Friday, May 14, 2010

Gameday Preview: Stars at Hamilton Bulldogs, Game 1

Texas Stars
46-27-3-4, 99 pts
#2 West Division
atHamilton Bulldogs
52-17-3-8, 115 pts
#1 North Division
Series tied 0-0

May 14th at 6:30 PM
Copps Coliseum, Hamilton, ON

After ending the Chicago Wolves's season in arguably the most memorable game of the team's short existence, it's back to work for the Texas Stars. Standing between the Stars and a chance at the Calder Cup are the Hamilton Bulldogs, the regular season and post season winner of the North Division.

Texas and the Bulldogs only faced off against each other twice in the regular season. Texas fell to Hamilton in the shootout at home 2-1 on the 24th of October, one of the first handful of games in the Cedar Park Center. Matt Climie took the shootout loss, stopped 37 of 38 shots and 3 of 5 in the "skills competition". The lone goal scorer for Texas in the shootout was Ivan Vishnevskiy. Texas traveled to Hamilton on February 16th and beat up the Bulldogs 5-0. Richard Bachman got the start with both Krahn (hernia) and Climie (viral infection) out of the lineup. Texas was 3/8 on the power play that night. However, Coach Gulutzan reaffirmed, "Regular season doesn't account for much, especially when you only play two games".

Texas and Hamilton finished tops in GAA in the regular season, so we should expect a defensive series. Currently in the playoffs, Texas and Hamilton and #3 and #4 in both goals for per game and goals against per game, with Texas taking the #3 spot in both cases. "We want to be heavy on their D," said Coach Gulutzan. Hamilton "swarms the puck" more in the defensive zone according to Stars defenseman Dan Jancevski. It's a little bit of a different look for the Stars.

Top players for the Hamilton Bulldogs include D Andre Benoit (3-8-11), David Desharnais (6-7-13), Mike Glumac (8-2-10) and Brock Trotter (5-5-10). Rookie Aaron Palushaj, who started the season with Peoria, has also been productive (2-7-9). Luckily for the Stars, Montreal defeated the Pittsburgh Penguins on Wednesday night. This means that All-Stars defenseman P.K. Subban will remain in Montreal and not play against Texas. The Bulldogs could use his help, as they only had five healthy defensemen to end their series with Abbotsford.

As for the goalie matchup, Texas will be starting Matt Climie for at least the first two games in Hamilton. "We'll get Krahn back at some point," Gulutzan said, "but not for the first few games". Climie and Bachman are the two tenders who played against the Bulldogs this year. Climie has 1 win in his 1 start with a 3.31 GAA and .887 SV%. "I feel I can improve [from Game 7] and keep getting better as I get more shots and minutes played," Climie added.

For the Bulldogs, both Curtis Sanford and Cedric Desjardins have been excellent through the year and the playoffs. Desjardins started the first 10 games of the playoffs for the Bulldogs. He amassed a 6-4 record with a 2.62 GAA and .902 SV%. Coach Guy Boucher decided to start Curtis Sanford in the last two games against Abbotsford and was rewarded with two wins, a 1.00 GAA, and a .958 SV%. No indication who will start.

Stars injury/call up report:
Krahn (concussion)

Website: hamiltonbulldogs.com
Twitter: @dogsplaybyplay

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