EASTERN CONFERENCE CHAMPIONSHIP SERIES – GAME 1:
HAMILTON 6 – KINGSTON 2
(HAM leads series 1-0)
The Hamilton Bulldogs controlled the play early, climbing out to a 6-0 lead to defeat the Kingston Frontenacs by a final score of 6-2 on home ice.
Brandon Saigeon (9, 10) scored a pair of early second period goals 11 seconds apart to put the Dogs in the lead 4-0 while centreman Robert Thomas was a catalyst with three assists in the commanding win that came before 3,734 at FirstOntario Centre.
“Anytime you can get out on home ice and jump out to the lead that we did and maintain it through the second period, it was a good start for us,” said Bulldogs head coach John Gruden. “We figured we needed that, we didn’t want to play from behind. Just the urgency, the continuation of all four lines and six defencemen working relentlessly tonight, but that’s just one game for us.”
Nick Caamano (5) and Ben Gleason (2) scored first period markers for Hamilton while Mackenzie Entwistle (3) and Ryan Moore (6) followed up with second period goals after Saigeon’s pair.
Moore’s goal midway through the second period ended Kingston netminder Jeremy Helvig’s night as Brendan Bonello came on in relief to stop all 14 shots he faced.
“I thought we played extremely well, I thought we really went at them with our forecheck,” Gruden further explained of his team’s performance. “Not having to have a nail biter against these guys like we usually do was a change but it’s only one game. This team is too good and we’re going to see a completely different one come Friday.”
Max Jones (2) and Jason Robertson (8) scored late second period goals for Kingston before the Frontenacs held the Bulldogs off the board in the third.
Hamilton outshot Kingston 36-28 and went 2-for-6 on the power play while winning 65 percent of the game’s faceoffs. Kaden Fulcher made 26 saves to record the win for the Bulldogs.
The series continues Friday night in Hamilton as the two clubs square in Game 2 at 7:00pm.
POST-GAME PRESS CONFERENCE: