The Hamilton Bulldogs are one win away from a berth in the American Hockey League’s Calder Cup final.
Corey Locke’s power play goal, his eighth of the post-season, gave Hamilton a 2-1 win over the Chicago Wolves and a 3-0 lead in the best-of-seven Western Conference final. The Bulldogs could wrap up the affair on Friday when the series resumes at Copps Coliseum. Gametime is 7.30 p.m. A fifth game, if necessary, would be played Saturday night at Copps.
Locke, who also had an assist on Hamilton’s first goal, scored the winner at 18.04 of the second period.
The Wolves opened the scoring at 13:02 of the first period when Jordan LaVallee beat netminder Carey Price. Chicago was on the power play.
Hamilton evened the score at 4:38 of the second frame when Zack Stortini redirected Maxim Lapierre’s pass past goaltender Fred Brathwaite.
Hamilton was on a 5-on-3 power play 14 minutes later when Locke picked up a loose puck from a goalmouth scramble and scored. It was his fourth power play goal of the playoffs.
Price stopped 35 saves on 36 shots for Hamilton while Brathwaite turned aside 23 of 25.
The game was watched by 3,317 spectators.
Only two teams in AHL Calder Cup playoff history have rebounded from a 3-0 deficit: the Rochester Americans defeated the Cleveland Barons in 1960 and the Adirondack Red Wings eliminated the Hershey Bears in 1989.
The winner of the Bulldogs-Wolves series will meet the survivor of the Bears-Manchester Monarchs affair, which Hershey leads 3-0.
1. CHI – Jordan LaVallee-7 (Nathan Oystrick, Jason Krog) – 13:02 (pp)
2. HAM – Zack Stortini-2 (Maxim Lapierre, Corey Locke) – 4:38
3. HAM – Corey Locke-8 (Duncan Milroy, Jonathan Ferland) – 18:04 (pp)