Game Preview: Hamilton Bulldogs @ Barrie Colts. #OHL

Tonight the Pittsburg...errr, I mean the Hamilton Bulldogs visit the Barrie Molson Centre to face-off against the Barrie Colts. Last year the season series was split at 2 games a piece.

Hamilton is off to a pretty decent start this season sitting in 2nd place East Division with the 2nd most points in the Conference. Goal scoring has been a huge factor in the teams success scoring 82 goals through 22 games played which is the second most in the Conference (trailing the Ottawa 67s 85 goals over 24 games played) and 6th most in the league. Their last game was a 4-1 loss against the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds at the Essar Centre.  Huge factor in the loss was puck possession. The best way to control the play is to start each shift with possession and Hamilton only won 19 of 60 face-offs. Michael Cramarossa scored the lone goal for the Bulldogs shortly after the Greyhounds scored the first goal of the game but that would be it for the Bulldogs hopes at getting the W. They were unable to score on 4 power play chances and allowed a pair of goals short handed. Hamilton is 5-3-2-0 over their last 10 games.

Barrie is coming off a tough 4-3 shootout loss in North Bay at the hands of the Battallion. Barrie generated the majority of their goals on the man advantage going 2 for 5 on the PP and only allowed a goal on 5 penalty kills. They even were decent in the face-off circle winning 58% of the draws. Colts biggest issue was generating shots on goal. Over 3 periods and OT, they only put 20 shots on goal. David Ovsjannikov had a strong afternoon in goal for the ponies stopping 34 of 37 shots faced. Captain Cordell James was a +1 for the Colts and was able to score a pair of goals on 3 shots while winning 15 of 23 face-offs. Rookie Kade Landry scored his first OHL goal but it would not be enough to get the win. Stefano, James and Finoro all missed in the shootout and it was Adam Thilander who scored the winning goal for the Troops. Barrie has a 2-7-0-1 record over the last 10 games.

The Colts will be without Cam Lizotte (per Gene Pereira) for a little bit after suffering an injury against Sudbury last week. Also woudn't expect Blackhawks prospect Roy Radke back tonight but he could still return by this weekend.
Keys to Success: MUST. GET. MORE. THAN. 20. SHOTS. ON. GOAL. Barrie was lucky to be close in their meeting with North Bay. A strong PP kept them in the game, however .17% power play suggests they can't always fall back on that. Ovsjannikov and Propp have been good for the team but they can't win every game. They can beat the Bulldogs and if they can stay out of the penalty box, and manage to have success with the man advantage, they can get the W tonight. Huge factor will be generating chances. Maybe a little less passing in the offensive zone and allowing blue liners like Brassard and Murray to get shots from the point while crowding the net.

Players to Watch: Matthew Strome has been great for the Bulldogs putting up 26 points over 22 games. HE has only put up points in 2 of the last 5 games so he will for sure be looking to add to his point totals against a struggling Colts team. Also look for Colts captain Cordell James to have a strong game. He has been huge for the Colts since returning from injury and it seems his full face shield has not slowed down his game at all.

Puck drop is set for 7:30 tonight at BMC.

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