Hamilton Bulldogs edge Oshawa Generals in OHL opener

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Published October 8, 2021 at 10:24 pm

Logan Morrison, foreground, factored into two game-tying goals during the Hamilton Bulldogs' long-awaited season opener at Oshawa on Friday (Oct. 8). (OHL Images)

The Hamilton Bulldogs’ second line led the way to a win in their first exposure to OHL regular-season play in 19 months.

The Logan Morrison-Ryan Humphrey-George Diaco line factored into all of the scoring as Hamilton took away a 3-2 victory against the Oshawa Generals on Friday (Oc.t 8). Hamilton never led until Humphrey scored the decider with 1:47 left at Tribute Communities Centre. Morrison also factored into two goals earlier in the period that both came moments after Oshawa had taken the lead.

It was the Generals’ first regular-season home game in 586 days, and the Bulldogs’ first of any kind in 580. The arena was capped at 50 per cent of capacity due to COVID-19 restrictions, but those will be removed for the Ontario Hockey League’s 17 teams on Saturday. The Bulldogs who have their home opener against the Barrie Colts at FirstOntario Centre later that day, with a 7 p.m. scheduled start.

Bulldogs president and CEO Michael Andlauer said Friday that at the game, the team will honour 2,000 health-care workers for their role in containing the spread of COVID-19.

The game was scoreless for the first two periods, before flurry of four goals in as many minutes early in the third period. Given the length of time without serious competition, an extending feeling-out process was perhaps inevitable. Both teams were also in their debuts under new head coaches, with Jay McKee helming Hamilton and Todd Miller behind the bench for the Generals.

Calum Ritchie, the Oakville native whom Oshawa added with the No. 2 choice in the OHL priority selection draft, scored his first OHL goal. Ryan Stepien got the other Generals goal.

Both Hamilton and Oshawa are projected to be competitive in the Eastern Conference. Longtime prospects blogger Brock Otten has slotted both teams for a top-four conference finish. The Barrie Colts and Kingston Frontenacs, the latter of which are led by Burlington native and NHL No. 1 overall draft pick favourite Shane Wright, are also expected to contend for the conference title.

The Bulldogs are home for their next two games, since they play a two-game series with the Niagara IceDogs on Oct. 15-16.

The Generals are the Niagara IceDogs’ home opener opponent on Saturday as they embark on three roadies in a row. Their first home game where they will be allowed a 100 per cent capacity, fully vaccinated crowd is against the archrival Peterborough Petes on Oct. 17.

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