Bulldogs return to win column with OT victory over Iowa

Hamilton Bulldogs started 2007 on a winning note after ending 2006 on a losing one.

The ‘Dogs 4-3 win over the visiting Iowa Stars on Wednesday night at Copps Coliseum ended a three-game losing skein for Hamilton. With the win, Hamilton moved to within a point of the Rochester Americans who lead the American Hockey League’s Western Conference’s North Division with 47 points.

The Amerks, however, have four games in hand.

Twice on Wednesday night, the Bulldogs battled back from two-goal deficits and needed overtime to pick up their 22nd win of the season.

Iowa lead 1-0 after the first period when Scott May scored at 3:22 and used a powerplay goal just 1:15 into the second period to go two up. Duncan Milroy’s 16th goal of the season cut the margin in half 26 seconds later only to have Mark Fistic score his first goal of the year, a shorthanded and unassisted tally at 6:12 that restored the two-goal cushion.

Before the frame ended, Andrei Kostitsyn’s 12th goal brought Hamilton to within one a second time at 14:55.

Mikhail Grabovski used his 10th goal of the campaign to send the game into overtime. That set the stage for Maxim Lapierre to notch his ninth goal at 2:29 of OT.

Hamilton goalie Yann Danis stopped 19 of the 22 shots he faced while Dan Ellis blocked 21 of Hamilton’s 25 shots.

The game was also the 238th outing for Milroy, making him the all-time club leader in games played. He surpassed Jason Chimera, now with the National Hockey League’s Columbus Blue Jackets.

The Stars and Bulldogs will go at it again on Friday night at Copps at 7:30. On Saturday, Rochester visits Copps for a 7 p.m. showdown that could have first place as the prize.

The Americans play in Manitoba tonight and Friday before their date in Steeltown.