Bulldogs complete an epic comeback to ice Rockford in overtime

Louis Leblanc had a goal and two assists in the Bulldogs 5-4 OT win - TeamShred Photography

The Hamilton Bulldogs won a wild one, 5-4 in overtime over the Rockford IceHogs at Copps Coliseum.

Louis Leblanc had one of his best games as a Bulldog and Sven Andrighetto continued to impress in his debut season as the Bulldogs scored twice in the last three minutes and again in the first minute and a half of OT to beat the IceHogs.

For the third straight game the Bulldogs surrendered the first goal, this one coming only 31 seconds into the opening frame. Poor defensive marking left Garret Ross all alone in front where he made no mistake to open the scoring.

Nick Tarnasky would get one back before the end of the first for the Dogs. Tarnasky wired a bomb from the top of the slot just after a Dogs powerplay had expired. Assists went to Nathan McIver and Leblanc.

The Bulldogs were flying in the beginning of the second but couldn't buy a goal, with multiple close calls and a couple posts.

It was Rockford who would break the tie. A pretty passing play from Pat Mullane to Jimmy Hayes on to Terry Broadhurst who went backhand-forehand to beat Dustin Tokarski.

The third period saw one of the strangest occurrences in pro hockey, the 3 on 3.

After Rockford took consecutive hooking penalties, undisciplined plays from Greg Pateryn and Maxim Macenauer led to the empty ice.

After the first Rockford penalty had expired it was Hamilton rookie Andrighetto who equalized with a perfectly placed slapper to the top corner.

However the tie did not hold for long. As has been the story through the first five games a boneheaded penalty came back to haunt the Dogs as Rockford went ahead again on a powerplay goal by Mark McNeill.

McNeill would add another to stretch the lead to two goals but it was Andrighetto again who brought the Dogs within one, and Akim Aliu would come up with his second late game heroics of the young season to tie it with only 18 seconds on the clock on a Leblanc rebound.

In overtime it was Leblanc coming up big, following his own shot and banging in the rebound to win it for Hamilton.

The win was massive for Hamilton as they showed their grit, erasing 1-0, 2-1 and 4-2 Rockford leads to complete the impressive comeback.

Leblanc had three points in the win, in what was one of his best games as a Bulldog. However Leblanc does realize that he needs to add some consistency to his game.

"I feel good but I'm not satisfied," said Leblanc. "Confidence is there now so I think I'll build off that."

For coach Sylvain Lefebvre the game was encouraging but he said the special teams still need work.

"Our special teams before tonight I thought were the reason we weren't 4-0," said Lefebvre. "But I think if we keep playing [well] five on five and improve our play with special teams we're going to be fine."

Attendance was incredibly poor in Hamilton once again. 1,990 was the announced total but the stands didn't even appear to have half of that.

Rockford goaltender Kent Simpson was named third star, forward Mark McNeill was named second star and Dogs rookie Sven Andrighetto claimed first star honours for the night.

Hamilton's next game is on Friday when they host the Rochester Americans.

Highlights of the game:

Post-game comments:

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