12/27/2012 2:03 PM
Story By: Stuart McComish
TORONTO – Sylvain Lefebvre was in no mood to mince words.
Lefebvre, head coach of the Hamilton Bulldogs, had just watched his team lose 3-2 to the Toronto Marlies in an American Hockey League Boxing Day matinee before a sold-out crowd 18,800 at Air Canada Centre that probably wasn’t as close as the scoreboard indicated.
The Bulldogs were outshot 33-21 and only goals by defencemen Frederic St-Denis and Nathan Beaulieu in the last two minutes of the third period salvaged anything for the visitors, who lost a fifth consecutive game.
“It’s a team game and we have to play as a team,” said Lefebvre. “I’m tired of hearing that we are a young team. We’re a third of the way into the season right now and it doesn’t matter who you play against. We’re trying to develop winners, we’re not just trying to develop one player for the NHL.
“We’re trying to develop a winning attitude and we are trying to do that as a group. If we can do that some guys will get rewarded and will go play in the NHL. As a group we have to be on the same page and pull in the same direction.”
Said rookie defenceman Jarred Tinordi: “The Marlies are a good team. We knew it was going to be a battle coming in to play them at the Air Canada Centre. I thought we had moments where we played well and showed some good things.”
The Bulldogs ran into penalty trouble for a second straight game. The Marlies went 2-for-7 with the man advantage and spent all but nine seconds of the last five minutes of the second period on the power play after Zack Stortini was assessed a match penalty for checking to the head and Antoine Corbin was sent off for roughing. The Bulldogs allowed two power-play goals in six shorthanded situations in a 5-2 loss to the visiting San Antonio Rampage on Saturday night.
“We need to address that as a team,” said Tinordi, who was whistled for two minor penalties, the first of which the Marlies capitalized on to take a 2-0 lead in the first period. “We have taken too many penalties in the last couple of games we have played. That’s something we all need to be better at.”
The Bulldogs, 10-15-1-2, host the St. John’s IceCaps at 7:30 p.m. Friday as they navigate a stretch of their schedule that sees them play seven games in 11 days. The Bulldogs will visit the Lake Erie Monsters at 7:30 p.m. Saturday and the Rochester Americans for a New Year’s Eve matinee at 3:05 p.m. Monday.
The Bulldogs split two games with the IceCaps at St. John’s in November, but lost a 2-1 decision to the IceCaps at Copps Coliseum last Friday night. The Bulldogs’ losing skid is their longest since they lost five in a row from November 18th to December 2nd, 2011.
“It’s one day at a time for us right now,” said Lefebvre. “We have to focus on the process and realize what’s at stake here. We can’t look at the result, we need to focus on the process. We have to be ready to work and battle and go hard every night.”
Tinordi said the Bulldogs would have to make the most of the limited practice time they have with a busy schedule ahead. The Bulldogs have only five goals over their last three games after producing `15 over a recent four-game road swing through the Midwest Division.
“We really need to look at a lot of things in practice. I am sure we will watch a lot of video and try and iron out some things that are giving us trouble and things we are not doing so well. We were putting up some goals for a while there and that’s something we have to work at.”
Tinordi was recently named as an assistant captain joining St-Denis and veteran right winger Mike Blunden.
“It’s an honour to be chosen as an assistant,” said Tinordi, who captained the London Knights to an Ontario Hockey League championship last season. “I don’t really feel too much pressure. I am still vocal in the dressing room which is what I was doing before I got the ‘A’. The coaches have shown a lot of confidence in me.”
The St. John’s game will be telecast nationally on all Sportsnet regional channels and available on TVA Sports.