MONTREAL - The Hamilton Bulldogs couldn't recover from two goals in quick succession.
Jean-Gabriel Pageau and Buddy Robinson scored 43 seconds apart in the second period to lead the Binghamton Senators to a 4-1 victory over the Bulldogs in American Hockey League action Friday night at the Bell Centre.
The goals came off defensive lapses - missed coverage, and a mistake by goaltender Dustin Tokarski. Pageau was left alone in the slot for the equalizer, and Robinson benefited from Tokarski's lax play for the winner.
"Those were two gifts. We gave them those goals," said Bulldogs coach Sylvain Lefebvre. "Those were glaring mistakes."
With Hamilton leading 1-0 in the second period, the Senators tied the game at 15:00 when Pageau beat Tokarski above the glove into a gaping top corner. Pageau was left unmarked just outside the crease following a defensive breakdown, and could make no mistake from such close range.
Robinson put Binghamton ahead less than a minute later, slotting home his ninth of the year past a sprawling Bulldogs goaltender. After an initial shot from the point, Tokarksi tried to smother the puck with his glove, but Senators forward Derek Grant got to it before him. Grant poked it out to a wide-open Robinson.
"It's tough to come back from that," said Lefebvre. "Those really hurt your confidence. And we're in a tough stretch right now, so confidence isn't coming easy to us. Sometimes we get discouraged too easily."
The Bulldogs (22-24-5) found no way back after the abrupt turnaround. Instead, they were kept at bay by Binghamton (33-15-4) netminder Andrew Hammond, who was in fine form. Hammond made 31 saves, including 10 in the third period, for his 17th win of the season.
Hamilton is slumping of late. They've gone 2-7-1 in their last 10 games, and have only scored four times in their last three.
"That's the story of our season so far," said forward Gabriel Dumont, who was kept off the score sheet for the fourth straight game. "We're trying to keep it simple and drive to the net, put pucks on the net, but we're having trouble finding the back of the net."
Dumont, who's played two games with the Montreal Canadiens this season, has been a Bulldog for the last four years. His struggling team has fallen to 13th in the Western Conference, and is eight points out of a playoff spot.
"It's a frustrating season with some highs, and a lot of lows," he added. "We're still looking for consistency. Tonight, we were only able to score one goal."
The goal was Nick Tarnasky's, and it opened the scoring at 4:18 of the second period. The six-foot-two Bulldogs forward used defenceman Mike Sdao as a screen to fool Hammond with a shot between the legs.
"I got a lucky bounce at the blue-line," said Tarnasky, who was on a partial breakaway when he entered the Binghamton zone. "I heard somebody yelling: 'You're on a two-on-one.' But I wasn't. I was going to pass, but there was nobody there.
"It was lucky enough that (Sdao) was coming across at the same time as I shot it. I don't think the goaltender was able to see it. That play gave us a little lift at the time."
But it was all Binghamton after their two quick strikes later in the frame.
Andre Petersson scored on a great individual effort at 12:29 of the third period to seal the victory, and Mike Hoffman added another in an empty net in the game's final two minutes. Hoffman has 10 points (five goals, five assists) in his past five games. He's second in the AHL in points with 65.
Tokarski made 18 saves.
There was little love lost between the teams to start the game.
Tarnasky and Binghamton's Darren Kramer set the tone before the encounter even got underway, exchanging words and a few slashes during the pre-game warm-up. Tarnasky and Kramer waited only seven minutes into the game to solve their differences, dropping the gloves to earn fighting majors.
Notes: The attendance at the Bell Centre was 8,771. … The Senators, Ottawa's AHL affiliate, are in first place in the East Division. They've won four games in a row. … This was the second and last matchup of the season between Hamilton and Binghamton. Tinordi scored in overtime to lead the Bulldogs to victory over the Senators on Feb. 8.