TORONTO – For the third consecutive game, the Hamilton Bulldogs were shutout in American Hockey League play. On Wednesday night (Jan 2) the Toronto Marlies handed the Bulldogs a 6-0 blanking.
While Hamilton could manage a meager 14 shots on net – to match their lowest scoring effort this season – the Marlies were not that much better, firing 19 shots on goalie Cedric Desjardins.
Keith Aucoin scored two goals and added one assist to power Toronto to the win. Joe Colborne contributed one goal and two assists while Ryan Hamilton had a goal and an assist. Jerry D’Amigo and Greg McKegg had one each. Mike Kostka chipped in with two assists.
For goaltender Ben Scrivens, it was his second shutout of the season.
The Marlies improved to 20-9-1-2 (43 points) to top the North Division and Western Conference.
With the loss, the Bulldogs fall to 11-18-1-2 (25 points) and stretch their scoring drought to 180:30 minutes since Brendon Nash scored an empty-net goal at 19:30 of the third period in a 6-3 win over the visiting St. John’s IceCaps on Dec. 28.
The Marlies first goal, a shorthanded effort – came at 10:10 of the opening period, eight seconds after Aucoin had been banished for cross checking. Greg Scott outfought Patrick Holland for the puck in the Bulldogs’ zone, eluded Nathan Beaulieu and fed the puck to D’Amigo, who was stationed alone in front and snapped the puck over Desjardins’s left shoulder.
Aucoin made it 2-0 on the power play at 14:15. Colborne took a feed from Paul Ranger and fired a shot from in close that Desjardins stopped, but the puck popped into the air and was swatted home by Aucoin, who was parked at the left post.
The Marlies held a 7-3 edge in shots. Desjardins made some fine saves, foiling Kenny Ryan at the lip of the crease as he attempted to convert a Colborne rebound in the seventh minute and he scrambled to keep Hamilton from slipping home a loose puck in the crease a minute later.
Desjardins slid across the crease to get his left pad on a Dylan Yeo shot in the 10th minute and stopped a hard shot from Ranger with the Marlies on the power play in the 13th.
The Bulldogs’ best chance came in the ninth minute. Kostka was attempting to fend off Mike Blunden at the side of the Marlies net when he slid the puck into the slot where Gabriel Dumont fired a shot from in close that Scrivens stopped.
The Marlies erupted for three goals on six shots in the second period.
McKegg made it 3-0 at 1:47, one-timing a pass from Simon Deschamps from the edge of the right-wing circle through Desjardins’s legs and Colborne struck with the Bulldogs two men short at 10:41, charging to the net to bury an Aucoin feed at the right post. Hamilton scored on the power play at 15:27, steering the puck around a fallen Desjardins from the deep slot.
The Bulldogs had five, second-period shots with their best chances coming on a two-man advantage in the seventh minute, but Scrivens stopped two shots from Frederic St-Denis, finding a shot from the blue line through traffic and seconds later snaring a shot from the right point.
Aucoin closed the scoring at 16:23 of the third period as he took a feed from Hamilton, moved into the Bulldogs zone, outmaneuvered blueliner Antoine Corbin and snapped a shot under Desjardins’s left leg.
Each team had six shots in the period. Scrivens found a point shot from Mike Commodore through traffic in the eighth minute and foiled Stefan Chaput from the slot in the 18th. Desjardins came up with stops on Spencer Abbott, Ryan, and Carter Ashton in the 13th and 14th minutes.
The Bulldogs were without Greg Pateryn, Nash, Joonas Nattinen, Aaron Palushaj, Phillippe Lefebvre and Blake Geoffrion. The Marlies scratched Korbinian Holzer, Nazem Kadri, Will Acton, Jake Gardiner and Brad Ross.
The Bulldogs’ next game is against the Rockford IceHogs at Copps Coliseum at 7:30 p.m. on Friday, Jan. 4.
Attendance at Ricoh Coliseum was 7,851
The Bulldogs’ shot total matched its lowest output of the season. The Bulldogs had 14 shots in a 4-1 loss to the Syracuse Crunch in a game at the Bell Centre in Montreal on Nov. 9. Hamilton also held the IceCaps to 19 shots in a 3-1 road loss on Nov. 20
The Bulldogs allowed six goals for the second time this season. They first surrendered that number in a 6-1 loss at Toronto on Nov. 17 … The Bulldogs went 0-for-4 on the power play. The Marlies were 3-for-6
The Bulldogs are 5-12-0-2 on the road while the Marlies are 12-2-0-1 at home. The Marlies have won five consecutive home games since a 3-2 loss to the Abbotsford Heat on Dec. 9. That defeat was the Marlies’ last loss in regulation. They are 7-0-1-1 in nine subsequent games
The Marlies hold a 6-2-0-0 edge in the 12-game regular-season series between the Ontario rivals. The Bulldogs host Toronto on Jan. 8
The Bulldogs have allowed three shorthanded goals this season, including two over their last four games
Marlies head coach Dallas Eakins will guide the Western Conference team at the AHL All-Star Classic at Providence on Jan. 28
Aucoin has recorded five goals and eight assists for 13 points in seven games against the Bulldogs this season … Nattinen, who missed a third consecutive game with an upper-body injury, turns 22 on Thursday while Marlies right winger Matt Frattin turns 25 that day
Toronto’s Mark Fraser bloodied Kyle Hagel in a second-period bout
The Marlies finished second behind the Norfolk Admirals in points percentage in the AHL during the 2012 calendar year. The Marlies compiled a record of 47-21-3-3 for 100 points and a .676 points percentage
The crowd of 18,800 that saw the teams’ previous game, a 3-2 Marlies win at Air Canada Centre on Dec. 26, was the 10th largest regular-season crowd in AHL history
Centre Mike Zigomanis returned to the Toronto lineup after missing seven games with a shoulder injury.
Kadri hasn’t played for the Marlies since leaving the Boxing Day game a short time after taking a check from Zack Stortini. He is reportedly sidelined with a recurrence of a rib injury.
1. TOR – Jerry D’Amigo (4) – (Greg Scott) 10:10 (SH)
2. TOR – Keith Aucoin (8) – (Joe Colborne, Raul Ranger) 14:15 (PP)
3. TOR – Greg McKegg (5) – (Simon Deschamps) 1:47
4. TOR – Joe Colborne (3) – (Aucoin, Kostka) 10:41 (PP)
5. TOR – Ryan Hamilton (15) – (Colborne, Kostka) 15:27 (PP)
6. TOR – Keith Aucoin (9) (Ryan Hamilton) 16:23