by EP31, AllHabs.net

(Photo by hamiltonbulldogs.com)

You already know that the Bulldogs are North Division champions after beating the Manitoba Moose (really, one day these title/headline things will stop giving away the rest of these posts). But I’m going to pretend that you want to know every detail of how they won this series anyway.

So. We last left our amazingly awesome Bulldogs leaving for Mooseville aka Winnipeg with a 2-0 series lead.

Hamilton Bulldogs @ Manitoba Moose, May 3rd

This is the game wherein I try to keep calm and relatively collected as I recount the part of the tale where our amazingly awesome Bulldogs came up against the evil monster that is the referees. Okay, seriously….

Once again, the Moose opened the scoring. Alexandre Bolduc scored late in the first period. Again, their lead didn’t last long as Ian Schultz tied it up a minute and something later. The second period started off well for the Bulldogs. Aaron Palushaj put the visitors up 2-1 and all was right with the world until….. BOOM. Jordan Schroeder tied the game for the Moose with 35 seconds left in the period.

With just two seconds left, Ryan White was assessed an interference penalty.  You’d like that just with two seconds left in the period, it’d remain tied, right? Wrong. Sergei Shirokov shot the puck past Drew MacIntyre. The problem is here that the light signalling the end of the period had already gone on and thus, it should not have counted as a goal. Well, apparently the refs missed the light going on and because there is no video review in the AHL, the goal was good.

ANYWAY, moving right along… Marco Rosa put the Moose up 4-2 on an early power play. Gabriel Dumont answered back almost right away making it 4-3. It would remain like that until late in the third when Jason Jaffray restored the Moose’s two goal lead. Ryan White’s power play goal with just over 30 seconds left in the game was almost not counted because the refs didn’t seem to notice it go in the net (this despite the fact that the goal light was practically blinding everyone at MTS Center). After a while, the refs finally ruled it a goal. The Bulldogs ran out of time to try to tie the game up, however, and the Moose skated away with a 5-4 win.

Hamilton Bulldogs @ Manitoba Moose, May 4th

There’s one name I haven’t really mentioned a lot so far but from here on end, we’re going to hear a LOT about him. Background first though: when Cory Schneider left Mooseville to take over the position of Luongo’s Full-time Backup, I was overjoyed. Schneider was way too good to be in the AHL and it was high time he left.

Unfortunately, he was replaced by someone named Eddie Lack. Long story short, Lack took over Schneider’s role as “yet another Moose goalie who’s main function was to annoy the heck out of everyone else because he was so flipping good”. Despite firing 13 shots at Lack in the first period, the Bulldogs failed to score (on the other end, MacIntyre only faced 7 shots and he stopped all of them as well).

It took a power play goal from Dumont to finally get the Bulldogs on the scoreboard early in the second period.  The score would remain 1-0 despite the fact that the Bulldogs threw everything but the kitchen sink at Lack and I bet if they had throw that at him, he would’ve stopped it too. Of course when you dont’ get that extra insurance goal, bad things can happen. Bad things like Guillaume Desbiens tying the game up late in the third period.

Considering the two killer over times from the last series between these two, it was only fitting that they would have at least one OT this year. Desbiens was given a chance to win the game for the Moose early in OT when he was awarded a penalty shot. Yes, a penalty shot in OT of a playoff game. Luckily for us Bulldogs fans, he lost control of the puck on the way to the net. Phew.  The first OT had the two teams still deadlocked at 1 and it was time to head to another OT! Yay! (not).

Once again, the Bulldogs out-shot the Moosies. Once again, Eddie Lack stopped everything. And then disaster. A rare breakdown in defense left Mario Bliznak with the puck and he ripped it past MacIntyre. Final score 2-1 Moose. Series now tied at 2.

Hamilton Bulldogs @ Manitoba Moose, May 6th

Seems like only last series I was saying that it’s never a good thing if you go 2-0 and then proceed to lose the next 3 on the road. Well, I’m going to say it again: Don’t lose 3 games in a row after being up 2-0. Things started off for the Bulldogs. Nigel Dawes scored just one minute in on a early power play chance. It was the first time in forever, that the Bulldogs had scored first in a game.

Jimmy Bonneau of all people, scored in the second period to give the visitors a 2-0 lead. Rosa got one back for the Moose ten minutes later on a power play cutting the Bulldogs lead in half. Ryan Russell scored to make it 3-1. The goal was not without a tad bit of controversy. Before Russell scored, J.T. Wyman knocked Lack down, creating a wide open net for Russell to score in. It probably shouldn’t have been a goal, but at least the Bulldogs and the Moose were now even in the “goals that weren’t really goals but where still awarded to the other team” category.

