HAMILTON, Ontario – Jordan Maletta had two goals for the Niagara IceDogs (19-13-3-2), including the game winner with less than three minutes to play, as the Hamilton Bulldogs (14-21-3-0) fell by a score of 5-3.
Mere hours after making a trade with each other centred around Bulldogs 5th year forward Stephen Harper, the Bulldogs and IceDogs would get together for a Wednesday night tilt.
It would be the IceDogs that would get off to a quick start in this one as Johnny Corneil would tap home a centering pass from Josh Wesley at 8:26 of the first period. Josh Ho-Sang would also get an assist on the The IceDogs would get a second goal at 16:42 when Graham Knott wired a wrist shot past Bulldogs starter Connor Hicks. Hamilton native Hayden Davis and Aaron Haydon would draw the assists on Knott’s 6th goal Niagara would make it 3-0 before the period was out as, with Wesley in the box for interference, the IceDogs would break into the Hamilton zone on a 2-on-1 and it would be Maletta that would finish the break by putting the puck past Hicks. Vince Dunn and Haydon would get the assists on the shorthanded marker at 19:42.
Niagara would outshoot Hamilton 12-5 in the first period and lead 3-0 heading into the second.
The Bulldogs would claw back into this one and it would be Niki Petti getting Hamilton on the board first. The 19 year old would use his strength to his advantage by powering his way past a Niagara defender in the slot and snapping his 11th of the season past IceDogs starter Stephen Dhillon. Michael Cramarossa and Connor Walters would register the assists at 12:22.
Mason Marchment would draw the Bulldogs to within one as he would tip home a Walter’s point shot for his th goal of the year. Birthday boy Matthew Strome had the other assist on the goal at 17:57.
Niagara would enter the third ahead 25-20 on the shot clock and 3-2 on the scoresheet.
Hamilton would start the third battling hard for the equalizer and would be rewarded for their efforts at 7:51 as Marchment, with his second of the game, would break in all alone and would put the puck home while falling down to tie the game up 3-3.
The game looked as if it was headed into overtime before a cross ice pass from Maletta hit a Bulldogs defender’s stick in front and bounced home. The game winning goal would come at 17:43 and be assisted by Ho-Sang and Ryan Mantha.
Mantha would salt this one away with an empty net goal, his fourth of the year, at 19:01 unassisted.
Dhillon would make 26 saves in the win for Niagara, while Hicks would make 29 saves in the loss.
With Files from Hamilton Bulldogs.