MONTREAL – Over the past several weeks, the ‘Dogs have shown that their bite is as potent as their bark.
After struggling at the start of the 2013-14 season, the Hamilton Bulldogs got back on track, going from 5-7-3 on November 15th to 10-9-3 on the strength of a four-game winning streak.
During the streak, goaltender Dustin Tokarski stole the show by allowing only four goals, in addition to registering a 43-save shutout against the Rochester Americans on November 27th. It was his first whitewash of the season and the 18th of his AHL career. Tokarski’s consistent performance allowed him to garner CCM Player of the Week honours on November 24th.
The Humbolt, SK native’s recent exploits allowed his goals-against average to improve from 11th in the AHL to third (2.06 GAA) in just over two weeks. His save percentage also went from an above-average 0.920 to an excellent 0.930 during that span.
Bulldogs head coach, Sylvain Lefebvre, had to shuffle his lineup after defenseman Magnus Nygren left the team to rejoin Färjestad in the Swedish Hockey League after 16 games in Hamilton. Erik Nystrom also left North America in order to join Medveščak Zagreb of the KHL.
Still, the team did not suffer much following the departure of both players, scoring three goals or more in seven of their last eight outings. Captain Martin St-Pierre led the way with ten points in the last eight games, helping the Bulldogs climb back up to seventh place in the Western Conference.
St-Pierre’s success was a by-product of the arrival of right winger Christian Thomas, who has averaged a point a game since joining the team on November 15th. Patrick Holland has also been productive since recovering from a lower-body injury. He scored two goals against the Lake Erie Monsters in his first game back on November 30th.
Vincent Cauchy is a writer for canadiens.com. Translated by Jack Han.