Hamilton boasts three prospects slated to go high in the upcoming NHL Entry Draft, Matthew Strome, Marian Studenič and Mackenzie Entwistle. Goaltender Kaden Fulcher could also be selected in the later rounds of the draft.
With the Bulldogs fighting for home-ice advantage, the Ottawa 67’s were fighting just to stay in the playoff hunt. In a game filled with back-to-back action, the 67’s came out the winners edging the Bulldogs 5-4 in overtime.
The Bulldogs tied up the game three times, but was never able to get the lead. They had four different goal scorers including the final game tying goal from Strome.
Matthew Strome – Strome had a decent game but was a overshadowed by teammate Marian Studenič. Strome scored one goal and was on the ice for three Ottawa goals with just one of those goals being more concerning than the others.
His lone goal tied the game midway through the third period. He planted himself in front of the net and successfully deflected the puck into the net. Standing in front of the net, fighting for pucks in the corners and sacrificing his body are parts of his game that you’ll see him do a lot more than his brothers. He’s established himself as an effective power forward with elite smarts and skills. He’s comfortable in all areas of the ice and has a great transition game. His positioning and active stick allows him to block scoring lanes and pick off the puck from his opponents..
As mentioned earlier, Strome was on the ice for three goals but two were out of his control. On the first one he didn’t cover his side and allowed the opponent to walk in and accept a wide-open pass. This was uncharacteristic of Strome who usually makes the right decisions in his own end.
The biggest question mark that has bogged him down is his skating – a concern from the beginning. Much like his brother, Dylan, his skating is slow and short. I feel like his strides were strong, but slow – especially on his first steps. He has a long way to go to convince NHL teams he can imprive it enough to be a top si forward. The fact that he has already improved from his rookie season is a positive sign that he is moving in the right direction. Despite the skating concerns, he has so many other intangibles like his two-way play, skill, physical play and smarts – someone will likely take a chance on Strome late first or early second round.
Marian Studenič – Marian Studenič was arguably Hamilton’s best and most consistent forward on the ice in this game. He only registered an assist but still showed off a lot of his strongest assets. His sole assist was on Luke Kutkevicius’ goal carrying the puck into the zone and passing the it off inside the blueline while he immediately headed towards the net to screen the goaltender. The screen was effective with himself and the Ottawa defender completely blocking the goaltender’s view.
Studenič is confident with the puck and protects it well while both standing still and in movement. He’s a smooth skater, quick hands and has very good vision. He made a harmless play into a quality scoring chance by picking off the puck and feathering a pass out front behind the Ottawa net. He makes good reads and quick decisions helping him create turnovers and create chances the other way – he did that at least twice in the game. His playmaking ability may be as good as his scoring. Studenič plays a good defensive game but can always improve. Adding more muscle would benefit the way he plays the game. He is likely a third- or fourth-round pick.
Kaden Fulcher – Fulcher allowed five goals on 21 shots, but it is not a complete indication of how he played. On his first goal, he read the play well and moved well in net, but it appeared his reaction time was a little off – but a great scoring play by Austen Keating and the 67’s. In the second goal, he was in great positioning but the puck deflected off a stick in front. The third goal was from an awkward bounce off the glass – a fluke goal. The fourth goal is the one that Fulcher will want back. He was, again, in great positioning but lost sight of the puck and was unable to squeeze closer against the post to avoid the goal. In overtime, he was beat by a lightning-quick shot that he had little chance to stop.
Goals against: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=11RdGoldR7M *your decision if you want to include this!
Fulcher has the framework that all NHL teams look for in a goaltender. He’s big, athletic and calm and composed in the net. He has struggled with some consistency and like most young goaltenders, could improve on his rebound control. While he’s usually pretty quick, his reaction time was off a little in this game.