Going into the game I suggested this one would be tougher than yesterday night's affair where the Bulldogs scored 6 goals en route to a solid victory. I also suggested that discipline was the key to success for the Bulldogs against the Marlies since the powerplay has been an absolute killer for Toronto lately.
Zack Stortini apparently ignored this fact, taking a dumb penalty early in the game that started the Marlies' onslaught, where they scored 6 goals of their own, 3 on the PP.
Robert Mayer was anything but spectacular, setting up the goal that put the game away by sending a pass right onto the stick of Nicolas Deschamps while Mayer was out of the net. However even with the 6 goals allowed, Mayer's play doesn't let the rest of the team off the hook.
With Nathan Beaulieu out with a minor injury, Brendan Nash was back in the lineup, presumably recovered from his own minor hurts. Nash's first noticeable moment in the game was to negate a Bulldogs scoring chance by taking a penalty behind the play, setting up the second Marlies powerplay goal of the first period.
The Bulldogs were held to just 8 shots in the first two periods, including a season low of 3 in the first period. That said, looking at the AHL's game sheet I do wonder if the scorers at Ricoh messed up, as Brendan Gallagher got a shot on Scrivens on his first shift of the game, but wasn't credited with a shot on goal at all. Curious.
Aaron Palushaj provided the only offense of the game for Hamilton, scoring an unassisted shorthanded goal to tie Gallagher for the team lead with 5. Both players have 8 points after 13 games.
Nazem Kadri had a breakout game for the Marlies, getting the primary assist on 3 goals and a secondary assist on a 4th.
The best Bulldogs of the night, not exactly a huge compliment however, were Palushaj, Jarred Tinordi and Michael Bournival. Palushaj was one of just 2 Bulldogs to finish with a plus rating, he scored the lone goal, and he lead the team in shots with 3. Tinordi made several excellent defensive plays through the game, and never stopped playing hard even when there was nothing to play for. Bournival continues to excel physically and showed some of the only extended possession the Bulldogs had in the whole game on a couple inspired shifts in the third period.
The game got ugly in the second and third period, with Hamilton wracking up 87 minutes in penalties to Toronto's 44. Five 10 minute misconducts were handed out this afternoon, four of which went to the Bulldogs (Gallagher, Palushaj, Stortini and Morgan Ellis). Stortini alone sat in the box for 31 minutes, which brings up the question of why the hell he's even on this team.
Gabriel Dumont continues to be ridiculously awesome, as he decided to fight Joe Colborne, who's 9 inches taller and 43 pounds heavier. Dumont of course, kicked his ass. It's the little things in life you have to enjoy when you get speed bagged on the scoreboard.
View from the winning side at Pension Plan Puppets
Next up for Hamilton is a back-to-back with the St. John's Ice Caps on Tuesday and Wednesday. The Ice Caps are 7-7-0-0 and have a very similar stat line to the Bulldogs with 32 goals for and 44 against in 14 games. Hamilton has 30 goals and 44 against in 13 games.