Hamilton Bulldogs complete Steelheads sweep – Hamilton OCN News

It took eight games before the Hamilton Bulldogs were really tested in the Ontario Hockey League playoffs this year.

Even then, the nation’s top-ranked junior hockey team pulled through with flying colors.

Arber Xhekaj scored 1:49 into overtime Friday night as the Bulldogs rallied from a 2-1 second-period deficit to beat the Mississauga Steelheads 3-2.

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The victory gives Hamilton a back-to-back playoff this spring and propels the club into the Eastern Conference Finals for the first time since the Dogs won the OHL championship in 2017-18.

Vander Zecchia of Mississauga opened the scoring for the Steelheads just 59 seconds into the game before Hamilton tied the game 43 seconds later with a goal from Ryan Humphrey.

Aiden Prueter restored the Steelheads to a one-goal lead with 4:31 left in the first period when he beat Hamilton’s Marco Costantini.

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The Dogs tied the game again at 1:03 of the second period thanks to a shorthanded goal from Mason McTavish.

Costantini made 27 saves in Hamilton’s eighth straight playoff win and 18th straight win since the regular season.

The Steelheads got 31 saves from goaltender Joe Ranger in front of 2,906 fans at the Paramount Fine Foods Center in Mississauga.

Hamilton will face either North Bay or Kingston in the Eastern Final.

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