Hamilton Bulldogs again got started off on the right skate but when all was said and done, the team’s American Hockey League losing streak was stretched to 12 games on Saturday night (March 29).
Chris Bourque’s four goals powered the Hershey Bears to a 5-2 win over the visiting Bulldogs and left Hamilton with a 31-32-3-6 record. As they did the previous night, the ‘Dogs scored first when Janne Lahti tipped home a Jean-Philippe Cote shot from the point at 12:14 of the first period. It was Lahti’s eighth goal of the season.
But two minutes later, Bourque evened the score for the Bears with his 21st tally of the campaign. With three goals in the middle stanza, Hershey took a 4-1 lead after 40 minutes. Grant McNeill registered his first goal of the season at the 2:53 mark to break the 1-1 tie. Bourque then added two goals just 46 seconds apart to complete the hat trick at 7:28 and 8:14.
That offensive spurt was the end for Bulldogs starting netminder Cedrick Desjardins. Yann Danis replaced him after Bourque’s second goal.
Mathieu Carle notched a power-play marker for Hamilton at 15:16 of the third frame to cut Hershey’s lead to 4-2. It was Carle’s seventh tally of the season.
The Bears rounded out the scoring at 5-2 with just one second remaining in the game when Bourque registered an empty-net marker.
Desjardins made 13 saves on 16 shots while Danis allowed one goal on 14 shots in relief duty. At the other end of the ice, Darren Machesney earned the win with 31 saves on 33 shots and picked up an assist on Bourque’s empty-net goal in the third period.
Corey Locke and Cote each had two points for the Bulldogs.
On special teams, Hamilton was 1-for-3 on the power play and 1-for-1 on the penalty kill.
The Bulldogs return to action tonight (Sunday, March 30) at 5:05 p.m. when they travel to the Wachovia Spectrum in Philadelphia to take on the Phantoms. Hamilton’s next home game is on Saturday, April 5 at 7 p.m. when they host the Lake Erie Monsters at Copps Coliseum.
1. HAM – Janne Lahti-8 (Jean-Philippe Cote, Corey Locke) – 12:14
2. HER – Chris Bourque-21 (Kyle Wilson, Josef Boumedienne) – 15:01
3. HER – Grant McNeill-1 (Shawn Collymore, Ryan Garlock) – 2:53
4. HER – Chris Bourque-22 (Patrick McNeill, Kyle Wilson) – 7:28
5. HER – Chris Bourque-23 (Andrew Gordon, Josef Boumedienne) – 8:14
6. HAM – Mathieu Carle-7 (Jean-Philippe Cote, Corey Locke) – 15:16 (pp)
7. HER – Chris Bourque-24 (Darren Machesney, Jay Beagle) – 19:59 (en)