Belzile makes his Bulldogs debut count

bulldogsSyracuse – Goals don’t come easy for the Hamilton Bulldogs, so scoring one and winning the game is more than a bonus for the American Hockey League team.

With Dustin Tokarski having the usually busy night in goal, stopping 40 shots on Friday (March 22) for his third shutout as a ‘Dog and sixth of the season, Alex Belzile scored his first AHL goal in his debut in a Hamilton uniform to give the visitors a 1-0 win over the Syracuse Crunch.

Tokarski turned aside 15 shots in the scoreless first period while his skating teammates could manage only four on Crunch netminder Riku Helenius.

The second period provided just as much offence as the first 20 minutes but this time Hamilton held the shooting edge, 10-9.

The Bulldogs winning goal came at 10:10 of the third stanza. Michael Bournival fed the puck in front of the net and Belzile batted it past Helenius.

The Crunch outshot the Bulldogs 40-26. Tokarski, who started the season in Syracuse, improved to 5-4-0 with a 1.54 goals against average, a .951 save percentage and three shutouts in 10 games as a ‘Dog.

Meanwhile, the Montreal Canadiens announced earlier Friday that they had recalled forward Mike Blunden from the Bulldogs.

Blunden, who has now been recalled four times by the National Hockey League team this season, played one game for Montreal against the New Jersey Devils on March 16. The 26-year-old Blunden has played 54 games for the Bulldogs in 2012-13 recording 22 points (10 goals, 12 assists) and 76 penalty minutes. He played 39 games for the Canadiens in 2011-12 and registered four points (two goals, two assists) and 27 penalty minutes.

In 91 games over six seasons in the NHL, the Toronto native has amassed eight points (four goals, four assists) and 96 penalty minutes. In 17 games during the 2011-12 season for the Bulldogs, the six-foot-four, 214-pound forward recorded eight points (three goals, five assists) and 26 penalty minutes.

Blunden has played 311 games in the AHL and has totaled 150 points (65 goals, 85 assists) and 382 penalty minutes.

Scoring summary

1st Period:
No Scoring

2nd Period:
No Scoring

3rd Period:
1. HAM – Alex Belzile (1) – (Michael Bournival, Joe Stejskal) – 10:10

Syracuse: 15-9-16—40
Hamilton: 4-10-12—26

Power Play:
Syracuse: 0-for-4
Hamilton: 0-for-3

Attendance: 5,876