Bulldogs fall in shootout to defending champs

Robert Mayer was solid for Hamilton but it wasn't enough - Bruce Bennett

The Hamilton Bulldogs held 1-0 and 2-1 leads but it wasn't enough as they fell 4-3 to the defending Calder Cup Champions, the Grand Rapids Griffins.

The Hamilton Bulldogs were looking to start out the season with two straight wins for the third year in a row but instead had to settle for a single point losing 4-3 in the shooout.

The Bulldogs came out sluggish, but managed to weather the initial Griffins storm before opening the scoring on a powerplay goal by Greg Pateryn, his second of the season from Magnus Nygren and Martin St. Pierre.

But just like in game one of the season the Dogs couldn't hold the lead and after Louis LeBlanc nearly scored on a breakaway and the follow up chance it was the Griffins going the other way with Gustav Nyquist notching the goal on a weak backhander that beat Dogs' goalie Robert Mayer.

The Bulldogs would regain the lead, this time on a goal by Sven Andrighetto, his first goal as a North American professional.Assists went to Pateryn and Patrick Holland.

But the story of the game really was the undisciplined play of the Bulldogs. After taking six penalties against St. John's in the home opener the Bulldogs continued to parade to the box, finishing the game with nine trips to the sin bin.

Despite starting the game with a perfect six for six on the penalty kill, Grand Rapids managed to finally solve the puzzle notching two straight goals with the man advantage, Calle Jarnkrok and Jeff Hoggan with the markers.

The Griffins managed to hold the 3-2 lead for most of the third period and Petr Mrazek was brilliant but Akim Aliu managed to tie the game with only 10 seconds remaining to secure at least a point for the Dogs. Andrighetto and St. Pierre had the assists on the goal.

Overtime solved nothing, and in the shootout Mrazek stopped all five while Nyquist managed to slip the puck past Mayer to seal the win for the Griffins.

For the Bulldogs it's not the ideal start to the season but it's pretty close. Taking three of four points from an opening weekend back to back is great but there are definite causes for concern.

The biggest problem is the penalties. Through two games the Dogs have gone to the box 15 times, a number that is unacceptable if the team intends to compete for a playoff spot this season.

Attendance was once again sparse as only 3,416 people attended the game.

Jeff Hoggan was named third star, Robert Mayer second star and Gustav Nyquist claimed the first star.

The Bulldogs season continues next Friday when they visit Lake Erie, their next home game is October 22nd against Rockford.

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