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Beaulieu scores game-winner as Bulldogs down Wild

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The Canadian Press
1/12/2014 8:06:16 PM
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HAMILTON, Ont. -- The Hamilton Bulldogs were determined to tilt the scales in their direction on Sunday after losing a close game and a lengthy winning streak a night earlier.

Nathan Beaulieu provided that push with two points, including the game-winning goal in the second period, as the Bulldogs outlasted the Iowa Wild 3-1 in the American Hockey League.

Gabriel Dumont and Nick Tarnasky also scored for the Bulldogs (19-15-4), who returned to the win column after seeing a six-game winning streak snapped on Saturday. Dustin Tokarski made 27 saves.

"Yesterday, we let the game slip away from us," said Beaulieu. "So today, we were on a mission. It was disappointing to have our streak snapped, but now we can build another."

Marc Hagel had the lone goal for the Wild (15-16-4), who completed a six-game road trip 2-2-2. Johan Gustafsson stopped 31 shots in a losing effort.

Marc Hagel's hooking penalty just 31 seconds into the game gave life to Hamilton's offence, and the Bulldogs nearly opened the scoring twice on the power play.

Moments after Sven Andrighetto was denied, Martin St. Pierre chipped an effort over Gustafsson and just outside the near post.

The Bulldogs continued to probe for the game's first goal, and Andrighetto showcased his speed with five minutes to play in the first period, sliding the puck past Wild defender Brian Connelly and rushing in alone on Gustafsson, who held firm to smother his shot.

After a strong effort on their first power play of the afternoon, the Bulldogs found the opening goal on their second, after Corbin Baldwin was whistled for hooking at 17:54 of the first period.

Dumont put his stickhandling on display, receiving a pass from St. Pierre well wide of the net but quickly whipping the puck to his forehand side before chipping a shot over the far shoulder of Gustafsson at 18:44.

Hamilton head coach Sylvain Lefebvre was encouraged by his team's strong first period, particularly coming as it did on the heels of a streak-ending loss.

"The guys regrouped and refocused today, and had a really good start," he said. "I was concerned with how we would start, given the finish yesterday. But the guys showed some maturity, and it seems like we're gaining that as a group."

A great opportunity to double the lead passed the Bulldogs by four minutes into the second period, when Louis Leblanc failed to corral a centring pass and could only manage a weak attempt on goal.

Maxime Macenauer was penalized for a trip on the play, and the Wild punished the Bulldogs' inability to finish on the ensuing power play.

Hagel, Justin Mercier and Warren Peters worked a combined rush to perfection, as Peters found Hagel with the final, cross-ice pass. He easily fired the one-time shot past the downed Tokarski at 6:13 of the second period.

Another impressive individual play paved the way for Hamilton's go-ahead goal at 12:26.

Andrighetto took control of the puck behind the Wild net, weaved through defenders to the blue-line and unleashed a low slap shot that rebounded to Beaulieu on the right. The defenceman made no mistake in firing the second effort high and past Gustafsson.

Hamilton suffered a scare when Dumont took a slap shot directly off the foot, and hobbled to the bench midway through the third. He returned to the bench minutes later, but did not play another shift.

Tarnasky added the insurance goal into the empty net with just six seconds to play.

Lefebvre saw some of the ingredients for a playoff team in his group's performance on Sunday.

"You have to be able to play the tight games," he said. "In the playoffs, that's what you face. After a loss in the playoffs, too, you have to be able to regroup. So I'm glad that we were able to do that tonight."

Hamilton Bulldogs (Photo: AHL)

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(Photo: AHL)
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