The Hamilton Bulldogs defeated the Hershey Bears 3-2 Saturday night at Giant Center, with three second period goals paving the way for a Hamilton road win. The Bulldogs power play entered the night holding only an 8.3% clip with the man advantage, and increased their efficiency following a second period power play goal. Cedrick Desjardins was solid in net for Hamilton, recording 21 saves on 23 shots in his fourth win of the season.
Ryan Potulny added two goals on the night, as he continues to produce following his return to the lineup. Potulny tallied a power play goal in the first period and later added a goal following a great pass from Steve Oleksy.
“I’ve actually been feeling pretty good for last four or five games,” Bears forward Ryan Potulny said. “If you just stick with it and don’t change anything they’re gonna come. “
He’s got more skill than people give him credit for,” said Potulny of Steve Oleksy. “I think we see it in practice, but that was a heck of a play he gave me. I think anyone could of scored that one.”
Hershey entered tonight’s game at a 13.3% clip on the man advantage, 24th in the AHL. The power play has been Hershey’s niche over the past few seasons, something they look to continue this year. The Bears have been entering the offensive zone better of late, along with quick and effective puck movement to increase scoring opportunities. The Bears finished one for three on the power play tonight.
Hamilton registered three goals in the second period, with Jonnas Nattinen recording the game winning goal with 2:24 remaining in the second period. Mike Blunden registered a power play goal 1:57 into the second stanza and Patrick Holland tallied his third goal of the season following the Ryan Potulny’s second goal of the game.
Hershey struggled down the stretch in the second period, only registering seven shots on goal in the frame. There seemed to back a lack of urgency, which could have translated into more quality scoring opportunities in Hershey’s favor.
“This is a game we have to learn from,” Bears defenseman Steve Oleksy said. “We made a good push at the end there and it didn’t go our way. More than likely if we continue to do that in the third when we’re down by one we’re gonna get some breaks to go our way.”
“When we play our system and do the right things were a very tough team to play against,” Potulny said. “A couple mistakes and maybe the three games [in a row], we’ve played two. But that’s not an excuse; we’re not going to use that as an excuse.”
Hershey dominated the third period, but could not find twine past Desjardins. The Bears push earned them multiple quality scoring chances, but they couldn’t push one past the Hamilton goalie.
“We pushed hard,” Potulny said. “All the guys never gave up, but these are the games where you need to find a way to win these if you want to move up in the standings. I’m proud of the guys for giving that push there, but good teams find a way to win these games.”
“Obviously us as a team we try to learn from every situation,” Oleksy said. “That’s a situation where we got to learn from. We gave it a good push there at the end, hopefully next time we learned a little bit and we can find a way to get it done.”
The Bears hit the road for two consecutive games against the St. John’s IceCaps beginning on December 11th.
1. Attendance: 9,411
2. Hershey Injury Scratches: Patrick McNeill, Garrett Stafford, Ryan Stoa, Dmitry Orlov and Jonathon Kalinski
3. Bears Healthy Scratches: Mike Carman and Alex Berry
4. Braden Holtby recorded 19 saves on 22 shots for Hershey
1. Ryan Potulny (two goals, plus one, five shots on goal)
2. Nathan Beaulieu (two assists, plus one, two shots on goal)
3. Patrick Holland (one goal, plus one, two shots on goal)