An early promise became a late game renege as the Hamilton Bulldogs dropped a 4-2 American Hockey League decision to the Toronto Marlies on Wednesday (Feb.29) at Copps Coliseum.
The Bulldogs had a 1-0 lead before the game was a minute old and led 2-1 early in the third period. But the division leading Marlies potted three goals in just more then five minutes to dismiss the Bulldogs and leaving them in last place where their playoff chances grow thinner.
The game wasn’t the Bulldogs only loss of the night. Defenceman Garrett Stafford was taken off the ice on a stretcher midway through the first period after being checked by Marcel Mueller. Stafford was treated by doctors at Copps Coliseum for a head injury while the Marlies’ forward was assessed a five-minute charging penalty and a game misconduct as a result of the hit.
The night got off to a positive start for the Bulldogs when Andreas Engqvist scored his 17th of the season at the 56 second mark of the opening period.
Jerry D’Amigo nullified that goal with his 13th of the season at 14:21 of the second period. Newcomer Carter Ashton, whom the parent Toronto Maple Leafs acquired this week, earning his first point as a Marlie.
At 5:44 into the third period, Philip DeSimone scored a power play goal on a tic-tac-toe play with Engqvist and Louis Leblanc to put the Bulldogs ahead by a score of 2-1.
With 14:19 played in the third, Ashton scored his 20th of the season followed by Mike Zigomanis at 17:05 and Greg Scott at 19:45. Scott was credited with Toronto’s final goal, which was automatically awarded to the visiting team after Frederic St-Denis threw his stick in an attempt to stop an empty net goal.
Toronto held a 32-28 edge in shots on goal in front of 3,527 fans.
The ‘Dogs will stay at Copps for the rest of the week, facing the Lake Erie Monsters on Friday at 7:30 p.m. on Royal Botanical Gardens night, then hosting the Grand Rapids Griffins at 5 p.m. on Sunday at Copps Coliseum for the first annual Pucks & Paws game.
After this home stand the Bulldogs will go on a 12-game road trip.