It’s back to Houston.
The Bulldogs and the Houston Aeros will resume their American Hockey League Western Conference final in the Texas city on Sunday (May 22) after Hamilton avoided elimination with a 4-2 win Friday night (May 20). The victory left the best-of-seven series 3-2 in favour of the Texans.
It was the second straight game in which the Bulldogs kept their playoff hopes alive.
Ryan Russell’s shorthanded goal, his seventh marker in post season play, in the third period proved to be the winner and Andrew Conboy’s goal into a net vacated for an extra attacker sealed the Bulldogs win.
Hamilton took a 2-0 first period lead on goals from left winger Paul Zanette – his second in the playoffs – and right-winger Aaron Palushaj, with his six.
The Aeros got one back in the second period when Jean-Michel Daoust beat Drew MacIntyre.
Hamilton restored its two-goal margin to 3-1 when Russell beat Matt Hackett while the Bulldogs were killing a penalty at 8.22 of the third period. Less than two minutes later, Houston pulled to within a goal when Jed Ortmeyer scored.
That set the stage for Conboy’s empty net goal, his first in the layoffs. Ryan White drew an assist on the goal, giving him two for the night.
MacIntyre stopped 31 of 33 shots while Hackett turned aside 26 of 29.
A crowd of 4,234 took in the game at Copps Coliseum.