MONTREAL – Every hockey team can count on hitting a rough patch at least once in their season.
For the Hamilton Bulldogs, that moment has arrived. Amidst a four game losing streak, the Bulldogs find themselves confronted with their first real taste of adversity in 2010-11. As was the case with their big brother club, the Montreal Canadiens a few weeks ago, the Bulldogs’ struggling power-play is at the crux of their problems.
Currently holding claim to the sixth best power-play in the AHL with a success rate of 20%, the Bulldogs haven’t lit the lamp with the man-advantage since the third period of a 7-3, Jan. 21 win versus the Connecticut Whale when Ben Maxwell found the back of the net. Since that game, the ‘Dogs power-play has run dry. Hamilton has failed to score a single goal with the man-advantage in 23 chances over their last nine games, including a match in which the ‘Dogs power-play unit never even had the chance to hit the ice.
A goal scored with the extra attacker at this point, stands to make all the difference for the Steeltown squad after losing their last three games by single-goal margins. Randy Cunneyworth’s 2010-11 edition of the Bulldogs have had their share of hard-fought battles all season long with 32 of the team’s 52 games played having been decided by a single goal.
Coming to Hamilton via the St. Louis Blues’ organization last year, forward Aaron Palushaj
continues to push the pace to the best of his ability. The 21-year-old right-winger most recently accumulated nine points over his last 11 games, bringing his total to 31 points – only one shy of the year-end total of his rookie season in the AHL.
Recent hardships aside, the Bulldogs still have first place in the North Division well within their sights, sitting only three points behind the Manitoba Moose with both teams having the same number of games to play between now and Apr. 9.
Coach Cunneyworth’s troops will get another crack at igniting their power-play on Wednesday against the Grand Rapids Griffons before going onto face Toronto, San Antonio and Rochester. The Bulldogs can then look forward to playing their second game of the season at the Bell Centre when the Adirondack Phantoms make the trip to Montreal on Feb. 25.Alexandre Harvey is a writer for Canadiens.com. Translated by Justin Fragapane. ALSO READ:
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