Wednesday, 2 April 2014

Hamilton Bulldogs 4, Oklahoma City Barons 5 (SO)

I watched the game on a jumpy stream, with an Oklahoma City play-by-play team calling the action, and I caught up to it a little into the second period, but here are some observations.

1)  Nathan Beaulieu has another gear compared to everyone else, his skating is as smooth and effortless as ever.  Early in the second, skating in on a three-on-one, he makes a good pass to Gabriel Dumont for a clean shot on goal, and then gets back on defence and breaks up a two-on-one going the other way.

2)  Louis Leblanc's skating has a dog-in-the-bowling-alley quality, like Dale Weise or Michaël Bournival.  It's not always focused or instantly productive, but it pressures defenders into rushing their plays.

3)  Robert Mayer was in nets, the OKC play-by-play man spoke of the Bulldogs' strength in nets, with Devan Dubnyk and AHL All-Star Dustin Tokarski.  He mentions that Head Coach Stéphane Lefebvre is playing it as a 'win and stay in' situation for his goalies until the end of the season.

In the third, Mr. Mayer made a boneheaded clearing pass that almost ended up in his own net, he had to scramble back in his crease and sprawl to make the save.  Then he did it again.  He's creative in how he creates business for himself, I've got to give him that.

4)  Speaking of coaching, apparently the Bulldogs received two too-many men penalties during the game.  I've mentioned before I thought that maybe the relatively young staff needed an experienced assistant coach to help out.

5)  Brady Vail served the second too-many men penalty, which was odd since he's being groomed as a checking specialist, but I guess it makes sense to not use him to kill penalties on his first AHL game.

6)  Brady Vail, Connor Crisp and Nick Tarnarsky were playing together on the fourth line in the second period.  In the third, Louis Leblanc played on right wing with the two rookies.  It was nice to see them skating together.

7)  Morgan Ellis and Drew Schiestel, both right-handed defencemen, were playing together on the same pairing.  With Dalton Thrower, another rightie, joining the team next season, we'll have a glut of righties, and may have this odd situation of righties playing on the left occur even more often.

Meanwhile, Davis Drewiske and Nathan, two lefties, are on another pairing.

8)  Sven Andrighetto ties it up at 3-3 early in the third, on a wrist shot off the rush, assisted by Greg Pateryn.  Red #27 was darting all over the ice the whole game.

9)  Gabriel Dumont scores to make it 4-3, he created the goal off the rush, then converted on the goalmouth scramble.  Earlier in the game, he stood up to Ben Eager after a whistle, wanting to get even for a hit he didn't like.  We need to perform a sack-ectomy on him and graft it on René Bourque.

10)  Greg Pateryn and Joël Bouchard bungle a two-on-two and it ends up in their net, 4-4.  The game goes into overtime.

11)  Davis Drewiske is not as good as you might expect, seeing as he's spent a few seasons in the NHL.  You'd want him to stand out a little more.

12)  Andrighetto and Holland look good during four-on-four play, they can really use the open ice.

13)  The Barons win in seven rounds in the shootout, 2-1.  Andrighetto scores, Gabriel Dumont, Patrick Holland, Nathan Beaulieu, Mike Blunden, Martin St. Pierre and Christian Thomas miss.

Robert Mayer did his job in the shootout, the shooters didn't for the Bulldogs.

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