The Hamilton Bulldogs got more than they expected from their defence on Monday night – they got offense.
The ‘Dogs defensive corps accounted for all of the Hamilton goals in a 5-2 win over the Hershey Bears in the Calder Cup final series. The win gives Hamilton a 2-l advantage in the best-of-seven series with Game 4 scheduled for Wednesday night (June 6) at Copps Coliseum.
Game 5 will also be played at Copps on the following night. Both games have a 7.30 p.m. start. Since the post season started the Bulldogs have yet to trail a series in the 2007 playoffs.
Danny Groulx, with a pair of goals, Andre Benoit, Dan Jancevski, and Ryan O’Bryne scored the Hamilton goals. Groulx two markers give him six goals in the playoffs, moving him into the franchise lead for goals in a single post-season past Scott Ferguson who tallied five times in 1997.
Hamilton got onto the scoreboard first for the third time in the series just 1:20 after the opening faceoff. Groulx took a pass from Matt D’Agostini and shot from the point to beat Bears netminder Frederic Cassivi while Hamilton was on the
With just 11 seconds left in the first period, Hershey scored the equalizer on the power play. Jakub Klepis’ snap shot from the left side alluded ‘Dogs netminder Carey Price. The Bulldogs took a 2-1 lead early in the middle stanza when Benoit completed a three-way passing play from Corey Locke and Maxim Lapierre. Benoit’s second goal of the post-season was scored at the 1:19 mark of the frame.
Two more Hamilton defencemen added the next two markers in a span of 4:30 to give the ‘Dogs a 4-1 second-period lead.
O’Byrne went hard to the net and redirected D’Agostini’s pass from the left boards at 7:58. Then, Jancevski gathered in a rebound from Benoit’s right point shot at the 12:28 mark. Locke also earned an assist on Jancevski’s power-play marker.
With just 42 seconds left in the second stanza, Groulx added his second goal of the night to give the Bulldogs a four goal cushion, again on the power play. Jancevski and Mikhail Grabovski earned assists.
Hershey pulled within three goals when Klepis got his second goal of the night at 11:21 of the final frame to complete the scoring.
Price made 38 saves on 40 shots while Cassivi turned aside 24 of 29 shots.
With two assists, Locke became the Bulldogs franchise leader for points in a single playoff with 22 (10-12-22), moving past Jason Ward who recorded 21 points (10-12-22) in 2002.