Reported by: Jesse Ferguson
October 18th in the year of our Kingdom, Two Thousand and Twenty-three years, The Brantford Bulldogs hosted London in their third home game of their inaugural season in Brantford.
The Brantford Civic Centre was nearly full, with an attendance of 3,077. The main difference in this game was the crowd was divided in allegiance: mostly from the Squires in the home of the Bulldogs of course. However, a vast army of medieval swords-people brought support for the Knights as well.
Kicking things off, London came out with steel blazing on the forecheck. Bulldogs’ goalie Matteo Drobac had to be sharp early to thwart the blows by the visiting Knights. He made a few big saves early– as on a shoulder save on a breakaway– to keep Brantford in the game.
However, Brantford eventually succumbed to the early pressure giving up a wide open slapshot from the high slot. The puck squirted out of the scrum perfectly to Edward Jackson who put the shot directly into the top corner– Drobac had no chance. 1-0 Knights.
However, the Bulldogs rebounded and looked on the cusp of the tying goal but instead Knights’ forward Easton Cowan stepped out of the box and checked the unaware Bulldogs defenseman, claiming a breakaway and ripped it five-hole on Drobac. 2-0 Knights.
Brantford’s best chance in the first frame came at the end of the period when Calvin Crombie a 6’0 170 pound 18-year-old from Hamilton, made a great rush and toe-dragged in close but the London keeper, Michael Simpson, got big in his net and fended off the high shot. With the Bulldogs fairly hapless by the end of the first and looking like they’d scurry into the dressing room down a few, Brantford’s Florian Xhekaj stirred the crowd up with a massive fight, holding his own then some versus London’s Sawyer Boulton. Midway through the second London found penalty trouble and after what looked like a pedestrian five-on-three for the Bulldogs, Nick Lardis finally got a chance and buried it, getting the Bulldogs back into the game. However, that deficit was quickly replenished by London who tacked on another, establishing their dominance over the young Bulldogs. Cowan was enjoying a four-point night. It was 5-1 London when Brantford decided to lift Drobac, who had his hands full all night. In came David Egorov for the Bulldogs. Although the game was already decided by that point, Egorov, a 160lb 6’2, 17-year-old from Manotick was a bright spot for Brantford in relief, churning aside all 13 Knights’ shots.
The Bulldogs will be back on home ice on the 27th when they face North Bay.