The Hamilton Bulldogs have defeated the Oshawa Generals at their home opener by a score of 3-2.
The crowd was electric to start the game, as fans were excited to see their Oshawa Generals play a meaningful hockey game on home ice for the first time since March 8th of 2020.
George Diaco, Logan Morrison, and Ryan Humphrey were the goal scorers for the Hamilton Bulldogs. Calum Ritchie and Ryan Stepien added the two for the Generals.
The first 40 minutes were all about the goaltenders. The two teams were in a defensive stalemate, but when there were chances, both Patrick Leaver and Marco Constantini were up to the task. After two periods, the shots were 27-18 in favour of the Bulldogs, and not one of those shots found its way into the net.
It wasn’t until 1:24 into the 3rd period when finally, someone was able to break the deadlock. It was none other than Calum Ritchie, playing in his first regular season OHL game, who fired a snapshot into the top corner of the net to give the Generals a 1-0 lead.
It was Ritchie’s first-ever goal at the OHL level, as he looks to keep his momentum going from his unbelievable preseason, where he had 12 points in just six games.
Hamilton didn’t take long to respond, exactly a minute and 23 seconds later, as George Diaco goes top shelf, short side over the blocker arm of Patrick leaver to tie the game 1-1.
Two minutes later, the goal parade continued as Ryan Stepien tipped a point from Riley Pitt that beat Marco Constantini and gave the Generals the lead again at 2-1. The Bulldogs did challenge the play for offside, but the call on the ice was upheld.
However, Hamilton continued showing remarkable resilience and once again took no time at all to even the score back up. Just 47 seconds after Stepien made it 2-1, Logan Morrison redirected the puck from right in front of the net, and it found a way past Leaver. After 40 minutes of action with no scoring, four pucks found the back of the net within the first 5:32 of the 3rd period.
It was clear that both teams found an extra gear in the third period, as the ice seemed to open up as both teams traded odd-man rushes.
It wasn’t until there were less than two minutes left in the games when Hamilton’s Ryan Humphrey found a loose puck at the side of the net and banked it off a sprawling Leaver and into the net. Hamilton celebrated a 3-2 lead with 1:47 remaining in the game, while Oshawa immediately turned their attention to finding a way to tie the game.
With the net empty, the Generals pushed hard to tie the game, including a great chance by Brett Harrison on a one-timer, but Constantini stood tall and shut the door. The Bulldogs would hold on to a 3-2 victory in the first game of the season for both teams.
The Generals will have to forget about this loss quickly, as they are right back in action tomorrow night against the Niagara Ice Dogs. Puck drop scheduled for 7:00 pm at the Meridian Centre.