On Friday night, Arthur Kaliyev and the Hamilton Bulldogs visited the Paramount Fine Foods Centre to take on the Mississauga Steelheads. The Bulldogs entered Friday’s game six points behind the Steelheads in the Eastern Conference with 61 points on the year. Hamilton has played 64 games while Mississauga has played 62 going into the evening affair. 

Going into the night, the Steelheads biggest challenge was set out to be figuring out a way to contain top 2019 NHL Draft prospect Arthur Kaliyev and the Bulldogs offence. Kaliyev has been one of the top players in the OHL this season. Going into Friday night’s contest, Kaliyev had 98 points in 63 games which had him tied for fifth in OHL scoring.

The Steelheads entered the game on a bit of a tough stretch, looking to get back in the win column after just one win in their last five games. Mississauga looked to pick things up a bit as they faced a team who is coming off of an even worse stretch. The Bulldogs won their first game since February 18th in their last game which took place on Wednesday March 6th against the Kitchener Rangers.

The Steelheads, on the other hand, looked to bounce back to their winning ways against Hamilton who just recently won their first game following the conclusion of a five-game losing streak.

The first period started off with pretty even play for both the home team and the visitors. The Bulldogs took control fast as they began to take some big hits early on, starting with a massive hit against the boards on Steelheads rookie William Portokalis.

This would spark a quick scuffle out front of Zachary Roy and the Bulldogs net before Hamilton continued their energy filled play with a solid chance that saw Jacob Ingham save a great wrap around opportunity.

After failing to convert in the wrap around, the Steelheads gained control of the puck and Cole Carter passed the puck to Alan Lyszczarczyk who almost covered on the opportunity. Lyszczarczyk’s scoring chance had the crowd at the Paramount Fine Foods Centre on their feet as they thought that the Steelheads had scored their first goal of the night against the Bulldogs.

Just after Mississauga missed out on an opportunity, Arizona Coyotes prospect Jan Jenik made no mistake as he found the back of the net to put his team up 1-0 early in the first period. Jenik’s 13th goal of the season would be assisted by Jake Gravelle and Isaac Nurse.

Hamilton wanted to build off of their lead and continued to play physically to bring up the momentum. As for the Steelheads, they started creating some big chances as they attempted to come back and get back in the game early on.

The Bulldogs played a strong defensive game as they were able to defend against Mississauga’s chances and limit the number of shots they had on net in the opening period.

Just over five minutes later, the Hamilton Bulldogs were able to increase their lead to make it 2-0. The goal came after a stunning tic-tac-toe effort which was finished off by Avery Hayes.

Isaac Nurse recorded the primary assist on Hayes’ goal for his second point of the game while Tim Fleischer had the secondary assist, recording his first point of the night.

The rest of the period looked fairly even between the two teams and towards the end of the first period, both teams began to play a lot more physically.

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While in the Steelheads zone, Matthew Strome would commit a big hit on Mississauga forward Keean Washkurak which saw the Steelheads lose control of the puck and Eric Henderson gain possession before blasting it by Jacob Ingham with just over 17 seconds left in the game’s first period.

Arthur Kaliyev recorded his 99th point of the season with the primary assist on the goal and Matthew Strome was credited with the secondary assist on the play. At the end of the period, the Steelheads were outshot 14 – 6 by Hamilton. 

With the second period now underway while down 3-0 to the Bulldogs, the Steelheads needed to step things up a bit to spark some offence of their own. They came into the middle frame looking better early on as they got some shots on to start the period and created some offence to try and get Mississauga back in the game.

Some strong forechecking from Cole Schwindt saw the Steelheads stay in the Bulldogs zone and continue to try and create chances, but after Nick Isaacson tripped after some great chances on Zachary Roy, Mississauga lost the puck and some of their momentum as well.

Shortly after, Navrin Mutter went on a breakaway which looked to be under control by Jacob Ingham who had time to poke check the puck away. However, once Ingham poke checked the puck, it ricochet off of Mutter and between Ingham’s legs for the 4-0 goal. The refs took some time to review it, but the call on the ice stood as a good goal for Hamilton.

