Hamilton Bulldogs December Preview

The Hamilton Bulldogs are one of the hottest teams in the entire CHL. They recently made their first appearance in the CHL’s Top 10 Rankings, at No. 8. They have a record of 15-6-3-3 and have won nine out of their last 12 games. They are certainly riding high.

They just made a move to acquire Nicholas Caamano and Ryan Moore, two players that will improve the Bulldogs’ lackluster scoring. Mackenzie Entwistle just returned from a hand injury. A lot of things are going right for them as they enter into the final month of 2017.

The Bulldogs played their first game of the month as they lost 4-3 in overtime to the Flint Firebirds. They came back from a 3-0 deficit in the second period but could not finish it as Hunter Holmes won it Flint in overtime.

What does the rest of December hold for the team? Let’s check it out.

December 3 – vs. Mississauga Steelheads

Season Series: 2-0-0-0

In the two previous games, the Bulldogs have outscored the Steelheads 6-2. This game might be a little different. Since their last game, both Michael McLeod and Owen Tippett have been returned to the team from their NHL clubs. Those are two difference makers that will cause problems for the Bulldogs. They will definitely need the extra offence they picked up.

Owen Tippett, Mississauga Steelheads, OHL
(Photo by Terry Wilson / OHL Images.)

Player to Watch: Owen Tippett (13 points in 10 OHL games)

December 6 – vs. Guelph Storm

Season Series: 0-1-0-0

The two teams will finish off their season series. The Storm took the opening leg with a 2-1 win on October 20. It was the type of loss that the Bulldogs suffered a lot early in the season. The Bulldogs have definitely got better since their last meeting. The Bulldogs are slightly better than the Storm in the CHL standings so this should be a fun game to watch.

Player to Watch: Ryan Merkley (33 points this season)

December 9 – vs. Saginaw Spirit

Season Series: 1-0-0-0

Another Western Conference team, the Bulldogs played the Spirit on November 30. The day before losing to Flint, Hamilton was in the same position that they would be in one day later. Down 3-0 in the second period, the Bulldogs were able to come all the way back and win the game 4-3. With that game still fresh in their minds, expect the Spirit to try to keep that from happening again.

Player to Watch: Cole Coskey (28 points this season)

December 10 – @ Mississauga Steelheads

Season Series: 2-0-0-0

One week after their third meeting of the season, the Bulldogs and Steelheads face off again. A lot of how this game will go will probably depend on how the first game goes.

Player to Watch: Nic Hague (29 points this season)

December 14 – @ North Bay Battalion

Season Series: 1-0-0-0

This game kicks off a two-day stretch in which the Bulldogs take on the Eastern Conference’s two worst teams. Both the Battalion and the Sudbury Wolves have 22 points. These are two games that the Bulldogs should win. The Bulldogs won the first game 4-3.

Player to Watch: Justin Brazeau (2 goals vs. Bulldogs)

December 15 – @ Sudbury Wolves

Season Series: 0-0-0-0

This will be the first game between these two teams this season. However, as mentioned in the previous game, the Wolves are one of the worst teams in the Eastern Conference. The issue with facing with the Wolves is that they have scored 98 goals compared to the Bulldogs 85. Now, the Wolves have also allowed 120 goals on the season. With the offense the Bulldogs have picked up, this should still be a game they should win. This will also be Cole Candella’s first game against the Bulldogs since he was traded just before the season.

Player to Watch: Dmitry Sokolov (31 points this season)

December 17 – vs. Peterborough Petes

Season Series: 1-1-1-0

If the past three games are anything to go by, we have no idea how this game is going to go. On October 29, the Petes handed the Bulldogs their worst loss of the season by winning 8-3. Just over two weeks later, the Bulldogs blanked the Petes 4-0 and a week after that the Petes won 3-2 in overtime. A divisional opponent, these are always important games.

Dylan Wells, Peterborough Petes, OHL
Dylan Wells. (Photo by Aaron Bell/OHL Images)

Player to Watch: Nikita Korostolev (5 assists vs. Bulldogs)

December 28 – vs. Mississauga Steelheads

Season Series: 2-0-0-0

Yet another game between these two teams, yet Mississauga might have the issue that they had in the first two games. Why? Tippett and McLeod are sure things to be playing with Team Canada at the World Juniors, plus others going to other teams. Hamilton is will probably only lose Marian Studenic to Team Slovakia.

Player to Watch: Jacob Cascagnette (1 goal, 1 assist vs. Bulldogs)

December 30 – vs. Kingston Frontenacs

Season Series: 1-1-0-1

No matter how each team is doing, these two teams always end up playing a close game. Every game so far between the two teams has been decided by one goal, with two of them going to a shootout. The Black & Gold rivalry has reached a new level ever since the seven-game playoff series they played last season. The Frontenacs are only two points behind the Bulldogs, so if any game this month is a must-win, it’s this one.

Eemeli Rasanen, Kingston Frontenacs, OHL, Toronto Maple Leafs
Eemeli Rasanen is a staple on the Frontenacs blue line. (Photo by Aaron Bell/OHL Images)

Player to Watch: Ryan Cranford (5 goals, 1 assist vs. Bulldogs)

December 31 – @ Niagara IceDogs

Season Series: 0-1-0-1

The Bulldogs are set to close the year against a team they have not been able to solve the IceDogs. They started the season with a 4-1 loss. Two weeks later, they jumped out to a 2-0 lead before giving it up and losing in overtime. Once again, the Bulldogs have gotten better since they last played the IceDogs in early October.

Player To Watch: Ben Jones (2 goals, 2 assists vs. Bulldogs)