Bulldogs four seconds away from victory


bulldogsMark Olver scored the decisive goal in a five-round shootout as the Lake Erie Monsters beat the Hamilton Bulldogs, 3-2, in American Hockey League action on Saturday (Jan. 5).

Olver, the Monsters’ fifth shooter, beat goaltender Robert Mayer with a forehand deke after defenceman Stefan Elliott, shooting fourth, had brought the visitors to even terms in the shootout. Mayer had previously stopped attempts from Mike Sgarbossa, Andrew Agozzino and Tyson Barrie.

Michael Bournival had scored for the Bulldogs, who opted to shoot first. Monsters goaltender Calvin Pickard stopped Brendan Gallagher, Gabriel Dumont, Patrick Holland and Stefan Chaput.

Paul Carey and Bill Thomas scored in regulation time for the Monsters, who improved to 18-15-2-1 for 39 points. Agozzino had two assists and Pickard made 33 saves for the Monsters, who were playing a third game in three days.

Gallagher had one goal and one assist and Frederic St-Denis also scored for the Bulldogs, who dropped to 12-18-1-3 for 28 points. Mayer, making a second consecutive start, faced 37 shots before a crowd of 4,537 at Copps Coliseum.

The North Division rivals were tied 1-1 in the third when St-Denis, who had twice previously bailed out Mayer on close plays in the crease, jumped into the rush and converted a pass on a two-on-one with Gallagher at 11:31. The goal was the defenceman’s third of the season.

Thomas forced overtime at 19:56. Chaput took a boarding call at 17:54 and the Monsters pressed for the equalizer with Pickard heading for the bench for an extra attacker in the final minute. Mayer made saves on Sgarbossa, Elliott, Olver, David van der Gulik and Patrick Bordeleau and, while the Bulldogs killed the penalty, Thomas slipped the puck home through traffic with four seconds remaining.

The Bulldogs could not capitalize on a double minor for high sticking issued to Cameron Gaunce at 1:24 of overtime. The Bulldogs had four shots in the extra period, but couldn’t beat Pickard, who twice denied Nathan Beaulieu and Gallagher.

The Monsters opened the scoring at 18:52 of the first period when Mayer got a piece of a Carey shot, but the puck squirted over the goal line.

At one point the Bulldogs held a 9-2 edge in first-period shots, but ended up outshooting the visitors, 13-12, through 20 minutes. Pickard got his blocker on a shot from Mike Blunden and turned aside five shots from Beaulieu. Dumont hit the post off a rush in the final seconds of the frame. The Bulldogs failed to convert on two power plays while the Monsters could not capitalize on their lone opportunity with the man advantage.

Gallagher tied the game at 10:40 of the second period, three seconds after the Bulldogs had killed a minor penalty for holding the stick issued to Blunden. Gallagher fired a wrist shot that beat Pickard high to the glove side for his 10th goal of the season, tying him with Dumont for the team lead. Mayer earned the lone assist.

The Bulldogs held a 10-7 edge in second period shots and enjoyed a great opportunity late in the frame with Pickard holding firm against Gallagher, Holland and Blunden. The Bulldogs enjoyed two power plays, the Monsters had one.

Chaput drew the ire of Sgarbossa after Chaput nailed Barrie with a clean, open-ice check in the fifth minute of the third period. Chaput was forced to defend himself against Sgarbossa and received a fighting major after wrestling the aggressor to the ice. Sgarbossa was tagged with a fighting major and an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty.

Each team had a chance on the ensuing power play. Mayer turned aside an Agozzino attempt on a shorthanded breakaway and Beaulieu hammered a shot off the post to Pickard’s left.

The Bulldogs were without Greg Pateryn, Antoine Corbin, Joonas Nattinen, Aaron Palushaj, Blake Geoffrion and Alexander Avtsin. Lake Erie scratched Kieran Millan, Barry Goers, Geoff Walker, Bryan Lerg, Sean Sullivan, Joey Hishon and Luke Walker.

The Bulldogs host the Toronto Marlies at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday (Jan. 8).

BULLDOGS NOTEBOOK

The Bulldogs were 0-for-6 on the power play. Lake Erie was 0-for-5

The Bulldogs are 7-6-1-1 at home while the Monsters are 10-8-1-0 on the road. The game was the first of six consecutive road dates for Lake Erie. The Monsters don’t play at home again until they entertain Toronto on Jan. 24

The Bulldogs are 1-3 in shootouts

Beaulieu was credited with 10 shots on goal, which tied a team-high set by Gallagher in a 5-4 overtime loss to the visiting Marlies on Oct. 26

Mayer started a second consecutive game for the first time since Nov. 20 when he made 16 saves in a 3-1 road loss to the St. John’s IceCaps, three days after facing 25 shots in a 6-1 loss at Toronto

Gallagher’s goal broke a seven-game scoring drought. He had recorded one assist during that span. Gallagher’s fifth multi-point effort of the season gave him 20 points and moved him into a tie with Dumont for the team scoring lead

Mayer’s assist was the first point for a Bulldogs goaltender this season. He had two assists in 39 games last season … Zack Stortini and Gaunce squared off in a fight 1:38 into the game

Sgarbossa and Agozzino are two of the top rookie scorers in the AHL. Sgarbossa has 13 goals and 15 assists for 28 points while Agozzino, who turned 21 on Wednesday, has contributed 28 points, including 11 goals

Barrie is fourth in league scoring among defencemen with six goals and 21 assists for 27 points

The game was the fourth of eight regular-season meetings between the division rivals. The teams split the first two games, at Hamilton, with the Bulldogs winning 1-0 on a Steve Quailer power-play goal late in the third period on Dec. 11. Pickard made 17 saves in the Monsters’ 4-0 win at home on Dec. 29. The Monsters host the Bulldogs on Jan. 26.

Scoring summary

1st Period:
1. LE – Paul Carey (4) – (Andrew Agozzino) 18:52

2nd Period:
2. HAM – Brendan Gallagher (10) – (Robert Mayer) 10:40

3rd Period:
3. HAM – Frederic St-Denis (3) – (Brendan Gallagher) 11:31
4. LE – Bill Thomas (11) – (Andrew Agozzino, Thomas Pock) 19:56

Overtime:
No scoring

Shots:
Lake Erie: 12-7-18-0-1 —38
Hamilton: 13-10-8-4-0—35

Power Play:
Lake Erie: 0-for-5
Hamilton: 0-for-6

Attendance: 4,537