HAMILTON, Ont. – Scoring goals has been a problem for Yannick Webber this season, but the Hamilton Bulldogs defenceman came through for his club on Tuesday night.
Webber scored 1:47 into overtime as the Bulldogs beat the Toronto Marlies 3-2 in American Hockey League play to tie a franchise record with their ninth straight win.
On the winner, Webber hit a teammate with his first shot before snapping the rebound from the faceoff circle through the legs of Marlies goalie James Reimer for just his third goal of the season.
“I do normally score a lot – I had 20 goals in junior and 16 goals here (last season). It’s just the season hasn’t been going well – more posts than goals,” said Weber.
“It was great to get the overtime winner. The first shot got blocked by our own guy, bounced back to me, and I whacked at it again. It was kind of a lucky goal.”
David Desharnais and Ryan White had the other goals for Hamilton (43-14-8), which also won nine straight in the 2002-03 season. Brock Trotter added two assists.
Toronto (25-30-11), which got goals from Alex Foster and Brendan Mikkelson, has just one win in its last five.
The Marlies were without five defencemen – Keith Aulie, Juraj Mikus, Jonas Frogren, Toddy Perry and Joey Ryan – and forward Richard Greenop because of injury, while team captain Ben Ondrus was a healthy scratch. Toronto was also missing wingers Viktor Stalberg and Jay Rosehill, who were called up to the Toronto Maple Leafs for their game against the Boston Bruins.
“We just keep playing,” Marlies coach Dallas Eakins said. “I think we’ve lost about 400 man games this year to injuries.”
Newly signed Drew Paris, who arrived in town in the afternoon from ECHL’s Gwinnett Gladiators, picked up two assists for the Marlies, but he was in the penalty box for Hamilton’s game-tying goal and on the ice for their game-winner.
Hamilton was also short-staffed, with Mathieu Carle, Max Pacioretty, Eric Neilson and Greg Stewart all nursing injuries, while forwards Ben Maxwell and Tom Pyatt were called up for the Montreal Canadiens’ game against Tampa Bay.
Toronto opened the scoring on a 5-on-3 power play when Mikkelson beat Bulldogs goalie Curtis Sanford cleanly with a low slapshot from the point five minutes into the first. The goal snapped Hamilton’s streak of 36 straight penalty kills.
Hamilton tied the score with a power-play goal of their own as Desharnais patiently skated across the crease before flipping the puck over sprawled Reimer at 15:55.
The Marlies took the lead again with less than a minute left in the second after Foster danced around a check by Bulldogs defenceman Chad Anderson before beating Sanford.
The Bulldogs answered midway through the third, after White tipped a slapshot from Andrew Benoit past Reimer on the power play.
Notes: The Marlies are 3-6 against the Bulldogs this season. The teams meet three more times this season, with the next game coming March 20 in Toronto. … The Bulldogs lead the Western Conference with 94 points, while the Marlies are sixth in North Division with 60 points, 10 points back of a playoff spot. … Hamilton called up forward Maxime Lacroix from the ECHL’s Cincinnati Cyclones, while Toronto signed Paris to a professional tryout contract.