‘Dogs fail to gain ground on Moose

Hamilton Bulldogs dropped a 3-2 American Hockey League game to the Syracuse Crunch on Sunday, ending a 10-game road stretch. Yesterday’s game in Montreal was counted as a home affair.

Hamilton is in second place in the AHL’s Western Conference’s North Division with a 37-23-3-4 record, eight points back of the Manitoba Moose.

Manitoba has gone 9-1 in the Moose’s last 10 games while the Bulldogs have posted a 4-3-1-2 record.

The Rochester Americans are in third place, four points back of Hamilton. Those two teams meet when Rochester visits Copps Coliseum on Wednesday for a 7.30 p.m. contest.

The Bulldogs were forced to hit the road for a month to make room for the Canadian men’s curling championships and a Disney on Ice show at Copps.

In Montreal, 8,013 fans came to the Bell Centre to watch the Bulldogs-Crunch game.

Hamilton opened the scoring just 48 seconds into the first period when Matt D’Agostini registered his 19th goal of the season and fifth in two games. D’Agostini took a pass from Corey Locke in the slot and buried a high slap shot past Crunch netminder Tomas Popperle.

Defenceman Ryan Caldwell tied the game 1-1 for the Crunch 11 minutes later with a power-play marker.

The Bulldogs reclaimed the lead on the power play when Cory Urquhart notched his fifth tally of the campaign with exactly 5:00 remaining in the first frame. Mikhail Grabovski and Andre Benoit, who picked up his second assist of the game, recorded helpers on the goal.

After a scoreless middle stanza, Syracuse scored two unanswered goals in the third period to earn the win. Steve Goertzen tied the game 2-2 at the 7:05 mark and Ryan Keller scored the game-winning goal at 14:06 of the frame.

‘Dogs goaltender Yann Danis stopped 23 of 26 shots while Popperle turned aside 23 of 25 shots.

The Bulldogs were 1-for-6 on the power play while the Crunch went 1-for-4 with the extra-man.