‘Dogs let opportunity slip away in loss to Crunch

The Hamilton Bulldogs twice let two-goal leads slip away and ended up on the short end of a 5-4 result against the Crunch in Syracuse on Saturday night (Dec. 27).

Sparked by John Vigilante’s two goals, the Crunch handed the Bulldogs their second loss in as many nights in American Hockey League play. Syracuse netted two short handed markers as they overcame 3-1 and 4-2 deficits before 6.032 spectators. Hamilton’s highlight was a franchise record for the fastest two goals when David Desharnais and Yannick Weber scored goals six seconds apart in the second period.

Syracuse opened the game’s scoring at 2:25 of the first frame while trying to kill a penalty. Vigilante intercepted a pass and beat Hamilton goalie Marc Denis.

Weber tied the game at 5:39 of the second stanza. Olivier Latendresse fed him a pass and his point shot eluded the glove of Syracuse netminder Dan LaCosta. The Bulldogs took the lead less than three minutes later when Mike Glumac stole the puck from a Syracuse defender and passed it to Desharnais, stationed in front of the net. Desharnais rifled a shot past LaCosta. Weber added his second goal at 8:10. While 10-feet away from net, Weber received the puck before ripping a shot past LaCosta to give Hamilton a 3-1 lead. That goal resulted Lacosta being replaced by Sebastian Dahm.

The Crunch cut the lead to one at 8:28 of the frame. Maksim Mayarov grabbed a loose rebound in front of the net before banging the puck past Denis.

Greg Stewart added a goal at 1:13 of final frame to restore Hamilton’s two goal edge. Dahm made the initial save on Dan Jancevski’s shot and also stopped Brock Trotter’s rebound attempt before Stewart stuffed the puck underneath him.

Syracuse added its third goal while shorthanded at 6:56 of the third stanza. Ryan Garlock grabbed the puck before snapping a shot that beat Denis. Syracuse tied the game 4-4 at 15:42. Clay Wilson fed a pass to the high slot, where Vigilante received the puck before he fired a shot that beat Denis. Adam Pineault gave the Crunch a 5-4 lead at 16:51. Pineault flipped the puck towards the net where it bounced off the back of Denis and into the net.

Denis stopped 32 of 37 shots while Hamilton had a total of 34 shots on net (LaCosta (18 shots, 15 saves), Dahm (16 shots, 15 saves). Neither team could score on four power play opportunities each.

The ‘Dogs return to Copps Coliseum on Sunday (Dec. 28) for a 6 p.m. game against the Rochester Americans.