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Lawson and Willsie help Hamilton Bulldogs defeat Toronto Marlies 4-1

NHL.com @NHL

HAMILTON - Goaltender Nathan Lawson helped the Hamilton Bulldogs earn some redemption from their showing at the American Hockey League's Outdoor Classic.

Lawson made 19 saves and Brian Willsie scored the eventual winner as the Bulldogs defeated the Toronto Marlies 4-1 on Friday.

It was the first meeting between the team's since Toronto routed the Bulldogs 7-2 in the outdoor game in Hamilton on Saturday.

Lawson was in net for that game and came into Friday's game 0-3 versus Toronto.

"I sat down with him and issued a challenge, and he bounced back," said Bulldogs head coach Clement Jodoin. "Sometimes athletes need to be challenged in order to perform."

The goaltender had his shutout spoiled late in the third period when the puck was redirected off a teammate's skate. Marlies forward Matt Frattin was credited with the goal.

"It's sad in a way. You're always thinking about your goalie," said Jodoin. "We only gave up six scoring chances in the game, and we won so that's what matters."

Defenceman Garrett Stafford, Aaron Palushaj and forward Phil DeSimone also scored for Hamilton (19-18-5).

Frattin had the lone goal for the Marlies (23-16-5).

After a fight-filled affair at the Outdoor Classic, Jodoin preached disciplined to his players before squaring off with their rivals.

"If you want to win, if you want to have success, you have to play disciplined," he said. "We found a way and that was the most important thing."

Fresh off a one-game suspension, Stafford opened the scoring on the power play at 8:10 of the first period.

He whipped the puck from the slot top corner to beat goalie Mark Owuya's glove, extending his point streak to nine games. Willsie and Andreas Engqvist each registered an assist on the goal..

"I was wide open there," said Stafford. "We're playing better as a team, so that only helps my game."

Hamilton increased its lead in the second when Willsie fired a laser past Owuya's blocker on a feed from Frederic St.-Denis. Stafford also earned an assist.

Palushaj tallied Hamilton's third marker at 12:06 in the third. Joonas Nattinen, who replaced the injured Alexander Avtsin on the top line, and DeSimone each added an assist.

Hamilton's Ian Schultz fired the puck on net and DeSimone collected the rebound by squeezing it past Owuya with less than five minutes remaining.

The Bulldogs visit Lake Erie on Saturday before the AHL's all-star break. The Marlies meet the Bulldogs again on Feb. 11.

Notes: Hamilton leads the regular-season series with Toronto 4-2, and also picked up its fifth straight win at Copps Coliseum.

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