For many young players, making the jump from junior hockey to the AHL can be difficult, especially during a lockout where many NHL caliber players find themselves riding the bus. Steven Quailer, Brendan Gallagher, and Michael Bournival each found a way to beat the odds and find a way on the score sheet in their debuts.
In their season opener the Bulldogs defeated the Grand Rapids Griffins in thrilling fashion. With just three minutes left in the first period Steven Quailer spotted an open Blake Geoffrion who put the puck past Tom McCollum to give the ‘Dogs a 1-0 lead. Brendan Gallagher also drew an assist on the play, for Quailer and Gallagher the assists would mark their first professional points.
With the period coming to a close Brendon Nash’s point shot deflected off Michael Bournival and finally once more off Aaron Palushaj. Palushaj would be credited with the goal and Bournival would get his first professional point. As for Brendon Nash the assist marked his first point from coming back from a torn pectoral muscle that saw him sit out the entire 2011/2012 season.
In the second period the Griffins managed to muster up a comeback. Despite only recording 4 shots on net, 2 of those shots found their way past Robert Mayer and into the back of the net. Just 46 seconds into the second, with Mitch Callahan in the box for Butt-Ending, the Griffins’ Trevor Parkes managed to score shorthanded. Just under five minutes the later the game was tied off a Francis Pare goal.
Gabriel Dumont gave the Bulldogs the lead in the third after sliding the puck past Tim McCollum at the 4:53 mark. The lead would be short lived, while the Bulldogs Darryl Boyce was sitting in the sin bin, Jeff Hoggan squared the game on the Power Play.
After overtime solved nothing the Bulldogs headed to the shootout. Robert Mayer stopped all 5 Griffin shots he faced, and Michael Bournival scored to give the Bulldogs the win.
The Bulldogs outshoot the Griffins 37-20.
The young guns had a bright showing in their Bulldogs debut. To go along with his first point Steven Quailer also had a fight in the first and Bournival’s assist and shootout winner was a memorable debut.
Another fact to note is that all three Bulldogs goal scorers have NHL experience. Geoffrion played 35 games last season, 13 with Montreal and 22 with Nashville. Palushaj logged 38 games with Les Canadiens, and Gabriel Dumont’s 3 game stint logs the total NHL experience of this match’s scoring trio up to 76.