Brantford Bulldogs

Jake O'Brien Takes the Throne in Bulldogs 5-1 Win over IceDogs

February 18, 2024 - Ontario Hockey League (OHL)
Brantford Bulldogs News Release

ST. CATHARINES, ONTARIO. The Brantford Bulldogs kept on their busy Family Day weekend schedule making their last trip of the season to the Meridian Centre to square off with the Niagara IceDogs.

The Bulldogs wasted little time in the opening frame and history was quickly made as Noah Roberts found Marek Vanacker off the right side for a shot on Owen Flores. The puck leaked through the Niagara netminder and Jake O'Brien won a physical battle in the goal mouth to get to the puck first and battle the puck over the goal line for his 10th of the season and 49th point, breaking Arthur Kaliyev's franchise rookie record at 4:35 to give the Bulldogs a 1-0 lead on the monumental play. On the power-play at 7:50 the Bulldogs extended the lead with Florian Xhekaj leading Marek Vanacker ahead on the left wing side. Vanacker cut through the circle and directed the puck to Jake O'Brien in the goal mouth where the rookie record holder won another physical battle at the net front to direct the Vanacker pass past Flores for his 2nd of the game, 11th of the season and 50th overall point. The IceDogs looked to mount a comeback but Matteo Drobac came up with save of the year just past the midway point of the period. With Ethan Czata starring at an open goal, Drobac dove back across the front of the net extending the paddle of his goal stick and batting the Czata shot up and over the Bulldogs goal to keep the two goal lead intact. As the Bulldogs have done so frequently of late, they fed off a brilliant Drobac stop pushing the lead to 3-0 at 19:08 with Ben Bujold and Adrian Rebelo breaking up ice and into the offensive zone cycling the puck onto Patrick Thomas to fire his 15th of the season closing the opening frame.

Picking up right where they left off to begin the middle frame the Bulldogs got quickly on the attack with Cole Brown dropping the puck to the slot for Florian Xhekaj, hammering his 27th of the season, tying Marek Vanacker for the team goal scoring lead, past Flores to give the Bulldogs at 2:03. Unfortunate moment for the Bulldogs at 7:49 as the puck rolled off the stick of Owen Protz in the defensive zone and right to Ivan Galiyanov who set Alex Assadourian for his 7th of the season. After Connor Federkow picked up a double minor for spearing & Ethan Czata a minor for roughing on the same play the Bulldogs had an extended 5-on-3. After the top power-play unit peppered Owen Flores goal, the second unit struck at 15:29. Lucas Moore & Cole Brown combined to get the puck to Luca Testa in the right wing corner. Testa drove from the corner out to the front of the net, moving around an IceDogs stick to whip the puck through Flores and give the Bulldogs a 5-1 lead through 40-minutes.

The final frame was a quiet one with both teams tossing 12 shots on the opposing net with Drobac and Flores turning aside all they faced. With Drobac turning aside 31 of the 32 he faced the Bulldogs skated away with a 5-1 victory, their 23rd in a row over the Niagara IceDogs and sweeping the first three legs of their 4-in-6 Family Day weekend run.

The Brantford Bulldogs return to action, closing out their 4-in-6, tomorrow afternoon, Monday February 19th for a matinee. Hosting the Erie Otters for their only visit of the season with a 2:00pm start.

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