HAMILTON – Stephen Harper scored in overtime to lead the Hamilton Bulldogs to a 3-2 win over the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds on Sunday in a heated affair at FirstOntario Centre.
After a huge save by Charlie Graham, the Bulldogs had the momentum.
Harper streaked up the wing and ripped one past Greyhounds goalie Joseph Raaymakers at 1:56 of the extra frame to give Hamilton (2-2) its second win of the season.
The bad blood in the game started early in the first period.
Justin Lemcke, who was named captain of the Bulldogs on Saturday, was taken off the ice on a stretcher after being ridden hard into the end boards by Boris Katchouk just over five minutes into the game.
Hamilton forward Niki Petti stood up for his captain a few shifts later and fought Katchouk, delivering some big haymakers before being wrestled to the ice.
Bulldogs head coach and general manager George Burnett wasn’t very optimistic about Lemcke’s status after the game.
“I don’t really have any information,” said Burnett. “It looked bad and is bad and that’s all I really know. We’re going to try to reach out to his folks.”
After some great pressure in the Bulldogs’ zone, Jack Kopacka made it 1-0 for the Soo (3-0-2) at 12:08 of the second period when his hard wrist shot beat Graham.
Greyhounds’ forward Keigan Goetz was assessed a game misconduct after elbowing Hamilton’s Matt Luff in the head and is sure to be reviewed by the league. That penalty proved to be costly as Cole Candella tied it at one when his slapshot beat Raaymakers upstairs at 16:56.
Shortly afterwards, Hayden Verbeek was also given a five-minute major after checking Adam Laishram from behind into the boards. The Bulldogs had an extended two-man advantage but were unable to cash in further.
Matthew Strome gave the Bulldogs a 2-1 lead at 6:31of the third period, beating Raaymakers five-hole for his first goal of the season.
“Yeah, it was good,” said Strome about his goal. “It was good to get the monkey off my back there and I just can’t wait for the next game.”
WATCh THIS: The 3rd and final Strome brother ’17 #NHLDraft prospect Matt Strome @Mstrome16 scores his first #OHL goal pic.twitter.com/sWhs1RB11t
— OntarioHockeyLeague (@OHLHockey) October 4, 2015
Zachary Senyshyn tied it up 2-2 for the Greyhounds at 14:26, taking a feed from Bobby MacIntyre and snapping it past Graham.
Graham finished with 29 saves on 31 shots while Raaymakers had 22 stops on 25 shots.
Hamilton next sees action on the road against the Sarnia Sting on Friday and will be looking for its first road win of the season.
Notes: Michael Cramarossa returned to the Hamilton lineup after serving a three-game suspension that he earned in last season’s playoffs … Announced attendance was 2,818.