The Hamilton Bulldogs opened their 2019-2020 season with a win and loss this weekend.
After defeating the Sarnia Sting 4-3 on the road Friday night, they followed that with an 8-5 loss against the Erie Otters in their home opener at FirstOntario Centre Saturday.
The opening period of the season was a back-and-forth affair with Sarnia. Sting forward Sam Bitten, the younger brother of former Bulldog Will Bitten, scored the opening tally, slipping one past Bulldogs goaltender Zachary Roy and put the Sting ahead 1-0 just before the break.
The Bulldogs took charge early in the second period of the game. Kade Landry set up L.A. Kings prospect Arthur Kaliyev for his first goal of the season just minutes into the period, tying the game at one. Just seconds later, Sarnia’s Jamieson Rees — a Hamilton native — laid a high hit on Bulldogs’ first-line centre, Logan Morrison, resulting in a match penalty for Rees and Morrison leaving the game. Hamilton was unable to convert on the five-minute powerplay; however, some pretty passing by the Bulldogs later in the second period put them back in the lead. Kaliyev fed Jake Gravelle in the slot, who then slid it backdoor to Lawson Sherk who beat Sting goalie Ethan Langevin for his first Ontario Hockey League goal. Just a few minutes later, Roy mishandled the puck behind the net and Sting forward Joe Mack set up Brayden Guy for the tying goal heading into the third.
Just over five minutes into the third period, the Bulldogs’ Tag Bertuzzi was sprung on a breakaway and buried his first of the year to give the Bulldogs a 3-2 lead. Later in the frame, Kaliyev set up a wide-open Ryan Winterton and he buried his first career OHL goal, proving to be the game-winner as the Bulldogs won in Sarnia 4-3.
Hamilton played in front of a home crowd of 5,098 fans against the visiting Otters on Saturday. It was a sluggish start for the Bulldogs, as the Otters jumped out to a quick 2-0 lead on goals by Danial Singer and Chad Yetman. But less than two minutes after Erie’s second goal, Hamilton bounced back with two quick goals from overagers Bradey Johnson and Landry to tie the game at two. The Otters got another two quick ones before the end of the frame, putting them ahead 4-2 going into the second period.
The second period quickly became physical, seeing Otters’ Kurtis Henry and Hamilton’s Liam Van Loon drop the gloves for a tilt just 22 seconds into the frame. This set the tone for the remainder of the period, as the penalties kept on coming for the Bulldogs. The Otters took advantage and put another two goals past Roy before the end of the period to take a 6-2 lead.
Avery Hayes kicked off a back-and-forth third period by quickly opening the scoring for the Bulldogs, scoring the first of his sophomore season just 1:40 into the third. Yetman answered with his second of the game, followed by Jamie Drysdale’s first goal of the season and fifth point of the game to increase the Otters lead to 8-3. The Bulldogs would add another two goals before the end of the game, but it would not be enough as the Otters spoil their home opener with an 8-5 victory.
The Bulldogs are back in action Friday night as they face off against the Windsor Spitfires at the FirstOntario Centre in Hamilton.