Hamilton Bulldogs built a three-goal lead but couldn’t hold it, losing their final preseason game 5-4 to the Syracuse Crunch on Sunday.
Hamilton wrapped up its American Hockey League exhibition tests with a record of one win and three losses. They’ll now focus on the opening of regular season play on Friday at Copps Coliseum against the visiting Manitoba Moose.
Playing on the Canadian side of Niagara Falls Sunday, Hamilton used first period goals by Ajay Baines and Maxim Lapierre to take a 2-0 lead into the second stanza.
Andre Benoit increased the lead to three goals with his marker just past the midway point of the middle period. It was Benoit’s second preseason goal.
Then came the Crunch, scoring four straight goals by Kyle Wharton, Adam Pineault and Andrew Murray – in the second period – and Trevor Frischmon’s marker just 26 seconds into the third period to give Syracuse a 4-3 lead. The Bulldogs responded 39 seconds later with Duncan Milroy’s team-leading fourth goal of the preseason.
Syracuse netted the eventual winning goal at 4:29 of the final frame when Mark Flood scored.
Bulldogs’ goaltender Jaroslav Halak stopped 32 of the 37 shots he faced. Crunch netminder Dan LaCosta made 32 saves on 36 shots.