After scoring a measly 2 goals in a 3 game span the Bulldogs made some lineup changes. The first thing they did to try and generate some offense was to bring enigmatic winger Alexander Avtsin into the line up. Avtsin was a healthy scratch for the previous 11 games. Although he has only recorded 11 goals and 23 assists in his 121 game AHL career, Avtsin can provide an offensive spark, and that is exactly what he did last night.
Next they got a much-needed boost when Cedrick Desjardins was cleared to play. Desjardins’ was considered the starter going into training camp but a minor but lingering injury shelved him until now.
Next, and perhaps most controversially, they decided to break up the CHL line, consisting of Holland, Gallagher and Bournival. Bulldogs head coach, Sylvain Lefebvre, likes to roll his lines and by breaking up the trio he hoped to ignite a spark on the other lines.
How did all this turn out? If you’ve checked the box score, you’ll see it worked out well. Gallagher and Bournival each had multi-point games, while Patrick Holland struggled to set up Alain ‘Don’t call me Ham’ Berger and Zack Stortini (Even Adam Oates couldn’t turn these guys into scorers … yeah, I said Adam Oates, figured I’d be topical).
In the first period Desjadins’ gave the Dogs a spark after making a huge stop on Jake Gardiner on the power play. Gardiner had a wide open cage after receiving a cross crease pass on the Power Play, but Desjardins flashed the leather to keep it out.
The boost was temporary to say the least. A few moments later, while the Bulldogs were once again shorthanded, Matt Frattin opened the scoring by snapping a perfectly placed shot top corner. Frattin was making a debut of his own, returning after recovering from a knee surgery after he suffered a season ending injury in the AHL postseason.
The Bulldogs would tie it up at the 12:08 mark; Morgan Ellis blasted a point shot that eluded Ben Scrivens for his first career AHL goal. Frederic St-Denis and Aaron Palushaj both earned assists on the play.
At the 16:21 mark the Dog’s took the lead when Alexander Avtsin potted his first of the season. Ben Scrivens surrendered a rebound off a Darryl Boyce shot and Avtsin got two whacks at it before knocking it out of mid-air and into the net. If Avtsin continues to go to the net he’ll earn favor with Lefebvre, and likely won’t miss 11 games before his next start.
With just over 30 seconds left in the period the Bulldogs snapped a 0 for 11 powerplay streak when Brendan Gallagher converted a Michael Bournival pass to give the Bulldogs a 3-1 lead. Frederic St-Denis received the second assist, to give him two on the game.
The Bulldogs had an abysmal second period, matching their season low in shot totals, only mustering 4 shots on Scrivens, and two of them were dribblers that barely made it to the crease.
Luckily for the Dogs, they escaped the period with minimal damage. Desjardins stopped 11 of the 12 shots he faced. The one that eluded him came from Frattin who notched his second of the game.
In the third period the Marlies tied it with a deflection. 6:28 in, Jerry D’Amigo deflected a shot in front to square the game at 3.
Then the Bulldogs exploded for another 3 goals. First it was Joonas Nattinen, who converted an Alexander Avtsin rebound to give the Bulldogs a 4-3 lead. Boyce got the second assist to give him two points on the night. Then, 34 seconds later, Aaron Palushaj cycled the puck out front before firing a well-placed wrist shot top shelf for the extra insurance marker. Ellis and Bournival were both awarded assists.
Brendan Gallagher added an empty netter to seal the 6-3 win with his team leading 5th of the season. The win snaps the Dogs' 3 game losing streak, and also ended the Marlies 4 game winning streak.
For a team that only scored 2 goals in their past 3 games they really exploded last night. The following players recorded multi point games:
Brendan Gallagher (2 goals)
Morgan Ellis (1 goal 1 assist)
Alexander Avtsin (1 goal 1 assist)
Aaron Palushaj (1 goal 1 assist)
Michael Bournival (2 assists)
Fredrick St-Denis (2 assists)
Joe Stejskal (2 assists)
Darryl Boyce (2 assists)
Three Stars: 1) Alexander Avtsin 2) Brendan Gallagher 3) Matt Frattin