The Hamilton Bulldogs lost their first game of 2020 Saturday night, as Sarnia beat them in a shootout.
Hamilton struck first and early. Just 23 seconds into the game, Sarnia’s Ryan Roth went to the box for tripping, and Tag Bertuzzi took advantage, picking up a rebound off the pad of Sting goalie Benjamin Gaudreau and burying it top shelf. Sarnia tied the game soon after, as Ty Voit fed Jacob Perreault in front and he beat Hamilton goalie Zach Roy.
Sarnia had a great opportunity to take the lead when Hamilton’s Kade Landry was sent to the box with a double minor for tripping and unsportsmanlike conduct. But as you want your goalie to be, Roy was the Bulldogs’ best penalty killer as they were able to keep the Sting off the board for all four minutes of the penalty.
Roy continued to shine in the first, making a huge glove save on Sarnia’s Ryan McGregor to keep the game tied at one, with Hamilton leading in shots 16-6.
Hamilton came out looking to retake the lead in the second. Early on, Gavin White redirected a shot from in front of a wide open Sarnia net and finished it off for his first career Ontario Hockey League goal to give the Bulldogs the one-goal lead once again. But once again, Sarnia came back, knotting the game at two as Perreault fed Voit on a 2-on-1 and he beat Roy glove side. Late in the frame, Hamilton had a few great chances to regain the lead but Gaudreau shut the door. At the 18:30 mark, Sarnia’s Sam Bitten got his ninth of the season, sending Hamilton to the room trailing by one, looking to bounce back in the third.
Sarnia came out quick for the third, with two early breaks with the chance to extend the Sting lead to two, but Hamilton’s Roy shut the door to keep the Bulldogs within striking distance. Then the momentum shifted Hamilton’s way with a flurry of chances to tie the game. Finally, Hamilton got a break when Jake Gravelle came in from the point to bury a big rebound and tie the game at three late. The third period ended in a tie — this one would need extra time to solve it.
Despite power plays for both sides in overtime — Sarnia took a penalty late in the third to start overtime a man short, but after killing that Hamilton took back-to-back penalties with captain Isaac Nurse being sent off for interference and Bertuzzi for tripping — neither team was able to capitalize on their opportunities, sending the game to a shootout to determine the winner.
Gaudreau shut the door on the three Bulldog’s shooters, which was one better than Roy. Sarnia’s Perreault scored the only goal in the shootout, giving the Sting a 4-3 win.
The Bulldogs are back in action on Friday at the Leon’s Centre in Kingston to take on the Frontenacs.