AHL

Dubnyk's Bulldogs debut spoiled by Arcobello, Barons

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The Canadian Press
3/7/2014 11:31:25 PM
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HAMILTON, Ont. -- A familiar face foiled Devan Dubnyk on Friday, as the Hamilton Bulldogs' newest member reacquainted himself with a starting role in net.

Mark Arcobello, a former teammate of Dubnyk's with the Edmonton Oilers, scored twice as the Oklahoma City Barons defeated the Bulldogs 2-1 in the American Hockey League.

"Having the time off that I have between games, I just tried to go out there and focus and get through the different situations while playing without worrying about doing backflips or anything," said Dubnyk.

"Unfortunately, Arcobello's a pretty good hockey player and he made a nice shot on the first goal."

Richard Bachman made 23 saves for the Barons (27-24-8).

Nathan Beaulieu had the lone goal for the Bulldogs (25-26-5), while Dubnyk stopped 38 shots in a losing effort.

The former Edmonton Oiler made the start for the Bulldogs in his first game with the club since being traded from Nashville on the afternoon of Wednesday's NHL trade deadline.

He admitted that he was prepared for the move that sent him to his third organization this season.

"It's been a little bit crazy," said Dubnyk. "As the weeks went by after the Olympic break, I started to see the writing on the wall a little bit. You know that a move is coming up, so you have some time to prepare, and I'm happy that I was acquired by a team that wants me.

"Going to Nashville was a new experience, but that was only a month and a half ago, so the suitcase was still packed. You learn how to move, and the guys are pretty welcoming in there. You have to earn respect whenever you're in a new group. You do that each day, and it's been good so far."

Hamilton head coach Sylvain Lefebvre was pleased with his new goaltender's first showing.

"(Dubnyk) played great," he said. "He was a calming presence in the net and looked in control."

Dubnyk didn't have to wait long before being forced into action, facing three shots in the first 30 seconds of the game.

The Bulldogs nearly gave him some early goal support, as the combination of Louis Leblanc and Gabriel Dumont had a flurry of opportunities in close that Bachman knocked aside just over three minutes into the first period.

That breakthrough did come, however, after a series of penalties left Hamilton with a 4-on-3 power play midway through the period.

The penalty had just expired when Greg Pateryn threaded a pass to his partner Beaulieu at the right faceoff dot, and he quickly snapped a high wrist shot past Bachman at the near post at 6:19.

Hamilton's lead was short-lived, as a mistake in the defensive end gifted an easy chance to Arcobello at 10:05 of the first.

An unexpected bounce behind Dubnyk's net brought the puck out front, where the stunned Dumont could do little but nudge it forward. There, Arcobello was waiting and raced into the slot before lifting a shot off the crossbar and past Dubnyk.

Leblanc had a golden opportunity to score when he intercepted a loose puck in the neutral zone five minutes into the second period, and streaked in alone on Bachman. But the Oklahoma City goaltender stayed with him as the winger moved to the far post and slid a weak shot wide.

The Barons punished that missed opportunity just over a minute later, when Arcobello struck for the second time on the power play.

Cycling the puck effectively with the man advantage, the Barons found Anton Lander along the right boards, who slid a cross-ice pass to the wide open Arcobello inside the left circle. He took a low, one-time shot that slipped through the pads of Dubnyk as he crossed the crease at 6:49.

The Bulldogs were left regretting another missed breakaway when Martin St. Pierre stole a pass at his defensive blue-line and skated in against Bachman 11 minutes into the second.

Two Barons defenders interfered just enough with St. Pierre to make his wrist shot a weak one, and Bachman easily kicked it aside.

Dubnyk faced 30 shots through two periods, and he was forced into several difficult saves in the period's final minutes.

A glorious chance to level the game passed the Bulldogs by with six and a half minutes to play in the third. Dumont broke loose in the Barons' zone and slid a pass to a wide open Mike Blunden in the low slot, but he was unable to get his stick on the moving puck.

Lefebvre was disappointed with his team's lacklustre offence, particularly given their desperate situation in the AHL standings, where they sat seven points back of a playoff spot entering play on Friday.

"We had some chances, but it's not enough," he said. "We're fighting for our lives right now, and that's a team that we want to keep pace with. Those were two points that we desperately needed."

Hamilton was 0-for-6 on the power play while Oklahoma City was 1-for-6.

Hamilton Bulldogs (Photo: TSN.ca)

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(Photo: TSN.ca)
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