MONTREAL – The Bulldogs have secured their spot in the postseason and now face a battle for home-ice advantage. As the visitors, though, the club has enjoyed taking that away all season long.
Despite dropping weekend games against the division-leading Manitoba Moose, the Bulldogs officially extended their season by securing a point in an overtime loss last Friday. Those results left them out of the running for top spot in the North Division, but a battle for second place is now on the team’s agenda. Or is it?
Three of their five remaining games will see them play the role of host and while being the home team can almost always be an advantage, the road hasn’t been such a scary place for the Bulldogs. In fact, the club has been just as successful playing on opposing ice as it has been in the cozy confines of Copps Coliseum. The visitor 38 times this season, they’ve posted a 23-12-3-0 record, for 49 points and a .645 winning percentage. At home, with one less game played, the ‘Dogs have skated to a 21-15-1-0 record, giving them 43 points and a .581 win percentage.
It’s not just their overall record that’s been almost split; special teams haven’t produced a large disparity in home versus road action. The power-play has connected 32 times in 184 opportunities at home and gone 37-for-189 as the visitor, while the penalty killing unit has seen their opponent light the lamp 37 times on 173 chances at Copps Coliseum, compared to 31 in 188 on the road.
Five games remain on the schedule and all are against division rivals. Copps Coliseum in Hamilton will be the stage for a pair of battles of playoff proportions – with postseason implications – as the ‘Dogs host the second-place Grand Rapids Griffins this weekend. Ron Wilson’s squad sits four points back of the Griffins, with two more wins under their belts in the same number of games played. The two clubs will face off again on April 10, in Grand Rapids.