HAMILTON – The struggling Hamilton Bulldogs power play came alive in a big way.
Brock Trotter had two goals and an assist Saturday as the Hamilton Bulldogs hammered the Manitoba Moose 8-2 to extend their first-round American Hockey League playoff series lead to 2-0.
The Bulldogs power play was struggling heading into the game, but came alive with four goals on eight attempts.
David Desharnais, P.K. Subban, Mike Glumac and Alex Henry also scored on the man advantage for Hamilton. Ryan Russell and J.T. Wyman also had goals while Cedrick Desjardins stopped 28 shots.
“They made some adjustments on their power play that we just couldn’t answer, and it kind of snowballed from there,” said Moose goaltender Cory Schneider. “They simplified it. They were getting pucks through to the net, and getting screens and traffic.”
Dan Sexton and Mario Bliznak replied for the Moose.
Game 3 of the series will be played Monday night in Winnipeg.
A pair of power-play goals in the second period helped Hamilton pull away on Saturday. Subban beat Schneider during a 5-on-3 at 8:50 and Glumac followed at 10:57 to make it 4-1 Hamilton.
Moose coach Scott Arniel took the officiating to task, upset that his team was down two men at a pivotal point in the game.
“The referee calls an interference penalty on Ramsey and the guy took a dive, and on a five-on-four he calls a hooking infraction on a play that had nothing to do with a scoring chance,” Arniel said. “In my opinion, the referee dropped the ball right there. After that, we weren’t very good or disciplined, and took a lot of stupid penalties. But we were in a heck of a hockey game when it was 2-1, and the referee changed the outcome.”
After allowing a fifth goal to Trotter, Schneider was pulled in favour of backup Daren Machesney. The Manitoba goalies combined 29 saves on 37 shots.
“I need to be great to help us win this series, and I obviously wasn’t that tonight,” said Schneider. “I have to come up with ways to come up with big saves at timely moments of the game.”
The game was a stark contrast to the defensive battle in game one, where the teams combined for only 39 shots and Hamilton won 2-0.
“We didn’t want to allow two goals, and we did,” said Hamilton coach Guy Boucher. “Yeah, we did get eight goals. But our first goal I wasn’t happy about, and that second goal we didn’t take the right guys. I’m not looking at the eight goals we got ? I’m looking at the two goals we allowed.”
Note: Bulldogs defenceman Yannick Weber left the game early in the second period and did not return after taking a hard, clean hit from Aaron Volpatti … Entering the game, Hamilton had scored on just one of their previous 33 power-play attempts.