TORONTO – The Hamilton Bulldogs dominated the Toronto Marlies on Saturday night with stifling defence and an offensive outburst from Mike Glumac and P.K. Subban.
Subban set up both of Glumac’s goals and Hamilton held Toronto to a record-low shot total as the Bulldogs beat the Marlies 2-1 in American Hockey League action.
Hamilton outshot Toronto 43-12 and set a franchise record for the fewest shots allowed in a game. The Marlies’ shot total was also a team record.
“They’re a first-place team for a reason,” said Toronto centre Andre Deveaux, who had the Marlies’ only goal.
“They’re a pretty good defensive team and it’s hard to generate chances against them.”
The Bulldogs swarmed the Marlies all night, hounding puck carriers, causing turnovers and blocking shots.
“They played their system to a ‘T,”‘ said Marlies coach Dallas Eakins. “They were very good tonight.”
After drawing a roughing penalty on Hamilton’s Eric Neilson in the first, Deveaux made the Bulldogs pay on the ensuing man advantage, tipping in a Brendan Mikkelson point shot in front of goaltender Curtis Sanford.
“That’s where I get a lot of my goals, right in front of the net on tip-ins or rebounds,” Deveaux said. “The play eventually has to go there.”
The Bulldogs got on the board early in the second on the man advantage as Glumac popped one in from the side of the goal past Marlies netminder Joey MacDonald off a pass from Subban.
A few minutes later, Subban sent Glumac in alone on MacDonald and the Bulldogs winger made no mistake, pumping a wrist shot home.
But aside from the Glumac pair, MacDonald was outstanding for the Marlies, finding shots through traffic and making several difficult saves on a very busy night.
“Maccer kept us in the game,” Deveaux said. “He stood on his head, we just couldn’t bury one for him.”
Hamilton’s most impressive display of defensive excellence came in the second period, when Toronto mustered just two shots on net, both coming on the power play.
“I would have liked to get more pucks to the net,” Eakins said. “We had enough zone time to generate some more opportunities, but we overpassed the puck. Any time we did get shots at the net, there were chances to be had.”
Added newly-acquired Marlies defenceman Keith Aulie: “We couldn’t sustain any forechecking in their end and we couldn’t generate many shots.”
Toronto finally showed signs of life midway through the third period, especially on a gritty shift by Stefano Giliati, Justin Hodgman and Ashton Rome but the Marlies couldn’t find the equalizer. MacDonald then made a key save on a hard shot from Hamilton’s Maxime Lacroix to keep the game within a goal.
A tripping penalty to the Mikkelson with just over two minutes to play snuffed out any chance of a Toronto rally.
Notes: Some members of the Marlies wore pink tape on their sticks in support of breast cancer research. … Subban ranks third in the AHL for both rookies and blue-liners with 39 points. … The Marlies also celebrated Chinese New Year during the first intermission of the game. … Bulldogs defenceman Yannick Weber played his first game since completing a stint with the NHL’s Montreal Canadiens.