Bulldogs focus on Western Conference banner

The Hamilton Bulldogs set a franchise record of 50 wins in a regular season by defeating the Toronto Marlies 3-2.

The win on Thursday night in front of 6,452 fans at Copps Coliseum leaves the Bulldogs magic number to clinch the American Hockey League’s Western Conference regular season title at three. That would be a combination of Bulldogs wins and losses by the Chicago Wolves.

The Bulldogs got on the scoreboard first at 5:42 of the opening frame. Ryan White received a pass from Frederic St. Denis while positioned at the top of the right faceoff circle. White released a shot that beat Toronto goaltender James Reimer. The ‘Dogs added a second goal at 10:10. Andre Benoit chipped the puck off the boards and up to David Desharnais, who was in the neutral zone. Desharnais skated past a Toronto defender before breaking into the Marlies’ zone. He faked a pass before snapping a shot past Reimer.

The Marlies cut the score in half at 14:38 of the second stanza. Tim Brent gave the puck to Drew Paris, who was stationed at the right point. Paris blasted a shot that sailed through traffic and over the glove of goaltender Cedrick Desjardins.

J.T. Wyman scored an empty net goal at 18:55 of the third period to give Hamilton a 3-1 lead. Wyman blocked a shot before racing down the ice to deposit the puck into the empty goal.

Kyle Calder cut the ‘Dogs lead to one with 23 seconds left in the game. Ryan Hamilton centered the puck which bounced off a Hamilton defender and into the stick of Calder. Calder snapped a shot to beat Desjardins.

Hamilton outshot the Marlies, 30-25.

The Bulldogs host the Rochester Americans for a match-up on Saturday (April 3) at 7 p.m.