Anne-Marie Sorvin-US PRESSWIRE
After a great start to the season, the young Bulldogs came crashing back to Earth tonight.
In the two games heading in to this one, the stacked Toronto Marlies had scored 1 goal on a whopping 80 shots. Eventually their luck was going to turn, and turn it did.
The Marlies ran a train on the Bulldogs to the tune of 5-0, and after it was 3-0 they didn't really put on any pressure at even strength.
Robert Mayer, who played one of the best games of his career against Toronto last night, was yanked 10:24 into the first period after getting beat 3 times on just 6 shots. None of the goals were odorous, but it was the right decision by Lefebvre.
Peter Delmas came on in relief and stopped 16/18 shots, including several highlight reel saves. However his improved goaltending didn't get the Bulldogs scoring.
As if it couldn't get any worse, Louis Leblanc fell awkwardly in a tussle with Jesse Blacker and left the game 9:04 into the second period with an injury to his right leg. Severity of the injury is unknown at this time.
It was a penalty filled affair, with each squad wracking up 45 minutes in penalties and 7 powerplays. There were times when the Bulldogs looked very good on the PP, especially Nathan Beaulieu who showed some flashes of what he could be for the Habs in the future, but Hamilton was unable to solve Jussi Rynnas.
Brendan Gallagher lead the Bulldogs in shots tonight with 5, doubling his season total. It's only a matter of time before the puck starts finding mesh for him.
The line of Aaron Palushaj, Patrick Holland and Blake Geoffrion was put together tonight and seemed to develop great chemistry as the top line, and will only get better once Holland adjusts to the AHL game and begins to make decisions a bit quicker.
The big differences tonight between the veteran laden Marlies and the young Bulldogs had a lot to do with poise. The Marlies showed great positioning and puck control all night, and the Bulldogs lacked the same. Another big difference was the effective bottom line of the Marlies, compared to the 4th line of the Bulldogs where Gabriel Dumont continues to play excellent but has no help. It may be time for Lefebvre to take a different approach there. The fighting didn't help any tonight, so maybe giving Dumont a couple skilled guys like Joonas Nattinen and Alexander Avtsin to play with would help.
The Bulldogs' next game is Tuesday against the Rochester Americans (3-2-0-0) who are the minor league affiliate of the Buffalo Sabres. The Americans play a run and gun game and have allowed 21 goals against in just 5 games.