Four different defensemen combined to score all five goals for the Hamilton Bulldogs as the Dogs downed the Hershey Bears 5-2 at Copps Coliseum in Hamilton on Monday. The win gives Hamilton a 2-1 series lead in the best-of-seven Calder Cup final series. Game 4 is Wednesday night in Hamilton.
The Dogs roared out to a 1-0 series lead with a 4-0 win at Hershey last Friday. Monday’s Game 3 was similar in some respects. As in Game 1, the Bears outshot Hamilton and had the better of the power play chances. As in Game 1, Hamilton goaltender Carey Price was tremendous in goal and made the difference in the game.
An early hooking call to Hershey’s Louis Robitaille provided the Bulldogs with a quick power play opportunity in Monday’s game. Hamilton wasted little time in jumping out in front. Robitaille had barely been seated in the box when the Bulldogs’ Danny Groulx scored with help from Matt D’Agostini and ex-Cap Mathieu Biron. The goal came at 1:20, just 16 seconds after Robitaille’s infraction.
The Bears were the recipients of the game’s next three power plays – even getting a brief two-man advantage – but were unable to cash in on either chance. Late in the first, Hamilton’s Jonathan Ferland took a high-sticking major for putting his blade to the face of Hershey’s Tomas Fleischmann. But the Bears’ Chris Bourque
was called for hooking soon afterwards, taking a bite out of what should have been a five-minute power play.
The Bears still had a couple minutes with which to work with the man advantage after Bourque returned to the ice, but it was nothing doing. Hershey’s Alexandre Giroux had to make a great backcheck on Hamilton’s Duncan Milroy to prevent a shorthanded strike from the Dogs that would have put the Bears in a two-goal first period hole.
Hamilton again put the Bears a man to the good in the period’s final minute when Andrew Archer went off for hooking. Shortly thereafter, the Dogs’ Ryan O’Byrne gave Fleischmann a forearm shiver and was called for roughing. The Bears were slated to have a two-man advantage for 1:33, some of which would carry over into the second period. But it was not to be. Alexandre Giroux was called for holding, putting the Bears up 4-on-3 with just a few seconds remaining.
Only seven seconds after Giroux sat down, Hershey’s Jakub Klepis took a feed from Fleischmann and beat Hamilton goaltender Carey Price to the short side. With just 11 seconds remaining in the period, the Bears had pulled even. Hershey outshot the Bulldogs 18-6 in the first, but needed Klepis’ late goal to go into the locker room all square.
The missed power play opportunities would come back to haunt Hershey as Cassivi was nicked for another early goal from a Hamilton defenseman. Andre Benoit scored with assists from Corey Locke and Maxim Lapierre at 1:19 to give the Bulldogs the lead once again. It was a lead they would not relinquish.
After another failed Hershey power play, O’Byrne added his second of the playoffs at 7:58 to push the Hamilton advantage to 3-1, becoming the third different Dogs defenseman to light the lamp.
Four and a half minutes later, Dan Jancevski became the fourth Bulldog defenseman to score. Jancevski’s tally came on the power play. In the final minute of the middle frame, Groulx scored another power play goal to give the Bulldogs a commanding 5-1 lead. The Dogs outshot the Bears 17-6 in the second period.
Klepis netted his second of the game at 11:21 of the third to close out the scoring. Hershey outshot Hamilton 16-6 in the third period and 40-29 on the night. The Bears were 1-for-11 with the extra man on the night while Hamilton was a very efficient 3-for-6.Notes:
Coming into this series, Hershey had suffered two losses (both in overtime) in 14 playoff games this spring. Now it has absorbed two losses in three games to the Dogs … The Bears also found themselves down 2-1 in last spring’s Calder Cup final series against Milwaukee. Hershey roared back to win three straight games in claiming its ninth Calder Cup title in that series … Hershey has managed at least 40 shots on goal in each of the first three games of the final series. Hamilton has yet to record 30 in any of the three games. The Bears lead 126-76 in the shots on goal department.