Hamilton Bulldogs forward Daniel Carr notched his team-leading 23rd goal of the season, but the ‘Dogs (32-27-12-0) fell 3-1 to the Utica Comets (44-19-6-1) at Utica Memorial Auditorium on Wednesday night.
Utica forward Cory Conacher took a centring pass from forward Cal O’Reilly and opened the scoring with a wrist shot from the slot at 19:57 of the first period.
After a scoreless middle frame, Comets forward Nicklas Jensen found a loose puck at the right circle, spun and fired a shot past Bulldogs goaltender Mike Condon at 7:18 of the third period to give Utica a 2-0 lead. Forward Alex Friesen and Conacher drew assists.
Carr broke Utica goaltender Joacim Eriksson’s shutout bid at 11:53 of the third period, with an assist from forward T.J. Hensick, but that’s as close as the ‘Dogs would get. Carr’s tally padded his lead in goals among American Hockey League rookies, while Hensick’s assist extended his current point streak to six games.
With less than five minutes to play, O’Reilly’s cross-ice pass bounced off a Bulldogs defenceman and past Condon to give the Comets a 3-1 lead. Defencemen Adam Clendening and Frank Corrado had assists on the play.
Condon made 28 saves on 31 shots for the Bulldogs in the loss, while Eriksson stopped 28 of 29 shots for the Comets in the win.
Hamilton was 0-for-5 on the power play, while Utica went 0-for-2 on the man advantage.
The loss, combined with a Toronto Marlies’ win, dropped the ‘Dogs to 10th place in the Western Conference. Hamilton is now three points back of the eighth-place Milwaukee Admirals with five games to go in the regular season.
The Bulldogs will be back in action on Friday, April 10 when they’ll visit the Texas Stars at Cedar Park Center in Cedar Park, Texas at 8:30 p.m. ET. The ‘Dogs will return home for their final AHL regular season game on Fan Appreciation Night, Saturday, April 18, when they’ll host the Lake Erie Monsters at FirstOntario Centre at 7 p.m.
Source: Justin Dickie