Mikhail Grabovski had three assists and was named the first star for the fourth consecutive game in the Hamilton Bulldogs 4-2 win over the Iowa Stars on Tuesday night at Wells Fargo Arena. The victory was the ‘Dogs fourth straight and improves their record to 27-21-1-5 on the season. With 60 points, Hamilton is now tied with the Manitoba Moose for second place in the North Division standings.
The Bulldogs opened the scoring on the power play just 1:39 into the first period when Matt D’Agostini picked up his own rebound and backhanded home his 15th goal of the season. Eric Manlow extended Hamilton’s lead with his ninth tally of the campaign three minutes later. With assists on the goal, Brett Engelhardt earned his first point as a Bulldog and Kyle Chipchura picked up his 50th career American Hockey League point.
At 5:41 of the middle stanza, the ‘Dogs took a 3-0 lead when D’Agostini netted his second marker of the game. The goal chased Stars starting netminder Tobias Stephan from between the pipes in favour of Steve Silverthorn.
Iowa got on the scoreboard at the 5:34 mark of the third period when Marty Sertich potted his 17th goal of the season. Mathieu Biron restored the Bulldogs three-goal lead on the power play at 8:13. It was Biron’s third marker of the campaign. B.J. Crombeen halved Hamilton’s margin with the game’s final goal at 13:41.
Jaroslav Halak turned aside 34 of 36 shots to earn the win for Hamilton, while Stephan had 21 saves on 24 shots and his replacement, Silverthorn, stopped 18 of 19 shots. Special teams played a large role in the Bulldogs win, as they went 2-for-5 on the power play and a perfect 8-for-8 on the penalty kill.
STREAKING ‘DOGS: Grabovski extended his assist and point streak to four games (Feb. 15-19) with 13 points (5-8-13). D’Agostini is now on a four-game assist and point streak (Feb. 15-19) with eight points (3-4-7). Corso also extended his current team-high assist streak to five games (Feb. 13-19) with seven helpers in that span.
The defending Calder Cup Champion Bulldogs return to action tonight (Wednesday, Feb. 20) at 8:05 p.m. when they travel to Moline, Ill., to take on the Quad City Flames. The game can be heard on 820 CHAM.
Hamilton returns home to Copps Coliseum to take on the Houston Aeros on Saturday, Feb. 23 at 7:00 p.m.
1. HAM – Matt D’Agostini-15 (Mikhail Grabovski, Daniel Corso) – 1:39 (pp)
2. HAM – Eric Manlow-9 (Brett Engelhardt, Kyle Chipchura) – 4:40
3. HAM – Matt D’Agostini-16 (Mikhail Grabovski, Eric Manlow) – 5:41
4. IOW – Marty Sertich-17 (Trevor Byrne, Nolan Baumgartner) – 5:34
5. HAM – Mathieu Biron-3 (Mikhail Grabovski, Corey Locke) – 8:13 (pp)
6. IOW – B.J. Crombeen-8 (Tommy Wandell) – 13:41