The goal was Mutter’s fifth of the regular season and was assisted by Logan Morrison. Less then two minutes later, the Bulldogs added salt to the Steelheads wound when Isaac Nurse recorded his first goal of the game and his third point of the night.

The goal came after Hamilton crowded Mississauga’s zone as well as the net while Ingham made some great saves, however, Nurse was able to get one by as the Steelheads defence couldn’t contain the Bulldogs pressure in front of the net.

Nurse’s goal was assisted by Conor Ali and Jan Jenik who recorded his second point of the night. After the team’s fifth goal, Jacob Ingham was pulled from the game and replaced by backup netminder Joe Ranger.

With Hamilton up 5-0 and Mississauga trying to at least lower the deficit and get their name on the board, they had a chance on the power play, however, failed to convert before it was killed off. Thomas Harley was making some great passes from his own zone to create some offensive chances for his team.

The rest of the second period saw a lot of back and fourth chances from both sides of the ice respectively. The Steelheads could not convert on their opportunities while the Bulldogs were doing a good job limiting their chances as best as they possibly could.

James Hardie almost got something going when his shot almost squeezed past Hamilton goaltender Zachary Roy, but the Mississauga was not able to get to the rebound in time to score their first goal of the game.

In the dying minutes of the frame, Cole Carter was continuing to try and get things going for the Steelheads in order to erase their five goal deficit and get Mississauga on the board before the clock ran out of time to bring the period to a close.

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The Steelheads entered the third and final period looking like a whole new team. Had they played the entire game the same way they did in the third, then they likely would have won the game and defeated Arthur Kaliyev and the Bulldogs.

From the second the puck dropped on the game’s final frame, Mississauga started carrying the puck into Hamilton’s zone and spent a significant amount of time there.

They were putting pucks on net and creating quality chances that were getting tougher and tougher for the Bulldogs defence to contain. Zachary Roy was making some great saves in his attempt to keep his hopes of recording a shutout alive.

Steelheads forward Richard Whittaker was making this tough for Roy however. He was creating chances that were challenging to manage but was able to come up with the stops.

After play continued to stay strong in the Hamilton zone primarily, Whittaker found an open hole and was finally able to put one past Zachary Roy after some good efforts by Cole Schwindt who recorded a primary assist earlier on in the game.

Whittaker’s goal helped energize the Steelheads who continued to be on the ball after finally netting their first goal late in the game. After the goal, Mississauga found their rhythm to control the game in their advantage, finding themselves a dangerous opportunity against the Bulldogs on the two-on-one.

The Steelheads once again would fail to convert on the play, but continued to put up dangerous scoring chances and high danger shots to the net as well. They even looked a lot better defensively and even started blocking shots despite being unable to tie up the game.

With just over four minuets left, Mississauga almost scored again as they crowded Roy and the Bulldogs goal crease and tried to push the puck passed the goal line, continuing the theme of an aggressive evening.

There was a lot of pushing and shoving by the net which saw Bulldogs goaltender Zachary Roy fall, causing a scuffle between the two teams, resulting in a two-minute penalty for Richard Whittaker for slashing. This would give Hamilton yet another power play to end the game.

Just just under two minutes to play, Navrin Mutter needed his second of the game, a power play goal assisted by Arthur Kaliyev and Conor Ali to put the Bulldogs up 6-1. Arthur Kaliyev’s assist marked his second point of the game and his 100th point of the regular season.

100 points for a draft eligible forward is quite an accomplishment in the OHL and one that might help him shoot up in the draft rankings around the NHL. With multiple team executives and scouts in attendance, Arthur Kaliyev did a great job impressing and making his case for why he should be a high draft pick this year in Vancouver.

Hamilton would go on to win by a final score of 6-1 while the shot totals for the Bulldogs were 36 against the Steelheads who would finish with 23. James Hardie was named third star of the game after recording an assist on Mississauga’s lone goal. Jan Jenik, who had one goal and one assist, was named the second star of the game while Isaac Nurse, who led his team in scoring against the Steelheads, was named the first star with a goal and two assists.

Mississauga returns to action on Saturday night at Erie Insurance Arena as they pay a visit to the Erie Otters at 7:00pmET. The game can be seen on OHL Live, meanwhile, it can be heard on Sauga 960 AM.

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