LARDIS POTS PAIR IN DOGS WEDNESDAY WIN OVER STING
BRANTFORD, ONTARIO. The Brantford Bulldogs played host to the Sarnia Sting for the only time in the 2023-24 season on Wednesday night. Bulldogs forward Patrick Thomas entered the night with a current league leading 11 point streak, having compiled 15 points in that stretch.
The Sarnia Sting looked to spoil the party early, jumping out to a quick lead. At 2:56 of the opening frame, Roman Kukumberg set Sandis Vilmanis as he recorded his 6th of the season to give the Sting a 1-0 lead. The Bulldogs didn’t trail long, after Jake O’Brien, returning from the U17 World Hockey Challenge, had an initial 2-on-1 blocked off he sent the puck around back of the net for Calvin Crombie to carry. Crombie came out through the right circle and fired a shot through a crowd infront of the net and past Karsen Chartier for his 2nd of the season at 5:02 to tie the game. The Bulldogs pressed on the advantage, as Nick Lardis set Patrick Thomas through the left circle where the Bulldogs forward pulled a trio of Sting defenders to him opening the slot for Jorian Donovan to stride into. With a screen infront of the net, Donovan whipped a shot past Chartier to give the Bulldogs a 2-1 lead on his 5th of the season. With the Sting on the power-play at 6:55 the visitors fired back. Jacob LeBlanc found Zach Filak at the side of the Bulldogs net, spinning a pass across the goalmouth for Tyson Doucette to record his 11th of the season, knotting the game 2-2. With Karsen Chartier & David Egorov slamming their respective doors shut following the tying the goal, the game went to the intermission locked at 2-2.
The middle frame opened with the Sting hopping back on top with a goal against the run of play. With the Bulldogs outshooting the Sting 12-7 through 20 minutes, it was a defensive zone pass from Lardis to Donovan that deflected off a skate and landed for Sean Doherty to knock in for his 2nd of the season giving the Sting a 3-2 lead at 5:08. Off of the ensuing draw, Andrew LeBlanc was nabbed for slewfooting Marek Vanacker, receiving a 5-minute match penalty in the process. On the power-play at 9:02, Tomas Hamara sent Florian Xhekaj up the left wing where he found Luca Testa breaking low. Testa bulled across the front of the Sarnia goal and banged the puck past Chartier for his 9th of the season tying the game 3-3. With the assist on the play Tomas Hamara earned his first point as a Bulldog. Despite a middle of the frame 5-on-3 for the Bulldogs they couldn’t find a go ahead goal in the period, including an incredible Chartier save on a delayed penalty on Nick Lardis. Through 40 minutes of play the Bulldogs outshot the Sting 27-15 but remained in a 3-3 tie.
The third period opened on a scary note, just over a minute in, as Jacob LeBlanc took Luca Testa down to the end boards as Testa attempted to speed in on a breakaway, Testa remained down on the ice. Needing assistance to skate off, Testa didn’t return to the game. The Bulldogs picked up for their downed teammate, finding the go-ahead goal at 10:32. After Ben Bujold hit Patrick Thomas low on the right side, Thomas found Nick Lardis striding across the front of the net for a quick tap in for his 13th of the season giving the Bulldogs a 4-3 lead. The hosts added to the lead in spectacular fashion with Noah Van Vliet sending Cole Brown ahead on the left side, Brown looped the puck high in the air, bouncing down at the bottom of the right circle in the Sarnia zone where Marek Vanacker skated on to it. Driving the front of the net, Vanacker eluded the Chartier lunge out of the goal and tucked it around his pad for his 8th of the season giving the Bulldogs a 5-3 lead. The Bulldogs added one more at 19:23 with the Sarnia net empty as Hamara sent Lardis forward, floating the puck into the Sting net for his 2nd of the game and 14th of the season finishing a 6-3 Brantford win.
The Brantford Bulldogs head east for a pair of games on the weekend, visiting the Ottawa 67s at TD Place on Friday, November 17th at 7:00pm and following that at Leon’s Centre in Kingston on Saturday, November 18th with a 7:00pm start.