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Hellberg strong as Admirals win second straight over Bulldogs

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The Canadian Press
2/24/2013 6:01:50 PM
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HAMILTON, Ont. -- The Hamilton Bulldogs had no shortage of chances to swing Sunday's result in their favour.

Their execution, however, left something to be desired.

Hamilton fired 25 shots at Magnus Hellberg but couldn't get any past the Milwaukee goaltender as the Admirals defeated the Bulldogs 2-0 in the American Hockey League.

"We played well defensively, and didn't give up much," said Hamilton head coach Sylvain Lefebvre. "But (the Admirals) played a good road game. They played tight defensively and they're big and tough to play against.

"They're in your face and we battled and had some chances but just couldn't put it in."

Juuso Puustinen's second-period goal stood up as the winner for the Admirals (25-21-6), who won on consecutive days after a 3-1 triumph in Toronto on Saturday. Chris Mueller added an empty-net goal.

Dustin Tokarski stopped 21 of 22 shots for the Bulldogs (20-26-6), who suffered their eighth shutout loss of the season.

Tokarski was a standout on Sunday despite the result, and Hamilton forward Steve Quailer said that the Bulldogs were disappointed.

"Everyone feels for him," said Quailer of Tokarski. "He worked so hard to keep the pucks out, but he doesn't take it personally. He's a team player."

"A loss is a loss," the goaltender added. "No matter how you play, you don't want losses. I thought that the guys played hard there tonight and we had chances, but we just couldn't capitalize on them.

"Their goalie was one save better than I was, and you just have to make that extra save."

The first scoring chance of the game fell to the Bulldogs, with Hamilton enjoying a power play after Milwaukee was penalized for too many men on the ice at 5:28 of the first.

A centring pass found an unmarked Gabriel Dumont in front of the Admirals' net, but the centre could not corral the puck and managed only a weak wrist shot that Hellberg easily turned aside.

Milwaukee began to apply pressure as the first period came to close, and Michael Liambas had the Admirals' best chance to score with two minutes to play. A scrum developed in front of Tokarski, and the puck trickled to Liambas in the low slot, who slid the puck just wide of the near post.

A Hamilton counter-attack early in the second nearly opened the scoring, as Zach Stortini received the cross-ice pass at the end of a 2-on-1 break, but he fired his wrist shot directly at Hellberg.

Puustinen broke the deadlock at 12:41 off a goalmouth scrum. The puck bounced through Tokarski's crease as Kevin Henderson batted it to Puustinen, and the winger snapped a wrist shot high and past Tokarski's outstretched glove.

The Bulldogs showed urgency early in the third and Quailer nearly levelled the game, but misfired on a cross-ice pass that found him in the slot.

Hamilton pulled the goaltender with just over a minute to play, but could not find an equalizer.

Instead, Mueller sealed the result by adding an empty-net goal with nine seconds to play.

Quailer said the Bulldogs should not be ashamed of their showing.

"We played hard I and a few other guys didn't chip in when we should have and skated the puck more than we should have," said the winger.

"But overall, we outshot them and it was a pretty even game, the kind that could have gone either way. I don't think we need to get down or upset about it."

Milwaukee Admirals (Photo: TSN)

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(Photo: TSN)
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