It was a day full of stories at the FirstOntario Centre in Hamilton on Saturday afternoon.
The Hamilton Bulldogs continued their dominance over the Niagara IceDogs with a 9-4 victory, setting the pace early with six goals in the first period. Bulldogs’ forward Jan Mysak put on a show, with his first OHL hat trick and two assists in the first; he has been a force to be reckoned with since joining the Bulldogs, but he gives all credit to his teammates.
“These guys are awesome,” he said, on his teammates making him feel comfortable on the top power-play unit. “They’re helping me in everything I need.”
To follow Mysak’s quick two goals to start the period, Hamilton’s Arthur Kaliyev put himself back on the map scoring his second and third goals since returning from the World Juniors. His first of the day came on the powerplay, where he received a drop pass from Mysak and fired one past IceDogs’ goaltender Christian Sbaraglia to extend Hamilton’s lead to 3-1. His second, following goals from Niagara’s Jake Uberti and Hamilton Captain Isaac Nurse, came on a powerplay off a high-sticking penalty to IceDogs’ Oliver Castleman at the end of the first. Kaliyev took a feed from Nathan Staios on the point and fired one from the top of the circle, over the glove of Niagara goaltender Andrew MacLean, who replaced Sbaraglia after Hamilton’s fourth goal of the day.
Kaliyev’s second of the day put him atop the list of franchise goal leaders with 116, passing former captain Matthew Strome in 83 fewer games. A Los Angeles Kings prospect, Kaliyev has played an integral role on the right-wing for the Bulldogs since being selected in the second round of the 2017 OHL Priority Selection.
“He’s a dynamic goal scorer and gives us the ability to get ahead in games, and on the power play he’s a big-time threat,” said Hamilton Head Coach Vince Laise on Kaliyev’s leadership to the young group. “It’s going to be nice to see how his game evolves moving forward.”
Into the second period, Hamilton came out with the same momentum they started the game with. Just over five minutes in, Staios took a shot from the point that deflected off the pads of the Niagara defenseman and past MacLean to extend Hamilton’s lead to 7-2. Just 39 seconds later, Mark Duarte got the monkey off his back and was finally able to get his first OHL goal. Off a fumble from IceDogs’ defenseman Cameron Butler in front of the Niagara net, Duarte picked up the loose puck, spun and shot it past the blocker of MacLean to put Hamilton up by six.
The third period started the same way for the Bulldogs, as Ryan Humphrey picked up a rebound off the pad of MacLean and pushed it past him for Hamilton’s ninth goal of the day. Niagara’s Elijah Roberts put two past Roy in the final frame, but it would not suffice as Hamilton would take this one by a score of 9-4.
Hamilton is back in action Sunday afternoon at the Tribute Communities Centre in Oshawa to take on the Generals.