Bulldogs fall behind 2-0 in Western Conference final

The Hamilton Bulldogs will return to Copps Coliseum trailing 2-0 in their best-of-seven Western Conference final after falling 3-2 to the Houston Aeros on Sunday (May 15).

Game 3 in the American Hockey League playoff affair will go at 7.30 p.m. on Tuesday (May 17). Hamilton lost the opener, 2-1, on Friday.

Ryan Russell scored a goal and added an assist for the Bulldogs but it was not enough as Houston scored two power-play goals. Hamilton was held scoreless in four power play opportunities.

Following a scoreless first period, the Aeros took the lead at 3:16 of the second stanza with a power play goal. Jared Spurgeon received the puck from Warren Peters while positioned at the point. He passed to Robbie Earl at the right faceoff dot and Earl snapped a shot that sailed through traffic and past the blocker goaltender Drew MacIntyre.

The Bulldogs tied the game at 14:03 of the period. Brendon Nash gave the puck to Russell, who fired a shot towards the net. Gabriel Dumont, who was in front of the net, redirected the shot between the legs of netminder Matt Hackett and across the goal line.

The Aeros regained the lead with 10 seconds left in the period with their second power-play goal. Spurgeon fed a pass to Marco Scandella, who blasted a slap shot that traveled through traffic and over the glove of MacIntyre.

Houston upped its margin to 3-1 lead at 5:10 of the final frame. Jed Ortmeyer’s shot was stopped by MacIntyre but the rebound bounced to Colton Gillies, who promptly whacked it into the net.

The ‘Dogs made the game 3-2 at 12:06 of the period. Aaron Palushaj carried the puck deep into the Aeros’ zone and behind the net. He backhanded a pass to Russell, who one-timed a shot between the legs of Hackett and into the net.

Hamilton had a slight edge in shots on net, 29-27. A crowd of 5,220 was on hand.