Brown Downs Petes with Late Road Winner

December 7, 2023 - Ontario Hockey League (OHL) - Brantford Bulldogs News Release

PETERBOROUGH, ONTARIO. The Brantford Bulldogs opened up their second 3-in-3 of the season with the team's final trip of the season to the Memorial Centre in Peterborough to take on the defending OHL Champion Petes for the fourth of six meetings.

With it being Teddy Bear Toss night in Peterborough, the Petes didn't waste time bringing the rain of bears from the fans. At 2:06 with the Petes on the power-play, a wacky play ensued, after Drobac made an initial save, a clearing attempt was fired into the left wing corner where the puck bounced heavily off the boards and sprang back through the front of the Bulldogs net. Rolling through Drobac's pads the puck ended up on the tape of Donovan McCoy who recorded his 5th of the season to give the hosts a 1-0 lead. From that point, Drobac slammed the door shut in the Brantford crease, including his best stop of the period coming just after the halfway point. After a Bulldogs point shot was blocked, Jax Dubois carried away on a break chance, driving through the left wing circle and cutting to the front, Dubois looked to fire the puck over Drobac's glove. The Bulldogs netminder made a terrific glove save to keep the Dogs within one.

In the middle frame, the Bulldogs found the counter punch to the Petes opener. At 4:48, Cedricsson Okitundu sent the puck forward to Patrick Thomas on the left side, leaving back as he crossed the line for Nick Lardis. Lardis worked his way middle, dragging the puck back in his stride and firing a shot far side that beat Liam Sztuska clean to tie the game 1-1 on Lardis' 19th of the season. From that point the Bulldogs received three straight minor penalties, playing all but a handful of seconds of the next 6 minutes of game time shorthanded. Matteo Drobac was terrific in holding aside the Petes attack, denying the likes of Owen Beck and Samuel Mayer to get the Bulldogs back to even strength, and stopping 22 of 23 through 40 minutes. The Bulldogs rewarded their netminder's brilliance late in the period. With the game in a 4-on-4, Lucas Moore began an offensive zone cycle that moved to Florian Xhekaj. As Xhekaj crossed through the top of the slot he left the puck for Okitundu. The defenseman made a move left, using Donovan McCoy as a screen and let go of a dart that hit the far top corner to give the Bulldogs a 2-1 lead on his 2nd of the season that the Dogs would take to the locker room after 40 minutes.

The Bulldogs lead was erased early in the final frame. At 1:09 a Cam Gauvreau point shot deflected off a battle netfront between Tomas Hamara & Owen Beck right to an awaiting Ryder McIntyre for his 3rd of the season, tying the game 2-2. Matteo Drobac was sensational from that point stopping 12 of the 13 he faced in the final frame and his heroics allowed his teammates to go to work in the offensive zone. Ben Bujold found himself with a brilliant opportunity past the halfway point, as Patrick Thomas was denied at the side of the net the rebound popped to Bujold out front but Sztuska not only got that attempt but Bujold's rebound as well to keep the game tied. At 18:42 the Bulldogs solved the riddle that has haunted them on the season, Jorian Donovan fed Tomas Hamara ahead on the right side. As the defenseman wheeled into the offensive zone he turned towards the boards and dropped the puck back to Cole Brown who carried to the top of the slot and used Lawson Sherk as a screen to score his 6th of the season going five-hole for a 3-2 lead. The game was closed shortly after by Patrick Thomas who fired his 6th of the season from the Brantford blueline into the empty net to give the Dogs a 4-2 victory.

The Brantford Bulldogs continue their 3-in-3 weekend, opening up a home & home with the OHL leading Kitchener Rangers, beginning on Friday, December 8th at the Kitchener Memorial Auditorium, followed by the rematch on Saturday, December 9th at the Brantford Civic Centre, with both games starting at 7:00pm.

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