Bulldogs move closer to playoff berth

The Hamilton Bulldogs defeated the Manitoba Moose 3-2 in a shootout on Saturday in front of 8,195 American Hockey League fans at Copps Coliseum. Nigel Dawes set a franchise record for goals in a single season by a Bulldog as he scored his 39th and 40th goals of the year. The win moves the ’Dogs into first place in the North Division. If the Abbotsford Heat lose their game against the visiting Griffins (late Saturday) Hamilton will clinch a berth in the 2011 Calder Cup Playoffs.

The Bulldogs opened the scoring at 15:00 of the first frame. Dustin Boyd sent the puck to Dawes, who attempted to send the puck to the left point. The puck bounced off the leg of a Moose defender and past goaltender Eddie Lack.

The Moose tied the game at 17:58 of the period. Rick Rypien received the puck from Garth Murray who was positioned at the right side boards. Rypien backhanded the puck towards the net before it landed on Aaron Volpatti’s stick. Volpatti tapped the puck past goaltender Drew MacIntyre.

Dawes added his second goal of the game at 16:22 of the second stanza. Olivier Fortier chipped the puck to Dawes, who carried it into the zone before rifling a shot from the top of the right faceoff circle. The shot sailed over the glove of Lack and into the net. The goal was his 40th of the season which is a franchise record for the Bulldogs for most goals scored in a single season. Dawes had 27 goals with the Chicago Wolves and 13 with the ‘Dogs. He broke the record of 39 goals in a single season which was set by Paul Healey in the 2000-01 season.

Manitoba tied the game again at 18:01 of the final frame. Nolan Baumgartner took a slap shot from the left point which bounced off a Bulldogs defender’s skate and out to Sergei Shirokov, who was at the top of the crease. Shirokov tapped the puck in below MacIntyre’s glove and into the net.

With neither team able to score in the overtime period, the game went into a shootout. MacIntyre stopped all five Manitoba shooters he faced while Dawes was the only Bulldog to score for Hamilton out of five shooters, giving his team the win.

Hamilton outshot the Moose, 33-25.

The Bulldogs will begin a four-game road trip to finish their 2010-11 regular season when they travel to Abbotsford for a game on Monday (April 4).