HAMILTON, Ontario --- The Hamilton Bulldogs scored three goals in both the first and second periods en route to an 8-1 victory over the Houston Aeros in Game 4 of the American Hockey League’s Western Conference Finals on Wednesday at Copps Coliseum.
The win by Hamilton ruined Houston’s attempt to sweep the series and forced Game 5 on Friday at Hamilton at 6:30 p.m. CST.
Aaron Palushaj potted the game-winner and delivered two assists. Palushaj’s goal at 15:09 of the first period stood up as the game-winner.
Dustin Boyd had two goals and added a pair of assists for the Bulldogs while linemate Nigel Dawes finished with two goals.
Hamilton’s Ryan Russell opened the scoring just 1:03 into the first period with his sixth playoff tally, a shorthanded goal. Houston quickly responded, tying it on Casey Wellman’s power play goal at 2:25. The goal, Wellman’s third of the postseason, was assisted by Jared Spurgeon and Marco Scandella. Spurgeon extended his assist streak to five games with the helper.
Gabriel Dumont and J.T. Wyman also scored for the Bulldogs while Goaltender Drew MacIntyre made 14 saves for the win.
Aeros goaltender Matt Hackett was saddled with the loss and made 17 saves on 22 shots. Josh Tordjman replaced Hackett after Boyd’s first goal at 13:36 of the second. Tordjman stopped 15 of 18.
BOMB DROPPINGS The Aeros scored first for the third straight game… Hamilton set an opponent playoff-high with 40 shots… Including IHL Playoff series, the Aeros are 3-2 in Game 4 situations when holding a 3-0 series lead. This was only the second Game 4 loss; the other came in 1997 against San Antonio in the second round. Houston clinched the series with a Game 5 victory.
AEROS STARTERS F – Gillies, Ortmeyer, Peters D – Spurgeon, Bagnall G - Hackett