Bulldogs Make Sunday Super In 11-1 Victory Over Petes

February 11, 2024 - Ontario Hockey League (OHL) - Brantford Bulldogs News Release

BRANTFORD, ONTARIO - The Bulldogs wrapped up their 3-in-3 weekend against the Peterborough Petes hosting the annual Bulldogs Foundation game on Super Bowl Sunday. The matchup marked the 5th of 6 meeting on the season between the division rivals.

With the absences of Tomas Hamara & Noah Roberts, the Bulldogs welcomed Ben Radley back to the lineup to skate in his 3rd game of the season. The Bulldogs opened the game buzzing the goal of Liam Sztuska, firing a season high 23 first period shots to the Petes net. The Bulldogs persistence paid off at 13:48, Daniil Sobolev sent an area pass ahead on the left wing side where Patrick Thomas gathered it over the line, dropping to Florian Xhekaj who was able to to beat Sztuska five-hole for his 22nd of the year, giving the hosts a 1-0 lead. The Bulldogs doubled their lead off a face-off win at 16:03. Lucas Moore is able to retrieve the puck and pass it to Florian Xhekaj who then finds Zakary Lavoie at the top of the right circle to wire home his 21st of the season giving the Bulldogs a 2-0 advantage they took to the intermission, out-shooting Peterborough 23-3.

The second period saw a scary moment for Bulldogs defenceman Cedricson Okitundu, chasing Petes captain Jonathan Melee, Okitundu tried to gain defensive position but in the process got his skate stuck in the ice and flew back into goaltender David Egorov and the post, dislodging the net. It was immediately clear Okitundu was in need of help with both the Bulldogs & Petes training staff helping to get him onto a stretcher and taken off the ice. On the same play, the puck crossed the goal line off the collision between Okitundu & Egorov with Melee gaining credit for his 13th of the season at 8:02. It seemed the Bulldogs looked to respond for their fallen teammate with Marek Vancker scoring his 27th of the season at 10:21 with a perfectly placed backhand top shelf on a feed from Patrick Thomas and Cole Brown garnering the secondary assist at 10:21. Ben Radley garnered his first OHL point at 12:23 as Daniil Sobolev laid the puck along the blueline for the rookie to fire through the net front crowd, tipped by Cole Brown past Sztuska for his 9th to give the Bulldogs a 4-1 lead. Just 18-seconds later at 12:41, Adrian Rebelo found Lawson Sherk in the left circle who sent it to Danill Sobolev in the high slot with the import defenseman lasering his 4th of the season, pushing the lead to 5-1. Moments later at 15:58 Sobolev received a game misconduct for checking to the head on Braydon McCallum in a tough play that saw the Petes forward fall forward into the Bulldogs defenseman who was standing up at his blueline. Despite the 5-minute major and the Bulldogs being down to 4 defenseman it was their penalty kill that provided the offense, Lawson Sherk & Ben Bujold broke up the rink 2-on-1 at 16:11 with Sherk lofting a pass that Bujold bunted out of the air for his 12th of the season to make it a 6-1 lead for the Bulldogs. Almost on replay, Sherk & Bujold broke up the rink 2-on-1 again at 19:46 with Sherk taking the shot this time from the right circle and hitting the top corner for his 9th of the season to give the Bulldogs a 7-1 lead with their second shorthanded goal on the same penalty kill. History followed as just 6-seconds later, off the ensuing faceoff, Florian Xhekaj broke right through the Petes defense, firing a shot through Sztuska for his 2nd of the game & 23rd of the season, setting Bulldogs record for fastest two goals and most shorthanded goals in a single penalty kill with 3. With the horn sounding after 40 minutes, the Bulldogs held a commanding 8-1 lead, having outshot the Petes by a 42-12 margin.

To begin the final frame, the Petes pulled goaltender Liam Sztuska and put in Zach Bowen. Even after the change the Bulldogs continued to add to the score sheet. At 11:26, Zakary Lavoie scores his 2nd of the game & 22nd of the season off a right wing drive set in motion by Marek Vanacker & Adrian Rebelo giving the Bulldogs a 9-1 lead. On a very similar play at 14:23, Dylan Tsherna scored his first goal in the OHL, after Cole Brown played on for Luca Testa middle and twisted a pass right for Tsherna to drive the circle and rifle through Bowen for a 10-1 lead. With time ticking down the Bulldogs added one final marker at 19:07, with Adrian Rebelo, who had dropped back to defense in the final frame, stepping in from the right point, finding Cole Brown on a beautiful cross-seam pass for Brown's one time cannon, recording his 2nd of the game and 10th of the season, closing out an 11-1 Bulldogs victory.

The Bulldogs return to action on Wednesday, February 14th to the WFCU Centre to square off against the Windsor Spitfires at 7:05pm in their final meeting for the 2023-24 season.

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