line as the season progresses. Regarding Studenic, he contributed to the onslaught with an assist on a great pass to MacKenzie Entwistle. Like Roberts, Studenic played well on his debut, with his strong power and balance. The big first line of Matt Luff, Matthew Strome, and Niki Petti proved why their line can be among the elite of the Ontario Hockey League tonight. Their solid performance combined for seven points, along with the equally strong performance by the supporting scoring lines (especially Brandon Saigeon and Trent Fox), the Bulldogs forwards took full advantage against a short-staffed Steelheads team.
Give the tested depth of the Hamilton Bulldogs defense plenty amount of credit. The core consisting of team captain Justin Lemcke, Jesse Saban, Connor Walters, Fedor Gordeev, Jack Hanley and Ondrej Katchyna did a terrific job shutting down the Steelheads early and often. The unit tightened up the overwhelmed Mississauga attack, making them difficult to make good shots for starting goaltender Kaden Fultcher to save. Jesse Saban also helped the team’s offensive cause by tallying three assists, and the captain Lemcke had a couple of assists to contribute. Goaltender Kaden Fultcher did an outstanding performance with 31 saves for his first shutout of the season. Fultcher used his big body to his advantage, as well did great job covering and securing vulnerable spots of the net.
The Bulldogs comes back to Hamilton for their home opener at FirstOntario Centre (formerly Copps Coliseum) on Saturday evening. Expect a strong flow of hockey fans across the surrounding Hamilton region make their presence known. Bulldogs next opponent is against the defending Eastern Division champions the Kingston Frontenacs.