The Road Ahead: November 23-26
The Brantford Bulldogs embark on another busy weekend with 3 games in 4 nights mirroring what the team did last week. Coming off 3 straight wins; at home against Sarnia followed by road wins in Ottawa & Kingston, the Bulldogs are much more local this weekend.
Opening the 3-in-4 run on Thursday night at the Meridian Centre in St. Catharines, the Bulldogs skate against the Niagara IceDogs for the second time on the season. The Bulldogs opened the season series on November 10th with their 19th straight victory over the IceDogs, dating back to the 2019-20 season, with a 5-3 triumph on Brantford Civic Centre Ice.
Florian Xhekaj led the way with a pair of goals on the night, while Marek Vanacker led all scorers with a goal & 2 assists. Nick Lardis & Patrick Thomas were each heavily involved, recording a pair of assists each in the first meeting of the season while Matteo Drobac stopped 20 of 23 in a very tidy performance between the pipes. The only downside to the first meeting of the season was the Bulldogs loosing forward Luca Testa to injury with the young goal scorer remaining week to week. Scoring for the IceDogs was led by Brody Crane with a pair of assists while former Bulldog Ryan Humphrey marked his 100th OHL point with a goal.
On Friday night the Bulldogs will host the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds for their only visit of the 2023-24 season at 7:00pm, wrapping the up the season series with their 2018 OHL Championship rivals. The Bulldogs dropped the first meeting between the teams at GFL Memorial Gardens on September 30th, in a 7-5 thriller that saw the Hounds race back from a 4-1 deficit.
Marek Vanacker starred for the Bulldogs in the Soo, marking a goal and 2 assists for 3 points, while Florian Xhekaj & Lawson Sherk each posted a goal and an assist as the Bulldogs had 5 different goal scorers in the game with 9 different Bulldogs earning at least a point. Jack Beck drove the offence on the night for the Hounds with a goal & 3 assists while Brenden Sirizzotti, Owen Allard & Travis Hayes each earned three points.
The Bulldogs wrap up their weekend on Sunday afternoon at 2:00pm hosting their second meeting of the season, and second in 8 days, with the Kingston Frontenacs. The Dogs finished last weekend with a dominant 4-1 victory at Leon’s Centre in an evening that marked the returns of Lawson Sherk & Nick Lardis to the lineup after brief absences.
Matteo Drobac was spectacular, coming off of a 31 save performance in a 2-1 win in Ottawa, the Bulldogs veteran netminder posted another 23 saves in Kingston and earned an assist on Florian Xhekaj’s glorious coast-to-coast goal. Finishing the game with a pair of points, Xhekaj joined Patrick Thomas & Jorian Donovan to co-lead the scoring chart while with an assist blueline newcomer Tomas Hamara posted his 4th point in his last 3 games, besting his season output in Kitchener in just 5 games since joining the Bulldogs.
The Bulldogs visit to the Meridian Centre will be streamed live on the Bulldogs Audio Network, while the game on Friday can be seen on Rogers TV 430 & Cable 14 with Sunday’s airing on Rogers TV 20 and both heard on the Bulldogs Audio Network.
The Brantford Bulldogs Road Ahead is presented by Strickland’s GM Brantford!