‘Dogs finish season in fourth place

Last year’s Calder Cup Champions wrapped up their 2007-2008 American Hockey League season, dropping a 7-1 decision at the hands of the Syracuse Crunch at the Onondaga County War Memorial.

The ‘Dogs finish the campaign in fourth place in the AHL’s North Division with a 36-34-3-7 record in 80 games, and brought to an end a dismal final month.

The ‘Dogs were tied for season place in their division in late February. However, in a bid for the Stanley Cup, the Montreal Canadians called up two key ‘Dogs – goaltender Jaroslav Halak and forward Mikhail Grabovski. Unable to recover, the fate of the team was laid to rest – with a 12 game franchise-long losing and winless streaks throughout the month of March.

In their final game of the season, Syracuse opened the scoring at 4:57 of the first period when Derek Mackenzie notched his 25th goal of the season. Mark Rycroft and Andrei Plekhanov drew helpers on the play.

Jonathan Ferland responded for Hamilton, banging a lose puck past Syracuse netminder Karl Goehring at the 14:25 mark of the opening frame. Brett Engelhardt and Corey Locke earned assists on the 1-1 goal.

At 16:58 of the first frame, the Crunch regained the lead courtesy of Duvie Westcott’s fourth tally of the campaign. With the lone assist on the goal, MacKenzie picked up his second point of the game.

Tallying twice in the middle stanza, Syracuse extended its’ lead to 4-1 following 40 minutes. Clay Wilson (1:15) on the power play and Gilbert Brule (8:38) were the second-period goal scorers for the Crunch.

With ‘Dogs rookie J.T. Wyman serving a five minute major penalty for high sticking in the third period, Zenon Konopka scored two power-play markers for the Crunch. The goals, scored at the 11:54 and 12:37 marks of the frame, gave the Crunch a 6-1 lead.

Brassard rounded out the game’s scoring at 7-1 for Syracuse with his 15th goal of the season just four seconds after Wyman’s major penalty expired at 15:09 of the final period.

The ‘Dogs will clean out their lockers tomorrow afternoon at Copps Coliseum.

Scoring Summary

1st Period:
1. SYR – Derek MacKenzie-25 (Mark Rycroft, Andrei Plekhanov) – 4:57
2. HAM – Jonathan Ferland-16 (Brett Engelhardt, Corey Locke) – 14:25
3. SYR – Duvie Westcott-4 (Derek MacKenzie) – 16:58

2nd Period:
4. SYR – Clay Wilson-14 (Duvie Westcott, Zenon Konopka) – 1:15 (pp)
5. SYR – Gilbert Brule-5 (Derick Brassard, Nate DiCasmirro) – 8:38

3rd Period:
6. SYR – Zenon Konopka-23 (Joakim Lindstrom, Duvie Westcott) – 11:54 (pp)
7. SYR – Zenon Konopka-24 (Alexandre Picard, Duvie Westcott) – 12:37 (pp)
8. SYR – Derick Brassard-15 (Clay Wilson, Derek MacKenzie) – 15:09

Hamilton: 1-0-0
Syracuse: 2-2-3

Hamilton: 10-6-10
Syracuse: 12-8-10

Hamilton: Yann Danis (30 shots, 23 saves)
Syracuse: Karl Goehring (26 shots, 25 saves)

Power Play:
Hamilton: 0-for-6
Syracuse: 3-for-9

Attendance: 5,871