The Numbers Game: 88 Between the Pipes
After appearing in his first two OHL games in the 2022-23 season wearing #31 and dominating at the GOJHL level wearing #20, Bulldogs goaltender David Egorov has decided he will write his next chapter wearing #88. Egorov becomes the first Brantford Bulldogs goaltender to take that number and only the 2nd to wear it in Bulldogs history following 2022 OHL Champion and current Calgary Wrangler Mark Duarte.
Though Egorov is only the 2nd to wear #88 as a Bulldog, the first one left a lasting legacy of success in black & gold. Originally drafted in the 14th round, 278th overall in a brilliant 2018 Bulldogs draft class, Hamilton’s Mark Duarte never paid attention to the doubters and forced his way into the OHL. After graduating from the Hamilton Huskies U16AAA team and being drafted by the Bulldogs, Duarte spent the 2018-19 season with the Hamilton Kilty B’s where he posted 11 goals & 14 assists for 25 points in 38 games, more impressively however, Duarte opened the season on the Kilty’s 4th line and by end of the season the, then, 16-year-old rookie was a regular on its 1st line leading to another 8 points in 10 playoff games.
Duarte impressed everyone at training camp for the 2019-20 season and forced his way onto the Bulldogs roster. Skating in 27 games recording 1 goal and 4 assists, Duarte showed flashes of his potential both offensively and as a heart and soul player that would patrol all 200 feet contributing just as much away from the puck as with it.
When the Bulldogs returned for the 2021-22 OHL season, Duarte took his next impressive steps, finding chemistry on a line with fellow 2018 draft pick George Diaco and import center Jan Mysak, Duarte recorded 10 goals & 14 assists for 24 points in 53 games while providing an imposing physical presence and becoming a key member of the Bulldogs highly touted penalty kill. Asked to play a shutdown role through the playoffs, Duarte still managed to chip in offensively but was most noted for being miserable to face-off with and brought his heart and soul, blue collar effort to every shift in helping the Bulldogs win the 2022 OHL Championship.
Though he spent his final OHL season with the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds, recording his best offensive season, scoring 20 goals & 28 assists for 48 points in 65 games, he will always be proudly remembered as a Bulldog.
Asked about his time with the Bulldogs and his thoughts on David Egorov being next to wear #88 Duarte told us:
“Wearing the #88 with the Hamilton Bulldogs brings back great memories. From being drafted to play in my hometown where my friends and family could support me, to making lifelong friends and making history in that Bulldogs uniform. I know that (David) Egorov will have great experiences with the Bulldogs and it’s cool to see #88 be worn between the pipes. It’s definitely something you don’t see often and I know he’ll make a name for himself quick.”.
For Egorov’s part that name has already begun to be made. A highly touted goaltending prospect, the Bulldogs made him their highest ever netminder drafted when he was selected in the 4th round, 64th overall in the 2022 OHL Priority Selection Draft. After posting the leading the HEO U18 in SV% in 2021-22 and being named the HEO U18 Top Goaltender, there were big expectations for Egorov’s next steps and he’s gone above and beyond even those.
Appearing in 23 regular season games for the Hamilton Kilty B’s as a rookie, Egorov posted a ridiculous 17-1-2 record but took his game to a completely different level in the playoffs where he played to a 2.01 GAA / .927 SV% in 17 playoff games going 13-3 in the process. Named to both the GOJHL Golden Horseshoe All Rookie Team & OHA Top Prospect Team, Egorov also made his debut on the international stage, representing Canada at the World U17 Hockey Challenge.
Egorov’s performances also led to a pair of call-ups to play his first two OHL games, including his first win on February 3rd, 2023, a 5-4 victory over the Niagara Ice Dogs where Egorov stopped 32 shots and became the youngest Bulldogs goaltender to earn an OHL win.
On his being named to the OHA Top Prospect Team and his 2022-23 season, Egorov told us:
“It felt great to be named a Top Prospect. It was a reflection on what a great team we had this year with the Kilty B’s. We had an older, winning team and they taught me how to close a team has to be to win games. I played in a ton of different games and situations and am looking to bring those experiences into this year.”.
On taking the #88 and his inspiration for it, Egorov told us:
“Andrei Vasilevskiy has been an idol of mine for as long as I can remember. We have different playing styles but he brings a presence every night wherever he plays. Wearing his number is a tribute to him and is a motivation to myself to work hard and to bring a presence every night.”.
The Bulldogs are looking forward to the next steps in the already impressive career of David Egorov and seeing him grow with the team.