HAMILTON, Ont. – The Hamilton Bulldogs kept shooting – and this time, the result was a positive one.
Matthieu Darche had two goals as the Hamilton Bulldogs beat the Manitoba Moose 4-1 in American Hockey League action Tuesday night.
After managing just one goal on 32 shots against Manitoba netminder Cory Schneider in a 2-1 loss Monday, the Bulldogs jumped on him early in Tuesday’s game, opening the scoring just 23 seconds into the game.
“Even for great goalies, at some point the law of averages comes into play,” said Hamilton coach Guy Boucher. “We had 60-some shots (between Monday and Tuesday night’s games). So at some point, some goals are going to have to start coming in.”
Hamilton also excelled on the defensive end, allowing just 15 shots.
“This has to be one the trademarks of our team,” said Boucher. “We are full speed, intense and in-your-face, but at the same time extremely tight defensively.”
Schneider, last year’s AHL goaltender of the year, looked shaky early. He gave up a juicy rebound off Hamilton’s first shot of the game, and was out of position as Darche scored his third goal of the season.
Manitoba replied three minutes later with a power-play goal after left-winger Matt Pettinger tipped a Sergei Shirokov shot through goalie Cedrick Desjardins’ pads.
Hamilton regained the lead six minutes into the first period on their second shot of the game. Schneider coughed up the puck behind the net to Bulldogs winger J.T. Wyman. He quickly passed out in front to Ryan White, who scored in the open net.
Darche scored Hamilton’s third goal when he deflected an Andre Benoit point shot past Schneider 12 minutes into the second period.
Darche was a free-agent signing by Hamilton’s parent club, the Montreal Canadiens, in the off-season. He had 22 points in 73 games with the Tampa Bay Lightning in 2007-08 and was the leading scorer for the Portland Pirates in the AHL last season with 31 goals.
Pyatt added Hamilton’s fourth goal, crashing to the net on the power play with 35 seconds left in the game.
The win provides a bit of redemption for the Bulldogs (4-0-2) following Monday’s tough loss to the Moose (6-4-0).
“We knew that (Monday) night we played a good game,” said Darche. “It’s not time to change the way you’re playing just because the puck didn’t go in one night. We stuck with a plan, and our plan was just to put every puck on net and get rebounds.”
Like Monday night’s game, the attendance was sparse on Tuesday with a reported crowd of 2,547 at Copps Coliseum.
Both teams head out on the road for their next game. The Bulldogs head to Texas for games against San Antonio, Texas and Houston starting Oct. 23. The Moose visit Chicago on Oct. 23, when 47-year-old defender Chris Chelios is expected to make his debut for the Wolves.
Notes: The game marked Manitoba captain Mike Keane’s 300rd appearance with the Moose. The 42-year-old forward, who has won three Stanley Cups with Montreal, Colorado and Dallas, joined Manitoba in 2005 after the NHL lockout. … Hamilton right-winger Sergei Kostitsyn, who demanded a trade after being sent to the minors by the Montreal Canadiens, was one of the last Bulldogs off the ice after the pre-game skate on Tuesday. However, he was held pointless in the two-game series against Manitoba.