Hamilton’s visit to the top of the North Division standings was a short-lived one.
The Bulldogs 3-2 loss to the Toronto Marlies on Friday night, combined with the Rochester Americans 5-3 win over the Binghamton Senators, dropped Hamilton back into second place, one point back of the Amerks.
While Hamilton opened the scoring to excite most of the 7,674 in attendance – the largest turnout this season at Copps Coliseum – the Marlies knocked off three straight goals to secure the win.
Andrei Kostitsyn’s 11th goal of the season gave Hamilton the lead at 10:01 of the first period but East Coast Hockey League callup Luke Fulghum, with his first of the year in the second period, and Jeff Corey (7) and Brett Engelhardt (12) in the third gave Toronto the win.
Hamilton closed to within one goal with 14 seconds left in the game when Andrei Benoit scored his third goal of the campaign, a power play effort.
Goalie Jaroslav Halak stopped 27 of the Marlies 30 shots while his counterpart, Todd Ford, stopped 18 of the Bulldogs 20 shots.
The Bulldogs travel to Grand Rapids tonight (Saturday) to play division rivals, the Griffins who are tied with the Marlies for fourth place.
The Bulldogs next home game is Wednesday, Jan. 3 when the Iowa Stars visit Copps for a 7:30 meeting.