In record setting fashion, the Hamilton Bulldogs defeated the Manitoba Moose 6-2 on Sunday afternoon at Copps Coliseum. The American Hockey League win with its two points gives Hamilton 112 points on the year, breaking the franchise record for most points in a season.
David Desharnais also broke the franchise record for points by a Bulldog in one season as he posted a goal and two assists in the win and now has 78 points on the year. With the win, Cedrick Desjardins has also tied the franchise record for most victories – 28 – by a Bulldogs’ goaltender in one season. He now shares that mark with Yann Danis who had 28 in the 2004-05 season.
The previous night, Hamilton lost a 4-3 shoot-out decision to the Rochester America, at Copps.
Regardless, Hamilton will claim the Western Conference, having earlier won the North Division crown.
On Sunday, the Bulldogs opened the scoring at 10:50 of the first frame. Ryan White fed a pass to Andrew Conboy, who one-timed the puck past Manitoba goaltender Daren Machesney.
The ‘Dogs took a two-goal lead at 5:33 of the second stanza. Brock Trotter received the puck from J.T. Wyman before deking past a Manitoba defender at the Moose’s blue line. Trotter skated towards the net before snapping a shot past Machesney.
Manitoba cut Hamilton’s lead to one a minute later. Peter Olvecky and Tom Maxwell skated into the Bulldogs’ zone on a two-on-one. Olvecky sent the puck to Maxwell, who fired a shot past a sprawling Desjardins.
Desharnais restored Hamilton’s two-goal margin at 11:02 of the second period. Mike Glumac carried the puck through Manitoba’s zone before backhanding a pass to Desharnais, who was in front of the net. Desharnais chipped the puck over Machesney and into the top of the net.
The ‘Dogs scored their fourth goal of the game at 15:40. Desharnais received the puck from Dany Masse before sending a pass to the point where Yannick Weber was stationed. Weber’s shot sailed through traffic and beat Machesney.
The assist was Desharnais’ third point of the game. His 78 points on the season surpasses Jason Chimera’s mark of 77, set in 2001-02
Hunter Bishop scored his first AHL goal at 16:26 to give Hamilton a 5-1 lead. Shawn Belle skated down the right side boards before firing a shot on net that was stopped by Machesney. The rebound bounced onto the stick of Bishop, who shovelled the puck past the goaltender.
The Moose scored their second goal of the game at 10:40 of the final frame. Yan Stastny skated towards the net before centering the puck, which bounced off a Hamilton defender and onto the stick of Guillaume Desbiens. Desbiens fired a shot that trickled through Desjardins’ pads.
Weber added his second goal of the game at 11:02 of the third stanza. Trotter sent the puck to Weber, who raced down the right side of the ice. Weber flipped a shot over the blocker of Machesney and into the net to give Hamilton a 6-2 lead. The goal was Weber’s 23rd of his Bulldogs career which ties him with Andre Benoit for the franchise record for all-time goals by a Bulldogs defenceman.
Each team had 27 shots on net before a crowd of 2,768.
Hamilton has also tied the franchise record for fewest regulation losses in a season as they have only suffered defeat 16 times and with three games remaining in the year they can only have a total of 19 regulation losses this season, a mark they hit in the 2002-03 season.
The Bulldogs host the Manitoba Moose for a rematch on Tuesday (April 6) at 7:30 p.m.
Twenty-four hours earlier, a gathering of 5,561 fans saw the Bulldogs lose 4-3 to the Rochester Americans. Following a scoreless first period. the Americans opened the scoring 57 seconds into the second stanza while on the power play. Evgeny Dadonov sent a pass to Graham Mink, who fired a shot that beat Desjardins.
The Amerks took a 2-0 lead at 3:42. Andrew Sweetland skated down the right side boards before backhanding a shot on net that was stopped by Desjardins. The puck bounced in front of the goaltender and onto the stick of David Brine, who snapped a shot over the glove of Desjardins.
Hamilton cut the lead in half at 8:05 of the middle frame. Maxime Lacroix fired a shot from the point that was stopped by goaltender Tyler Plante. Bishop grabbed the loose puck from the front of the net and chipped a pass to Masse, who wired a shot from the left hash marks to beat Plante.
While on a power play, Rochester took a 3-1 lead at 12:47 of the second period. Michal Repik and Jamie Johnson skated in on a two-on-one. Repik elected to pass, flipping the puck over the stick of a Bulldogs defender to Johnson, who one-timed a shot over Desjardins.
Hamilton made the game 3-2 at 15:45 of the middle stanza. Ryan White received the puck from P.K. Subban before firing a shot on net that was stopped by Plante. Desharnais picked up the loose rebound before reaching around the goaltender and backhanding the puck across the goal line. The assist was Subban’s 34th of the season which ties the franchise record for most assists by a Bulldogs defender in a single season.
Trotter tied the game at 19:10 of the final frame. Max Pacioretty carried the puck from his own end into Rochester’s zone where he backhanded a shot on net. Trotter grabbed the rebound and stuffed the puck past Plante to send the game into overtime.
Neither team could score in the extra period and a shootout was needed. Plante denied all four Hamilton shooters while Evgeny Dadonov and Maxime Gratchev scored for the Americans to win the game.
Hamilton outshot the Amerks, 33-25.