(Photo Via: http://www.hamiltonbulldogs.com)
NIAGARA – The Hamilton Bulldogs will travel to Niagara to take on the IceDogs on Thursday night at the Meridian Centre.
The OHL Eastern conference first place Bulldogs will look for their fourth consecutive victory, and to continue to pull away from Barrie and Kingston to secure the top spot heading into the playoffs.
Niagara comes into the game after defeating the North Bay Battalion on Saturday night, the first of their five straight home games in Niagara. The IceDogs are 2-2-1 in their last five and have Oshawa breathing down their neck for the number four spot, and home ice advantage in the first round of the OHL Eastern conference playoffs.
Despite being the best team in the conference, Hamilton has struggled this season when playing against the IceDogs. Niagara holds a 3-0-0 record this season, while Hamilton has only picked up a single point in the season series so far, a SO loss back on October 7th.
This will be the first time these two clubs will meet in 2018, as the last battle took place on New Year’s Eve when Niagara hosted the Bulldogs, and sent them away with their tails between their legs, 7-3 was the final score. The Bulldogs are 15-8 since the last time these two teams met, while Niagara is 10-10-4 since the last matchup.
Both these teams are coming off wins against the North Bay Battalion. Niagara beat the troops on Saturday night by a score of 4-2, while Hamilton beat the Battalion the next afternoon, winning 4-1.
Niagara has struggled with their penalty killing at home this season, giving up 23 power play goals on 100 attempts when they are on home ice. The Bulldogs power play opporates at almost 24% on the road, which is down from their conversions at home by a little under 2%.
Players To Watch
#18 Matthew Strome – In his last five games, Strome, originally from Mississauga, Ont., has eight points and currently sits 2nd on the team point lead with 64 points on the season. Strome scored a goal for the Bulldogs the last time they took on Niagara.
#48 Sam Miletic – Miletic, a native of Bloomfield Hills, Mich., has been an explosive scorer this season. He has 31 goals and 50 assists in just 56 games played, putting him 5th in the entire league in points. Miletic was acquired from London back in January and has 15 goals and 12 assists since joining the IceDogs. While he has put up some big numbers, Miletic has been held quiet in the 2nd half of February, recording just 3 goals and 2 assists in his last 7 games. All of those points came in the last four games as Miletic had a 3-game period where he was held off the score sheet. This will be the first time he plays against the Bulldogs as a member or Niagara.
Puck drop is set for 7:00pm tonight in Niagara. You can watch the game on YourTV Niagara or on the OHL Live feed. You can also listen to the game on NewsTalk AM 610 Niagara or on TSN AM 1150 Hamilton.
Hamilton – 60 Games Played, 38-16-6, 221 Goals For, 180 Goals Allowed, 6-4-0 In Last 10 Games
Niagara – 59 Games Played, 28-22-9, 199 Goals For, 206 Goals Allowed, 2-6-2 In Last 10 Games