In a less than inspiring performance, the Hamilton Bulldogs suffered their worst loss of the American Hockey League season on Thursday night, falling 5-1 to the visiting Syracuse Crunch.
This season the Bulldogs had not lost a game by more than three goals. On Thursday they looked anything but a team trying to get a playoff spot.
Slightly more than 4,000 spectators at Copps Coliseum watched the Bulldogs record slip to 40-26-3-5 with six games remaining in the regular season.
The teams exchanged goals in a span of 1:19 in the first period. Andrew Murray opened the scoring for the Crunch at 1:46 but. Eric Manlow quickly replied for the Bulldogs when he chipped in a rebound at 3:05. Cory Urquhart and Duncan Milroy earned assists on Manlow’s fourth goal of the campaign.
But the Crunch would score three more times before the period ended – Curtis Glencross with two and Murray’s second goal – to take a 4-1 lead into the first intermission.
Hamilton would replace starter Yann Danis with Philippe Sauve to begin the second period. Danis stopped eight of 12 shots. Sauve would finish the night with 11 saves on 12 shots.
After a scoreless second period, Olivier Labelle padded the Crunch lead on the power play at 4:33 of the third frame with his ninth goal of the season.
Hamilton was 0-for-8 on the power play, while Syracuse went 2-for-6 with the extra-man.
Crunch goaltender Joel Martin made 33 saves on 34 shots, which was a flattering stat for the Hamilton shooters.
The Bulldogs travel to Rochester to battle the Americans on Good Friday. Hamilton’s next home game is Wednesday (April 11) at 7:30 p.m. against the Grand Rapids Griffins.