Whether or not Russell’s goal should’ve counted, it didn’t matter. White scored again making it 4-1 and Dawes put the puck into the empty net (this time Lack willingly left his net to skate to the bench as opposed to being knocked out of his net). The Moose didn’t take too kindly to losing.  The Bulldogs happily hopped aboard their plane with a 5-1 win and a chance to put the Moose away at home in game six.

Hamilton Bulldogs vs Manitoba Moose, May 8th

Well… let’s just say I don’t think the Bulldogs all made it back from Winnipeg. That’s the only way explain how they played like a bunch of zombies throughout a game that they could’ve put away the Moose. I think the game’s one and only goal pretty much summed up the entire game: Bulldogs had a power play early in the second period and guess who scores? A Moose! A brutal turnover by Dawes caused Bolduc to take the puck, skate down the other end of the rink and score on MacIntyre. Eww.

No point in dwelling on this game. The Moose played a good game, the Bulldogs didn’t and we were going to a game 7.

Hamilton Bulldogs vs Manitoba Moose, May 9th

There’s pretty much nothing I dislike more than a game 7. Considering I’ve spent the last year trying to put away last year’s Game 7 in the conference finals, that saw the Bulldogs lose a heart breaker to the Texas Stars, I was not looking forward to prospect of another heart breaker this year. Game 7s are stressful as heck and they’re just not fun whatsoever.

Thankfully, the Bulldogs came out with a lot more jump than in game six. Unfortunately, Lack was also on top of his game. The home team couldn’t put the puck past him. Not scoring is bad enough. But not scoring AND giving up a power play goal against? Yeah. Cue despair. Thanks for nothing to Sergei Shirokov who tipped the puck to give the Moose a 1-0 lead after 1.

The second period can be summed up in four words: Lack stops the puck. (or really, it was more like “Lack stops the puck. And he stops it again. And again. And again. And….etc, etc, etc). Just when it was looking like the Bulldogs were never going to score again, Dawes scored at 6:24 of the third period. Hurray! Of course after that goal we were back to a regularly scheduled program of “Lack stops the puck”.

With all these saves going on, you know where this was going. Yup. Over time….. I know I said there was nothing I disliked more than a game 7. Well, I lied. OT in game 7 is worse. Waaaaay worse.

Overtime was about ten times more stressful than any of the first three periods put together. Both teams had a lot of really good scoring chances. The Moose must have rang the puck off the posts or the crossbar at least 3 times, while the Bulldogs had two excellent chances after Lack got way out of position. Neither team could score, however, which  meant… more over time! Cue sobbing.

I bet you can guess what happened in the second OT? If you guessed “Lack stops everything and so did MacIntyre and obviously that meant that the score was still 1-1 after a million hours of play” then you are the winner! Yes. You heard that right. We were going to yet another OT. Needless to say, fans from both teams were curled up in balls on the floor, praying for an end to this game. We didn’t need to wait long. Just six seconds into the third OT Dustin Boyd put the puck past Lack. YAY!!!!

I want to give major props go to Eddie Lack who stopped 55 shots in the loss (MacIntyre on the other hand, only faced 30 shots). Lack was nothing short of fantastic and Bulldogs fans can only hope he gets a cold or something every time he’ll play them next season so they’ll have a chance of beating him.

Back to the Bulldogs now…. With the victory (the game was also the longest game 7 in AHL history), the Bulldogs have booked a place in the western conference finals for the second straight year. They will meet the Houston Aeros who advanced following their game 7 win over the Milwaukee Admirals. Game 1 starts on Friday in Houston.

4 COMMENTS

  1. What is the reason, Pacioretty, Weber and Desharnais are not playing in Calder playoffs? Habs think there is no value to them playing??
    They said Pacioretty was ready for 2nd round of NHL playoffs, so what gives?

    • There’s a simple explanation, Don. Player eligibility for the AHL playoffs is determined by a “Clear Day roster.” This year teams had to submit their 22-man playoff roster by March 8, 2011 . (Coincidentally that is also the date that Zdeno Chara delivered his vicious hit on Max Pacioretty.) The only Montreal Canadiens roster player included on the Bulldogs Clear Day list was Ryan White.

      • thanks, didnt know that and too bad.. Weber, Desharnais and Pacioretty would surely benefit from another couple weeks of playoff hockey before summer.

  2. […] Moose Racing XCR Backpack – ATV – Motorcycle Superstore Moose Racing Light Wiring Harness – Dirt Bike Motocross … All Things Moose XIII Photograph by John Blumenkamp – All Things … Bulldogs Eliminate Moose, Will Face Aeros | All HabsDescription : The second period started off well for the Bulldogs. Aaron Palushaj put the visitors up 2-1 and all was right with the world until….. BOOM. Jordan Schroeder tied the game for the Moose with 35 seconds left in the period. …http://www.allhabs.net/game-re .. […]

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