Kyle Chipchura’s two goals and two assists helped the Hamilton Bulldogs take the opening game of their American Hockey League Calder Cup semifinal series on Friday night.
Dan Jancevski’s marker at 6:50 of the second overtime gave Hamilton the 6-5 win over the Chicago Wolves to open the best-of-seven series. Game 2 of the Western Conference final goes Sunday afternoon at 4 o’clock in Chicago.
The Bulldogs had taken a 2-0 lead in the first period only to watch the Wolves rally with four straight goals that put them ahead 4-2 just past the midway mark of the middle stanza before the visitors mounted their own comeback, eventually forcing overtime.
Hamilton opened the scoring with goals from Ajay Baines and Kyle Chipchura at 1:28 and 9.44 respectively of the first period. Baines stole the puck from a Wolves defender and walked in on a breakaway for his fourth goal of the playoffs. Chipchura took a pass from Andre Benoit for his third post-season goal.
Milton native Darren Haydar, the AHLs MVP and leading scorer in the regular season and current playoff pace setter, got the Wolves on the board with his eighth post-season goal at 10:10 of the first period. Stoney Creek native Mark Popovic earned an assist.
With three goals in a span of 5:29 in the second period, Chicago took the lead. Brian Fahey, Haydar, with his scored of the game, and Cory Larose made it 4-2 for the Wolves.
Yann Danis, who earned his first win in his first action in the 2007 Calder Cup playoffs in the game, replaced Hamilton’s starting netminder Carey Price between the pipes immediately following Chicago’s fourth goal.
Hamilton scored two quick goals in the third period to tie the game 4-4. Jonathan Ferland pulled the Bulldogs within a goal at the 9:20 mark when he finished off a three-way passing play from Baines and Chipchura. Eric Manlow tied the game just 2:10 later on the power play with his fifth goal of the post-season.
Brett Sterling notched his seventh goal of the playoffs just 39 seconds after the Bulldogs erased a two-goal deficit to restore a lead for the Wolves at 5-4. Haydar had one of the assists on the go-ahead goal.
Chipchura posted his second goal and fourth point of the game for the Bulldogs to even the score 5-5 at 15:47 of the final frame.
At 6:50 of the second overtime period, Dan Jancevski’s shot from the point found its way to the back of the net to lift Hamilton to the 6-5 win. The goal was Jancevski’s second of the playoffs and came on the power play.
Sunday’s game can be heard on 820 CHAM.
The series resumes in Hamilton for Games 3, 4 and 5 (if necessary) at Copps Coliseum on Wednesday, May 23 (7:30 p.m.), Friday, May 25 (7:30 p.m.) and Saturday, May 26 (7:00 p.m.) respectively.
1. HAM – Ajay Baines-4 (unassisted) – 1:28
2. HAM – Kyle Chipchura-3 (Andre Benoit) – 9:44
3. CHI – Darren Haydar-8 (Jason Krog, Mark Popovic) – 10:10
4. CHI – Brian Fahey-3 (Cory Larose, Nathan Oystrick) – 7:31 (pp)
5. CHI – Darren Haydar-9 (Mark Popovic, Andy Delmore) 11:48 (pp)
6. CHI – Cory Larose-3 (unassisted) – 13:00
7. HAM – Jonathan Ferland-3 (Ajay Baines, Kyle Chipchura) – 9:20
8. HAM – Eric Manlow-5 (Kyle Chipchura, Andre Benoit) – 11:30 (pp)
9. CHI – Brett Sterling-7 (Jason Krog, Darren Haydar) – 12:09
10. HAM – Kyle Chipchura-4 (Mathieu Biron) – 15:47
11. HAM – Dan Jancevski-2 (unassisted) – 6:50 (pp)