Hamilton Bulldogs pair earn OHL honours amid 10-win streak


Published May 24, 2022 at 5:14 pm

Avery Hayes’ heater and Marco Costantini’s cool presence in goal have led to the Hamilton Bulldogs sweeping of Ontario Hockey League weekly honours.

Hayes was named OHL player of the week after a seven-point scoring binge over two games as Hamilton bolted ahead to a 2-0 series lead against the North Bay Battalion in the Eastern Conference final. Costantini repeated as goaltender of the week after posting a 1.00 goals-against average and .960 save percentage over that span. Their efforts were part of Hamilton also improving to 10-0 in the playoffs.

On Sunday, Hayes scored two deadeye goals less than five minutes apart to help the Bulldogs put North Bay away early in a 5-0 victory in front of a Victoria Day weekend crowd of 4,792 at FirstOntario Centre. The 19-year-old wing from Westland, Mich., scored shorthanded early in the second period, keeping the puck on a 2-on-1 rush and wristing a shot over the catching glove of Battalion goalie Dom DiVincentiis. On a power play, Hayes scored from a tight angle, beating DeVincentiis with a shot just under the crossbar on the goalie’s short side.

Hayes, who is averaging an OHL-most 2.29 points per game in the playoffs, had an assist later in the contest. It was his fourth multi-point game in five tries for Hamilton. In the other contest, he received a cross-checking match penalty that led to him missing most of Hamilton’s conference semimfinal series against Mississauga.

In that same contest, Costantini had a 28-save shutout for his second clean sheet in the playoffs. The Hamilton native now has a 1.70 GAA and .936 save percentage in 10 playoff games.

The OHL said also considered Hayes’ linemate, centre Logan Morrison, and defenceman Arber Xhekaj for the player-of-the-week honour. Morrison had five points over two games. Xhekaj had three points — including the primary assist on Hayes’ short-handed goal on Sunday — and a plus-6 rating.

The Windsor Spitfires’ Matt Onuska was also considered for the goaltending award.

The Bulldogs and the Battalion resume their series in North Bay on Wednesday. Game 4 is on Friday and Game 5, if necessary, would be at FirstOntario Centre at 7 p.m. on Sunday.

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