Showing grit and determination, the Hamilton Bulldogs prevailed in a 2-1 shootout victory over the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins on Friday night.
In an entertaining American Hockey League game that was scoreless after two periods and saw the teams exchange goals in the final period, Corey Locke scored the eventual winner in the second shootout round.
Andrei Kostitsyn and Eric Manlow had scored for the Bulldogs in the first round of five shooters while Tyler Kennedy and Daniel Carcillo countered for the Penguins, making their first visit of the season to Copps Coliseum.
The Penguins, who top the AHL’s East Division, broke the scoreboard goose eggs just 1:08 into the final 20 minutes when Carcillo slid the puck into the net after a mad scramble in front of the Bulldogs crease. Matt Carkner and Tom Gilbert picked up assists on Carcillo’s 10th goal of the season, a powerplay marker.
Hamilton was 0-for-6 with the man advantage but the Bulldogs penalty killing unit earned top marks allowing the Pens only one goal on seven extra-man opportunities, including two, two-man advantage situations.
Hamilton, using the win to take possession of second place in the North Division, pulled even when Duncan Milroy fed a breakaway pass to Matt D’Agostini who had just left the penalty box after serving a two-minute minor. D’Agostini fired a shot on the stick side of Pens’ goaltender Jeff Deslauriers and had his sixth goal of the season. Dan Jancevski also drew an assist on the goal that came at the 15:53 mark of the third period to force overtime.
Neither team could score in the five-minute overtime session when the Bulldogs outshot the Pens 4-0. On the night Hamilton had 38 shots on net while Bulldogs’ goalie Yann Danis faced 34 shots.
D’Agostini’s goal triggered an avalanche of stuffed animal toys tossed onto the ice by some of the 4,835 spectators. Nearly 2,000 toys hit the ice and all will be donated to local not-for-profit groups in the Hamilton area for distribution to families in need for Christmas.
Two players reached milestones for Hamilton. Defenceman Jean-Philippe Cote played in his 200th career AHL game, while Danis, appearing in his 108th contest, tied former ‘Dog Steve Passmore for most games played by a Bulldogs goaltender.
The Bulldogs hit the road for a 7:35 p.m. game tonight (Saturday) in Rochester to take on the division-leading Americans. The game can be heard on 820 CHAM beginning with a pre-game Show 20 minutes prior to faceoff. Fans can also listen or watch at www.hamiltonbulldogs.com by clicking on the B2 Networks or 820 CHAM icon on the ‘Dogs website.
The ‘Dogs next home game is on Friday, Dec. 22 against the Albany River Rats at 7:30 p.m.