Much as their American Hockey League season was a disappointment, the Hamilton Bulldogs ended regular season play on a low note, dropping a 3-1 decision to the Syracuse Crunch on Saturday (April 19).
Two Syracuse Crunch goals in a 1:10 span in the second period put the Bulldogs behind for good in front of a see-you-later crowd of 7,444. The loss left Hamilton with a 33-35-1-7 record. There will be no post-season play for Hamilton.
The evening started optimistically with Bulldogs defenceman Nathan Beaulieu opening the scoring at 8:14 of the first period when he tipped home a shot by forward Mike Blunden on a power play for his seventh goal of the season. Goaltender Dustin Tokarski had a second assist on the play.
But those two quick counters late in the second period put the Bulldogs in the back seat. On the first score, Syracuse forward Evan Rankin’s shot went off a Bulldog’s skate and past Tokarski to tie the game 1-1 at 15:07 of the middle frame. Then just over a minute later, Crunch defenceman Luke Witkowski gave his team the lead with the eventual winning goal. Goaltender Cedrick Desjardins, a former Bulldog, picked up one of the assists to add insult to injury.
Hamilton outshot Syracuse 12-6 in the final period, but an unassisted goal by Crunch forward Jonathan Marchessault provided the insurance marker. .
Tokarski made 23 saves on 26 shots in the Bulldogs while Desjardins stopped 22 of 23 shots for the Crunch.
Hamilton went 1-for-4 on the power play, while Syracuse went 0-for-3.
1. HAM – Nathan Beaulieu – 7 – (Mike Blunden, Dustin Tokarski) – 8:14 (PP)
SYR Mormina, 0:14 – Fighting, 5 min
HAM Nevins, 0:14 – Fighting, 5 min
SYR Mormina, 7:35 – Slashing, 2 min (PP)
HAM Ellis, 14:28 – Tripping, 2 min (PP)
SYR Angelidis, 19:35 – Double minor – High-sticking, 4 min (2 PP)
2. SYR – Evan Rankin – 16 – (Vladislav Namestnikov) – 15:07
3. SYR – Luke Witkowski – 2 – (Philippe Paradis, Cedrick Desjardins) – 16:17
HAM Ellis, 7:41 – Tripping, 2 min (PP)
SYR Paradis, 17:04 – Delay of game, 2 min (PP)
4. SYR – Jonathan Marchessault – 23 – (Unassisted) – 14:27
HAM Tarnasky, 12:06 – Roughing, 2 min (PP)
Syracuse: Cedrick Desjardins (W – 23 shots, 22 saves)
Hamilton: Dustin Tokarski (L – 26 shots, 23 saves)