12/12/2012 3:06 PM
Story By: Stuart McComish
HAMILTON, Ont. – Steve Quailer barged off the right wing to the Lake Erie Monsters’ net with two Monsters defenders in tow.
Quailer fended off defenceman Tyson Barrie and left winger David van der Gulik and sent netminder Calvin Pickard skidding to his right post while the puck slipped over the goal line unleashing a torrent of stuffed toys from a crowd of 3,945 at Copps Coliseum on Tuesday night.
Quailer’s unassisted goal, scored on the power play at 16:17 of the third period, was all the offence the Hamilton Bulldogs would need as they posted a 1-0 win in the second of eight regular-season games between the North Division rivals. The Bulldogs won a second consecutive game for the second time this season after opening the American Hockey League campaign with wins over the Grand Rapids Griffins and Toronto Marlies.
“The defenceman made a good play and jammed my stick,” said Quailer, a 23-year-old right winger in his first AHL season. “The goalie followed me and the puck just stayed and went in. It was pretty lucky , but hard work gets you good things. It’s hard to get pretty goals. I’ll take it, I was just crashing the net.
“That win was huge for us. We haven’t been able to put any wins together for a while so hopefully this is a spark. We put together 60 minutes and you want to get a win out of that. That would have been a tough game to lose.”
The goal was the fourth of the season for Quailer and his first on home ice. A third-round pick of the Montreal Canadiens in the 2008 National Hockey League Entry Draft, Quailer, who is tied with Patrick Holland and Joonas Nattinen for the team lead in game-winning goals with two, also has three assists for seven points in 21 games.
“Quailer played a strong game and deserved to get that goal,” said Bulldogs head coach Sylvain Lefebvre. “He took the puck to the net and things happened.”
The goal necessitated a 10-minute delay while the ice was cleared.
“I wanted the guys to stay focused,” said Lefebvre. “I know they were all helping with the clean up. There was a little under four minutes left and I know the guys wanted that win. The break was a good time for them to get a rest.”
The win, which broke an eight-game losing streak to the Monsters dating to a 1-0 triumph at home on November 5th, 2011, improved the Bulldogs’ record to 9-10-1-1 for 20 points. The Bulldogs’ fired 45 shots at Pickard, one off their season high set in a 3-1 road loss to the St. John’s IceCaps on November 20th. Cedric Desjardins stopped 29 shots in the Hamilton net to record his second shutout of the season.
“Both goalies were amazing, it was going to be really tough to score on either one of them,” said Quailer, who was credited with three shots on goal. “Pickard had a tougher time handling his rebounds, Cedric was able to keep his close and I think that was the big difference and why we outshot them.”
The Bulldogs now hit the road for four games against Midwest Division foes. The Bulldogs meet the Chicago Wolves on Thursday night, travel to Rockford to meet the IceHogs on Saturday night and visit the Milwaukee Admirals the following evening. The Bulldogs wrap up the road trip on Tuesday night against the Peoria Rivermen.
The team returns to Copps Coliseum for two games before its Christmas break, entertaining the IceCaps on December 21st at 7:30 p.m. and the San Antonio Rampage the following evening at 7 p.m.
BULLDOGS NOTEBOOK: The Bulldogs were 1-for-5 on the power play. The Monsters went 0-for-3 … Hamilton is 5-4-1 at home while Lake Erie is 9-7-0-0 on the road … The Bulldogs are 6-0-1-1 in one-goal games … Desjardins, who made a fourth consecutive start, made 24 saves in a 3-0 road win over the Abbotsford Heat on December 1st … The Monsters, who didn’t record a shot on goal until the 13th minute of the first, were shutout for the third time this season … The Bulldogs’ last 1-0 win was a decision over the visiting Griffins on March 4th … Defenceman Nathan Beaulieu had a three-game points run halted. He had four assists in that span. Beaulieu hit the right post with a shot from the blue line during a first-period power play … Bulldogs centre Gabriel Dumont and Monsters defenceman Sean Sullivan squared off in a first-period wrestling match with Dumont getting the takedown … Right winger Aaron Palushaj left the game at 10:01 of the second period after taking a hard check in front of the Hamilton bench from Mitchell Heard. Palushaj, who leads the Bulldogs with seven goals, returned later in the period … The Monsters won 4-1 at Hamilton on November 25th in the teams’ first meeting. The Monsters host the Bulldogs on December 29th … The Bulldogs scratched Peter Delmas, Greg Pateryn, Antoine Corbin, Zack Stortini, Blake Geoffrion and Alexander Avtsin. Lake Erie was without Barry Goers, Joey Hishon and Luke Walker.