The Hamilton Bulldogs went to a shootout for the third straight game, but were unable to secure the extra point as the Niagara IceDogs won 3-2 Friday night at the Meridian Centre in St. Catharines.
It was a good opening period for the Bulldogs as Stephen Templeton (2) opened the scoring with his first goal in Black and Gold at 4:56. Isaac Nurse and Ben Gleason picked up the assists. Niki Petti (19) used Matthew Strome as a decoy on a 2-on-1 before letting go a wicked wrister to give the Bulldogs a 2-0 lead at the 11:26 mark. Matt Luff picked up the only helper on the play.
The second period wasn’t as kind to the Bulldogs as Niagara would get on the board at 4:02 as a pass went off a Bulldog defender and into the net. Niagara then tied the game 2-2 just three seconds into a power-play at 8:59.
There was no scoring in a back and forth third period and plenty of chances in overtime, but the game would be decided in a shoot-out.
Both Michael Cramarossa, playing in his 300th career OHL game, and Matt Luff were stopped in the skills competition while Akil Thomas and Kirill Makimov scored for the IceDogs.
Niagara’s goal scorers in regulation were Pavel Demin (3), and Ryan Mantha (17).
The Bulldogs out-shot Niagara through sixty-five minutes of play 56-40.
IceDogs goalie Stephen Dhillon’s 54 saves secured him 1st star honours. Ryan Mantha’s game tying goal was good enough for 2nd star. The 3rd star was Pavel Demin, who potted a goal of his own.
Hamilton’s season record is now 30-25-4-4 while on the road they’re now 16-13-1-1.
Combined with Kingston’s 3-1 home ice win over Mississauga, the Bulldogs drop back into 5th place in the Eastern Conference standings, one point behind the Frontenacs.
Meantime, the two points vaults Niagara past idle North Bay into the 8th and final Eastern Conference playoff spot.
The Bulldogs are back home to host the Peterborough Petes at FirstOntario Centre on Saturday at 7 pm.