DOGS FALL TO KUMPULAINEN LED GENERALS ON SATURDAY
BRANTFORD, ONTARIO. With a quick turn around from garnering a point on Friday night in Sarnia, the Brantford Bulldogs returned to home ice on Saturday afternoon to host the Oshawa Generals for the second time on the season.
The first period proved a quiet affair with Matteo Drobac taking center stage, stopping all 6 shots that were turned in his direction. Drobac’s efforts were needed early on with the improving Bulldogs penalty kill, entering the night in the top-10 in the OHL, was tested killing off a pair of man advantages with key defenders Noah Van Vliet & Lucas Moore the penalized players. The Bulldogs were only able to muster two official shots on goal in the period but much of that came due to the commitment to shot blocking from the Generals defense, led by Luca Marrelli halted a handful himself in the opening frame. Despite the matchup being the 4th of the season between the two East Division rivals, the first period proved a tentative one with the teams scoreless to the locker rooms after 20 minutes.
The middle frame was much busier than the first and the Generals waisted little time in opening the scoring. Just 56-seconds into the period, Rasmus Kumpulainen was left alone drifing through the Brantford slot and re-directed a right point drive to score his 11th of the season with David Bedkowski earning the apple with the point drive. At 2:33 the visitors doubled their lead, Callum Ritchie retrieved the puck below the goal-line with a deft stick lift to get Bulldogs defenseman Tomas Hamara off balance. Sending a pass to Rasmus Kumpulainen all alone in front of Matteo Drobac, the Finnish forward scores his 2nd of the game & 12th of the season to give the Generals a 2-0 lead. With the Bulldogs on the power play shortly after, Florian Xhekaj had the best opportunity to cut into the Generals lead. Sliding on his knees on the right side of the goal, Xhekaj collected a rebound and got enough leverage to float the puck over the pads of Jacob Oster only to have the Generals netminder get enough with his glove to wave it away. At 11:08, with the Generals back on the power play, Luke Torrance scored his 8th of the season on a double deflection goal, getting the last touch off of a Luca Marrelli point shot putting the Generals up 3-0. The Bulldogs battled their way back into the game, beginning with rookie Jake O’Brien sending the puck around the offensive zone boards for Lawson Sherk to pick up and find Calvin Crombie infront of the net in a battle. With second and third and while being taken down to the ice, Crombie shovelled the puck through the pads of Jacob Oster for his 4th of the season pulling the Bulldogs to 3-1 at 16:18, which is where the score line remained through 40-minutes.
The Bulldogs entered the final frame with a burst, looking to test Oster early and often. At 4:56, the pressure paid off. After Tomas Hamara & Cole Brown teamed up to send him flying up the left wing, Marek Vanacker turned the Generals defenceman and cut through the left circle with a Datsyukian deke to beat Oster for his 9th of the season pulling the Dogs to within one at 3-2. Nick Lardis quickly followed off an offensive zone tour eluding defenders from the right side into the left circle but Oster made the stop. Just after the Bulldogs killed off a mid period penalty to Lawson Sherk, some trouble clearing the zone led to Matthew Buckley scoring his 11th of the season with Luke Torrance getting his second point of the game as Buckley found just a couple inches on the short side to sneak a bank shot through at 13:48 giving Oshawa a 4-2 lead. Despite the Bulldogs efforts, it wasn’t their night as David Bedkowski launched his 1st of the season from the top of the slot at 17:10 to cap the Generals 5-2 win.
The Brantford Bulldogs return to action on Thursday, December 7th travelling to the Memorial Centre in Peterborough to open up a 3-in-3 against the East division leading Petes.