It was a back-and-forth affair at the FirstOntario Centre in Hamilton on Wednesday night.
The Hamilton Bulldogs lost their second straight, dropping a tight contest to the Owen Sound Attack in overtime, 7-6. Nathan Staios reached the 40-point plateau with a goal and assist, a career high for him. His goal came on the power play, which was exceptionally strong for the Bulldogs, going four-for-six on the night.
“We moved the puck around good in practice and that translated to the game,” said Staios on the success of the power play. “We scored some big goals that put our team in the position to win but unfortunately we just couldn’t come out with the victory.”
The second period consisted of power play goal after power play goal. Staios’ goal came on a penalty to Owen Sound’s Mark Woolley in the second period, following three consecutive goals from Owen Sound which gave them the 3-2 lead after trailing early due to goals from Hamilton defensemen Cameron Supryka and Jake Gravelle. Hamilton’s Jan Mysak passed the puck back to L.A. Kings prospect Arthur Kaliyev on the point, who sent a beautiful one touch pass over to Staios who one-timed it over the glove of Owen Sound goaltender Mack Guzda to tie the game at three.
Owen Sound’s Deni Goure scored just over two minutes later to give the Attack back the lead, but it was short-lived. Woolley was sent back to the box for roughing, and the Bulldogs took advantage. Kaliyev walked out of the corner looking for a lane, but dropped the puck back to defenseman Kade Landry when he couldn’t get the shot off. Landry gave a quick one-touch pass over to Logan Morrison who fired it past Guzda to tie the game at four to end the second period.
Bulldogs Head Coach Vince Laise was very pleased with the performance of Hamilton’s powerplay, and touched on the different aspects that are beginning to fall into place for this young team.
“We’re winning draws, we’re winning battles, we’re getting pucks back more now and we’re moving the puck a lot faster and getting people in front,” he said. “Just basic fundamental stuff, but it was great tonight.”
The Bulldogs’ power play continued to be great in the third period, as Captain Isaac Nurse found the puck in front of the net and made a move on Guzda, scoring his 14th of the season following an end-to-end bardown goal from Attack forward Adam McMaster to tie the game, once again, at five. The Bulldogs regained the lead for the first time since the beginning of the second period late in the game, as Kaliyev came streaking up the right-wing side and took a shot on Guzda. Tag Bertuzzi was trailing close behind, picked up the rebound and lifted it over the blocker of Guzda for his 24th of the season. Less than a minute later, with just 25 seconds remaining in the game, Owen Sound’s Sergey Popov fed Kaleb Pearson on the point, who one-timed it over the glove of Hamilton goaltender Zach Roy to tie the game at six and send it to overtime.
Just 31 seconds into the extra frame, McMaster went on another incredible end-to-end run and ended the night, securing the win for Owen Sound on the road. Despite the final result, Laise was not disappointed in the effort shown from the Bulldogs.
“I loved our resiliency,” he said. “Obviously it was a back-and-forth game and I loved the way our team always competed back, and I think that’s a great sign”
The Bulldogs are back in action Friday night as they take on the Firebirds at the Dort Federal Event Center in Flint, Michigan.