HAMILTON — Avery Hayes scored a goal and added three assists for a four-point night as the Hamilton Bulldogs opened their OHL Eastern Conference final with the North Bay Battalion with a 5-2 win Friday.
Ryan Humphrey, Ryan Winterton, Logan Morrison and Arber Xhekaj scored the other goals for the Bulldogs.
Brandon Coe and Dalyn Wakely responded for the Battalion.
North Bay netminder Joe Vrbetic made 25 saves in defeat.
Coe scored for the Battalion at the 17:50 mark of the first period to tie the game at 1-1. But Winterton gave the Bulldogs a 2-1 lead with 48 seconds left to play in the opening frame, opening up the flood gates for two more Hamilton goals in the second period that ended up putting the game away.
The Bulldogs entered the playoffs as the OHL's top seed after finishing with 107 points and a 51-12-3-2 record. Their victory Friday was their ninth straight to begin the post-season after they swept the first two rounds of the playoffs.
Game 2 goes Sunday in Hamilton again.