TORONTO - The Hamilton Bulldogs shook off a sluggish first period to beat the rival Toronto Marlies 2-1 in a shootout Sunday afternoon.
Max Pacioretty played the hero, beating Marlies goaltender Justin Pogge with a nifty deke to break a 2-2 shootout deadlock. Netminder Marc Denis got the win for Hamilton (8-2-1).
Hamilton's David Desharnais opened the scoring in the third period, curling around the right faceoff circle and firing a wrist shot at Pogge's five-hole that handcuffed the young goalie. Pogge made the initial save, but actually kicked the puck in himself while trying to squeeze his pads together.
Jeremy Williams tied the game for the Marlies (4-4-2) at 12:46 on the power play. Taking a pass from Tim Stapleton, Williams powered a slap shot from the left faceoff circle that was tipped in front by a Bulldogs defenceman, eluding Denis in the process.
With Hamilton playing its fourth game in five days and the Marlies playing their third in three, fatigue was evident in a first period marked by turnovers and undisciplined penalties. The teams traded power-play opportunities and despite some good cycling on the Marlies man-advantage, neither team could cash in.
Denis' best save came in the second period when Williams sprung Boyd Devereaux for an open look right in front of the Bulldogs goalie. Denis turned aside both Devereaux's initial shot and the rebound attempt.
A rare 4-on-3 power play for Toronto midway through the second period gave several good chances for both sides. Williams ripped a wicked wrist shot from the left faceoff circle, while a giveaway at centre ice gave Hamilton leading scorer Matt D'Agostini a shorthanded breakaway, which was turned away by Pogge.
D'Agostini was in on Hamilton's second-best chance of the period, when he fed Yanick Lehoux on a bang-bang 2-on-1 that was sharply handled by Pogge.
Notes: The Marlies wore their new third jerseys, which features mascot Duke the Dog... Toronto went five straight periods without a goal before the Williams tally, dating back to a shutout loss to Lake Erie Saturday... Hamilton defenceman Pavel Valetenko was listed as a healthy scratch despite the fact he had recently signed a contract with Moscow Dynamo of Russia's Kontinental League and is unlikely to return The two teams went a combined 1-for-15 on the power play.