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Bulldogs Comeback to Tie Canisius

The Hamburg Bulldogs of Division 2 were down 3-0 in the middle of the second period but came back with three unanswered goals to tie the Canisius Crusaders of Division 1, 4-4 on Saturday afternoon at the Northtowns Center.

It was only six minutes into game, but the Bulldogs were already down 3-0. Noticing his team was not playing like they’re used to, Hamburg Head Coach John McFall called a timeout.

“We knew we had to be more physical than them but we came out pretty soft”, Neil Dake said. “Then coach called a timeout and said that we were coming out slow and leaving our goalie out to dry.”

It took a while but finally the Bulldogs showed that they had gotten coach’s message.

With 5:41 left in the second period, seniors Jacob Hangen and Jason Delmont found Dake to finally put the Bulldogs on the board.

As the momentum shifted, the Crusaders became frustrated and forward Logan Gare went to the box for slashing. The Bulldogs took advantage of the power play as Hangen and Delmont again found Dake to bring Hamburg within one goal at the end of the second period.

The Bulldogs continued to battle in the third period. Then Hamburg found themselves back on the power play as Cole Beiter was called for cross checking. The Bulldogs didn’t waste any time.

Just five seconds into the man advantage, Jason Chiodo found Owen Gonter at the top of the circle and Gonter blasted the puck in the net.

The Crusaders luckily then picked themselves up and got back in the game. Jordan Martin found Gare on a 2-on-1 breakaway to give the Crusaders back the lead.

But there was not a letdown for the Bulldogs. Less than a minute later, Delmont found Dake once again to tie the game and give Dake a hat trick.

With the hat trick Dake is now the leading scorer for the Bulldogs, a position no one expected him to be him this time last year.

Dake is also the goaltender for the Buffalo Regals 18U travel team, and this year because the Regals had a split schedule, he had the opportunity to play for his school. Unfortunately, he already knew that Hamburg was set in net with Griffin Coppola. So, Dake decided that for the first time since he was seven years old that he was going to play forward.

“So, I said, why not give forward a try”, Dake said. “It’s really worked out, I like the my line mates and all the guys.”

“He has been an unbelievable shot of energy to us”, McFall said. “He’s one of the strongest, smartest athletes. He has a nose for the net.”

After going back and forth for the rest if the third period and a five minute overtime, the game was called a tie.

“We stopped playing our system and the guys started doing their own thing. We gave them momentum”, Canisius Head Coach Sam Belsito said. “In the third period we came back to doing what we should, but by then it was too late.”

For any team, especially a high school team, it can be very difficult to comeback from a large deficit, but even more difficult after your opponent gets back the lead to come right back and score.

“It shows the character that these boys have”, McFall said. “That first six minutes they weren’t even getting into the battles, let alone win them. Then they woke up and realized that they were in a hockey game and battled hard.”

Both teams will be back in action today at the HarborCenter. Canisius will face Clarence at 2:30pm. Hamburg will face Lancaster at 4:30pm.

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