HAMILTON – The Hamilton Bulldogs defeated the Barrie Colts 6-5 in a Halloween matinee at FirstOntario Centre, despite a furious third period comeback.
All of the craziness began with Hamilton (6-8-0) leading 3-1 early in the frame.
Barrie (8-6-0) made it 3-2 just 2:38 into the period after Ben Gleason turned the puck over in the Hamilton zone. Kevin Labanc slid it over to Julius Nattinen who was all alone in front of the net and tucked it around Charlie Graham.
That goal didn’t discourage the Bulldogs as they regained a two-goal lead at 4:34 when Michael Cramarossa beat Mackenzie Blackwood with a shot upstairs.
Brandon Saigeon extended the Hamilton lead to 5-2 with his first goal of the season at 6:38.
Cue the (almost) comeback.
After a tripping penalty to Joseph Mizzi, Roy Radke scored his second of the game off a rebound to pull the Colts to within 5-3 at 14:39.
Rasmus Andersson brought Barrie to one back at 15:38 when his point shot found a way past Graham.
Cramarossa iced the game for Hamilton when he scored his second of the game into an empty net to make it 6-4.
But once again the Colts made it interesting as Radke completed the hat trick with a huge slapshot to make it 6-5.
Bulldogs head coach and GM George Burnett admitted that his team dodged a bullet with its effort in the final frame.
“Our first 40 minutes were outstanding, other than a couple of penalties,” said Burnett. “A real good team (Barrie) didn’t have a whole lot going. You knew they we’re going to push in the third period because that’s what good teams do.
“I thought we struggled with putting the puck in the right place and stopping and starting in our own end of the rink and we almost had to pay a big price for it.”
After a tripping penalty to Gleason, Radke made it 1-0 at 14:55 of the first with a power play marker for his eighth goal of the season.
The Bulldogs responded a few minutes later with a man-advantage of their own, courtesy of Mason Marchment to knot things up at one.
Hamilton took the lead 2-1 at 4:48 of the second. Matt Luff centred a feed to Gleason from the end boards and he beat Blackwood easily.
Gleason liked how the team bounced back after losing 2-0 to the Mississauga Steelheads last night.
“We came out strong, came out firing,” said Gleason, who finished with a goal and two assists. “Our power play was pretty hot today. We didn’t take a lot of dumb penalties until the end of the game, which hurt us a little bit.
“But we kept battling hard and had to rely on Chuckie (Charlie Graham) a couple of times and he helped us through the game.”
Graham finished the game with 23 saves, including one on a glorious scoring chance for the Colts in the dying seconds.
Graham saves the game with a last-second pad save. Bulldogs come out on top of Barrie 6-5 in the best game I’ve seen this season.
— Teri Pecoskie (@TeriatTheSpec) October 31, 2015
Bar Blacksmith of the Colts was given a five-minute major and a game misconduct for slewfooting but Hamilton was unable to capitalize despite a few good chances.
Niki Petti made it 3-1 for the Bulldogs after taking a pass off the end boards, going backhand to forehand and snapping one past Blackwood upstairs at 11:33. Gleason and Marchment drew the assists on the play.
Hamilton next sees action at home on Wednesday when they take on the Mississauga Steelheads.