Brantford Bulldogs

Egorov Stops 34 & Dogs Clinch 7th Straight Playoff Spot

February 19, 2024 - Ontario Hockey League (OHL)
Brantford Bulldogs News Release

BRANTFORD, ONTARIO. The Bulldogs wrapped up their 4-in-6 hosting the Erie Otters for the team's annual Family Day matinee at the Brantford Civic Center. The Bulldogs entered looking to sweep their four game run and with a win had the opportunity to clinch a playoff spot for the 7th straight season.

Prior to puck drop the Bulldogs honoured the billet families who host the players during the season with a ceremony to thank them for all they do for the team. David Egorov took the net for the Bulldogs on Family Day and began his heroics early, making a monstrous early stop on Sam Alfano splitting across his crease to keep it out, though the play was reviewed, the puck never crossed the goal line. Undeterred, at 1:16, the Otters were able to take the lead on a Bulldogs turnover with Brett Bressette picking up the puck just inside the blueline and scoring his 16th of the season to give the visitors a 1-0 lead. On an Otters turnover, Patrick Thomas tries to drive a shot on net, but it bounces off the shoulder of Erie emergency call-up Sergei Litvinov and out. A battle between Zakary Lavoie and Brett Hammond had a bit of a scary moment at the end as Hammond tripped over Litvinov and slammed hard into the Otters net, knocking it off its pegs and was slow to get up but was okay. Malcom Spence had the next high danger chance, finding himself all alone at the side of the Bulldogs net but David Egorov once again denied the Otters chance to add to the lead. Late in the frame the Bulldogs earned their first power-play advantage, turning into a 5-on-3 for 1:06 seconds. At 19:23, Jake O'Brien is able to retrieve the puck from Marek Vanacker's hard work low and found Patrick Thomas on the right side to score his 16th of the season evening up the frame, where it stood after 20 minutes with David Egorov turning aside 17 of 18 shots.

The middle frame was quite like the first with only two goals scored but the advantage being reversed. The Bulldogs jumped to their first lead of the game at 3:08 as Owen Protz found Noah Nelson on the left side, whipping a pass clear across the ice to Daniil Sobolev handling the bounce off the kickplate and whistling a wrister through Litvinov to score his 5th goal of the season and gives the Bulldogs a 2-1 lead. With the Bulldogs shorthanded Marek Vanacker stripped the puck from an Otters defenceman to create a breakaway opportunity, but his right wing drive goes off the post and out. At 9:07, off an Otters rush they are able to tie the game at 2-2. With Dylan Edwards on a 2-on-1 opportunity passing the puck to Owain Johnston with the shot deflecting off the back boards right to the stick of Bruce McDonald who picked up the rebound and gets his shot over the goal line before David Egorov could scramble back to score his 13th of the season. After 40 minutes of play the game remained tied at 2-2 with David Egorov stopping 26 of the 28 shots he faced.

At just 1:30 into the final frame, the Bulldogs regain the lead with Florian Xhekaj & Patrick Thomas on a 2-on-1. Xhekaj takes the drive, kicked aside by Litvinov but the perfect placement of the shot leads to Thomas picking up the rebound, scoring his 17th of the season and 2nd of the game, matching his career high. Zakary Lavoie danced through the Otters zone moments later getting a shot on goal with Patrick Thomas picking up the rebound, but Sergei Litvinov denied him the hat-trick bid. In the final remaining seconds, the Otters brought the pressure which awarded Ondrej Molnar a penalty shot after the Bulldogs covered the puck in the crease, but David Egorov stood tall one more time making the save and earning the 3-2 victory, sweeping their weekend taking 4 wins in 6 days and clinching a playoff spot for the 7th straight season.

The Bulldogs return to action heading on the road to Michigan for two games to first take on the Flint Firebirds on Friday, February 23 with puck drop at 7:00pm.

• Discuss this story on the Ontario Hockey League message board...

Ontario Hockey League Stories from February 19, 2024

The opinions expressed in this release are those of the organization issuing it, and do not necessarily reflect the thoughts or opinions of OurSports Central or its staff.

OurSports Central