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Diaco's Michigan Goal Leads 8-1 Dogs Victory

January 16, 2022 - Ontario Hockey League (OHL) - Hamilton Bulldogs News Release


HAMILTON, ONTARIO. The Hamilton Bulldogs and Kingston Frontenacs renewed acquaintances for the first of three meetings over the next two weeks on Sunday afternoon at FirstOntario Centre.

The Bulldogs stuck first and struck early as returning captain Colton Kammerer worked the puck low to Mason McTavish, in turn feeding Arber Xhekaj for a rocket one-timer beating Kingston's Levi Merilainen just 0:57 into the opening frame. The goal marked Xhekaj's first as a Bulldog and 7th of the season. Kingston found a response through Maddox Callens at 15:03 off a scramble at the side of the Bulldogs goal tying the game 1-1. Before the period was out, George Diaco scored a goal that will live on highlight reels for a long time to come, as Ryan Humphrey tried to feed the puck to Diaco at the side of the net, he settled, gathered, and lifted the puck on the blade of stick. Bringing it off the ice and shoveling it past Merilainen, Diaco successfully completed "The Michigan" for his 13th of the year at 18:12 sending the Bulldogs to the locker room with a 2-1 lead.

The second period ebbed and flowed, with both teams finding rhythm in attack but Marco Costantini & Merilainen holding their respective doors shut until 18:02. The debuting Ethan Sims battled loose a puck at the top of the Bulldogs zone and fired it ahead sending Cole Brown on a breakaway, his wrist shot eluded the Kingston keeper for Brown's 6th of the season & Sims first point at a Bulldog. A shot block in the defensive zone from Colton Kammerer would lead to transition only moments later as a pop rebound off a Logan Morrison shot would sit for Avery Hayes just outside the Kingston crease with Hayes cashing his 17th at 18:52. The following shift with Merilainen caught wandering, Mason McTavish would strip the puck from the Fronts ' goaltender and create a scramble alongside Ryan Winterton in front of the Kingston goal with McTavish himself finishing the play for his 8th of the season at 19:36 giving the Bulldogs a 5-1 lead through 40 minutes.

The third period was more of the same with Logan Morrison recording a power-play goal at 8:02 from Avery Hayes & Nathan Staios to make it a 6-1 lead. Just over five minutes later Ryan Humphrey would pick the pocket of a Kingston defender and feed Avery Hayes for a bullet to record his 18th of the season and 2nd of the game at 11:32, extending the lead to 7-1. To close out the scoring Patrick Thomas would bat a Gavin White lob out of mid air in neutral ice to Mason McTavish who would finish the play with a one-hand breakaway 5-hole tuck to give the Bulldogs the 8-1 advantage at 14:31. Marco Costantini finished the night turning aside 13 of the 14 Fronts shots he faced to assure the Bulldogs the 8-1 victory.

The Hamilton Bulldogs next head off on a 5-game road trip opening the trip with a rematch with the Kingston Frontenacs on Friday, January 21st at Leon's Centre in Kingston at 7:00pm.

For more information on Hamilton Bulldogs 2021-22 season tickets, flex packs or single game tickets call 905-529-8500 or visit hamiltonbulldogs.com.


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