HAMILTON, ONTARIO – Led by three-point efforts from forwards Gabriel Dumont and Patrick Holland and 28 saves by goaltender Robert Mayer, the Hamilton Bulldogs (12-10-0-3) took over sole possession of first place in the American Hockey League’s North Division with a convincing 6-2 victory over the Lake Erie Monsters (12-10-0-1) on Sunday afternoon at Copps Coliseum.
Just over five minutes into the second period, Hamilton forward Nick Tarnasky parked himself in front of the net, spun around and squeezed the puck between the legs of Lake Erie goaltender Calvin Pickard to make it a 2-0 game. The goal was Tarnasky’s team-leading eighth of the season, assisted by defenceman Darren Dietz and forward Louis Leblanc.
After Bulldogs forward Mike Blunden was handed six minutes in penalties in one sequence – two for cross checking and four for spearing – Lake Erie got on the board early on the lengthy power play when forward Bryan Lerg scored at 14:31 of the second period to narrow the ‘Dogs lead to 2-1. Defencemen Matt Hunwick and Brett Clark earned assists on the play.
Less than three minutes into the third period, Hamilton forward Patrick Holland took a pass from forward Jordan Owens and fired a one-timer past Lake Erie goaltender Calvin Pickard for his fourth goal of the season. ‘Dogs forward Joonas Nattinen earned a second assist on the play.
Just 48 seconds later, Hamilton rookie forward Stefan Fournier notched his first professional goal to give Hamilton a 4-1 lead, with assists from Dumont and defenceman Greg Pateryn.
At 9:41 of the third period, Dumont notched his second power play goal of the game to put Hamilton ahead 5-1. St. Pierre and Holland drew assists on the goal.
Leblanc extended Hamilton’s lead to 6-1 with his seventh goal of the year at 15:21 of the final frame, with an assist from forward Maxime Macenauer.
With under a minute to play, Lake Erie defenceman Markus Lauridsen made it a 6-2 game, assisted by forward Andrew Agozzino.
Mayer made 28 saves on 30 shots in the Bulldogs net in the win. Pickard made 22 saves on 28 shots for the Monsters in the loss.
The Bulldogs went 2-for-5 on the power play, while the Monsters went 1-for-6.