’Dogs one win away from Western Conference final

The Hamilton Bulldogs could wrap up their North Division final series with a victory over the Manitoba Moose on Sunday (May 8).

The visiting Bulldogs hold a 3-2 lead in the best-of-seven American Hockey League playoff series after Friday’s (May 6) 5-1 victory over the Moose before 9,413 customers in Winnipeg. Hamilton got a two-goal effort from Nigel Dawes while Ryan White had a goal and an assist to lead the Bulldogs’ attack. Kyle Klubertanz had two assists for Hamilton.

Hamilton needed just 69 seconds after the drop of the opening faceoff to take the lead which they never surrendered. Dawes netted his first of the night and seventh of the playoffs while the Bulldogs were on a power play. Aaron Palushaj earned the assist when Dawes ripped a one-timer past goalie Eddie Lack.

Hamilton increased the lead to 2-0 at 4:58 of the second stanza. Ryan White fed a pass Jimmy Bonneau, whose shot on net was blocked by Lack. But the rebound came back to Bonneau and he quickly put the puck behind the netminder for his first goal of the playoffs.

The Moose got on the scoreboard at 15:04 of the period while on the power play. Nolan Baumgartner’s slap shot was stopped by goaltender Drew MacIntyre. The puck rebounded to the right side of the net where Marco Rosa was positioned to send it into the net.

Hamilton regained its two-goal advantage at 12:26 of the final frame. J.T. Wyman swarmed the net, attempting to jam the puck underneath Lack. The goaltender stopped Wyman’s attempt but Ryan Russell recovered the loose puck and flipped it into the net for his fourth playoff marker.

White gave the Bulldogs a 4-1 lead at 16:13. Gabriel Dumont fed the puck into the slot, where White one-timed a shot that sailed over the blocker of Lack. Dawes completed the scoring with his second goal of the game and eighth of the post season when he scored an empty netter at 17:50.

Hamilton outshot their opponents, 30-23.

Sunday’s sixth game at Copps Coliseum starts at 7:30 p.m. A Hamilton win sends the Bulldogs to the Western Conference finals, for a second straight year, against either the Houston Aeros or the Milwaukee Admirals. The Aeros lead the affair, 3-2, and resume that series in Milwaukee Sunday night.

All Hamilton Bulldogs playoff broadcasts on AM 820 CHAM begin with a pre-game show 30 minutes prior to the scheduled start time.