Bulldogs spook but Phantoms prevail

The Hamilton Bulldogs scored three unanswered goals in the second period but it wasn’t enough to defeat the Adirondack Phantoms.

The Phantoms opened the scoring at 13:29 into the game when Tyler Brown’s backhand shot beat Bulldogs netminder Robert Mayer to give Adirondack a 1-0 lead in the low-scoring first period.

The pace picked up in the second period, with 6 goals being scored in the 20-minute frame. At 3:04, Brandon Manning made it 2-0 Phantoms when his power play slapshot bounced off Mayer’s glove and into the Bulldogs’ net, breaking Hamilton’s 7-game perfect penalty kill streak. Just over three minutes later, Louis Leblanc beat Adirondack starting goaltender Jason Bacashihua to shorten the gap 2-1. Leblanc scored his second of the game to tie it at 2 when he shot his own rebound past Bacashihua from the left slot only 2:31 later. The Bulldogs scored their third consecutive goal at 11:35 when Aaron Palushaj notched his 10th of the season. With this power play goal, Palushaj extended his point streak to 6 games, and Andreas Engqvist, who earned an assist on the play, stretched his point streak to 9 games.

The back-and-forth barrage continued as the Phantoms took advantage of a power play opportunity to make it a 3-3 tie with 3:19 left in the second period. Denis Hamel carried Blake Kessel’s breakaway pass over the Bulldogs blue line, scoring his twelfth of the season with a sniper shot over Mayer’s left shoulder. Then, with 29 seconds left to play in the second stanza, Palushaj scored his second of the game following a 3-on-1 chance in front of Adirondack’s net. Alex Henry and Engqvist earned assists on the go-ahead goal, and the ‘Dogs would lead 4-3 going into the third period.

Michael Leighton took to the Adirondack net for the final 20 minutes. The Phantoms would come back in the third frame, with Jonathon Kalinski scoring only 1:22 into the period with a low blocker-side shot to tie the game at 4. Hamel would get his second of the game just under four minutes later, when his shot bounced off the back of the net and then off Mayer’s back to trigger the goal light. Adirondack’s 5-4 victory over Hamilton marked the Bulldogs’ first loss of 2012, snapping their season-leading 3-game winning streak and their 5-game point streak.

The Bulldogs travel to Rochester to take on the Americans TOMORROW, Saturday, January 14th, 2012 at 7:35 p.m. at Blue Cross Arena. The ‘Dogs are back at Copps Coliseum on Sunday, January 15th, 2012 at 3 p.m. to face the Toronto Marlies. All Hamilton Bulldogs games can be heard live on AM 820 CHAM or on hamiltonbulldogs.com, or seen live on ahllive.com beginning with the Pioneer Pre-Game Show 30 minutes prior to the scheduled start time.