Matt D’Agostini was a one-man wrecking crew on Friday night.
The Bulldogs forward scored four goals, including the game-winner with only 18 seconds left in overtime, to lead Hamilton to a 5-4 win over the Crunch in Syracuse. The American Hockey League win leaves Hamilton with a 37-22-3-4 record.
The Crunch opened the scoring on the power play at 5:22 of the first period when Joakim Lindstrom posted his 18th goal of the season. But just over four minutes later Hamilton used a 5-on-3 power play to even the score 1-1 with D’Agostini’s 15th tally of the campaign.
D’Agostini notched two more goals in the second period to give the Bulldogs a 3-1 lead. At the 4:57 mark, he took a pass from Francis Lemieux and beat goaltender Dan LaCosta with a high wrist shot. Then five minutes later, on the power play, D’Agostini completed his hat trick by tipping in a pass from Corey Locke.
The Crunch responded with two goals in the middle stanza to tie the game 3-3. Jeffrey Szwez (12:50) and Ryan Keller (16:53) were the goal scorers.
At 3:18 of the third period, Lemieux gave Hamilton the lead with his fifth goal of the season and third point of the night. Syracuse evened the score again when Jekabs Redlihs scored on the powerplay.
With only 18 seconds left in overtime and the Bulldogs on a power play, D’Agostini registered his fourth goal of the game to lift Hamilton to a 5-4 win. Locke earned his third assist on the night by setting up the game-winning goal.
D’Agostini became the first Hamilton player in franchise history to record four goals in a single game on the road. It was also the first time a Bulldogs player reached that mark since former ‘Dog Jozef Balej posted four goals on Dec. 28, 2003 against the St. John’s Maple Leafs at Copps Coliseum.
Eric Manlow played in his 800 career professional hockey game. In 11 years as a pro in the International, East Coast, and National hockey leagues.
Lemieux’s goal and two assists came in his first game back in the Bulldogs line-up after missing the 11 previous contests due to injury.
Hamilton plays again on Sunday in Montreal in a rematch with the Crunch. While that game is counted as a “home” game, it will be the Bulldogs last game on the road after nine away games. They return to Copps on Wednesday (March 21) to face the Rochester Americans at 7.30 p.m.