Grind it Out: Segment 1
The Hamilton Bulldogs under the helm of coach John Gruden will be examining team progress in five game segments. In their first season in the OHL, the Bulldogs analyzed their results after every seven games, so for comparison sake, we’ll likely check out both every once in a while to keep tabs on the team’s development over the past calendar year.
- Bulldogs in September 2015: 1-1-0
- Bulldogs in September 2016: 3-1-0
- Bulldogs in October 2015: 0-2-1
- Bulldogs in October 2016: 1-0-0
- Bulldogs after 5 in 2015-16: 1-3-1, 3 points (-5 goal differential)
- Bulldogs after 5 in 2016-17: 4-1-0, 8 points (+14 goal differential)
Hamilton Bulldogs 2016/17 – Segment 1: 4-1-0
Hamilton’s offensive output is quite simply the envy of the league at this stage. It would be a hard stretch to believe that the coaching staff anticipates that they’re going to win every game this season by keeping up this 5 goal a game clip, although they’re not going to complain while it keeps up. This is exactly the type of season opening stretch that teams dream of: confident offence, .800 winning percentage, long road trip to avoid hometown pressure, not to mention the injection of a dynamic star player. Impressive start to say the least, really, it’s been music!
Will Bitten will be making his first appearance at the FirstOntario Centre on Saturday against the Guelph Storm in the last match between the two teams for the season. He has been playing alongside Entwistle and Fox, giving Hamilton one of the strongest 1-2 punches in the league, something the team was truly lacking last year. Not only is this line capable of pushing the offence, they have steady supply of two-way ability. Between this line and the Petti-Luff-Strome trio, Hamilton’s collective Corsi numbers have a strong chance to be the best in the league.
Busy score keepers
Hamilton has definitely been keeping the officiating staff, both on and off ice, very active during their first segment. Luff, Petti, Cramarossa, Studenič and Entwistle were rock stars, especially during even strength minutes. It’s fantastic that in the first two weeks, the team was able to crush it 5×5, but they’re going to need to push their will with the man advantage even more. A lot of fans are going to keep tabs on whether or not Matt Strome can approach his older brother’s numbers in their sophmore years. Both Ryan and Dylan surpassed 100 points in their draft years, and the Bulldogs collectively need to live up to the offensive potential they’ve displayed over these 5 games.
— CanadianHockeyLeague (@CHLHockey) October 5, 2016
Two weeks in a row the Bulldogs have held at #9 in the CHL rankings. With only one game on the table this weekend against the Guelph Storm, it will be interesting to see if they can maintain their national status. This could be a slight asset for Andlauer in the pursuit of the Memorial Cup hosting bid. Fingers crossed!
Feature Image: Tony Saxon / GuelphToday