Junior club drops two straight to Burlington
The Hamilton Red Wings saved their best play of the young season for the third period on Monday night, but it wasn’t enough as the Red Wings fell 5-3 to the Burlington Cougars in their home-opener at the Dave Andreychuk-Mountain Arena.
Two nights earlier, the Cougars beat the Red Wings 5-1 in Burlington.
“In the second and third period I thought we outplayed them,” said Red Wings head coach Dan Cameron. “We peppered their goalie, we had good opportunities.”
The Red Wings had difficulty with the Cougars fast breakout style in the early going as Burlington forwards frequently got in behind the defence.
Shane Conacher and Austin Kosack on the power play gave the visitors a 2-0 lead after the first period.
The opening frame also saw Tyler VanKleef hit the goal post on a penalty shot that was awarded after the Burlington forward was pulled down by Red Wings defenceman and captain Spencer Hyman while breaking in on the Hamilton net.
Hyman was shaken up by an elbow to the head late in the period and did not return to the game.
Cooper Richards with a short-handed marker for Burlington scored the only goal of the second period.
The Red Wings power play finally showed signs of life in the third period when Liam Bird and Troy Crema scored power play goals less than two minutes apart early in the final frame to make it a 3-2 score for Burlington.
The Cougars made it a two-goal lead again when Conacher notched his second goal of the game near the midway mark of the period.
Hamilton answered that with a short-handed goal by Adam Brady with just under seven minutes to play.
The Red Wings pressed the Cougars’ goal in the final minutes but were unable to find the back of the net.
Burlington finished the scoring with an empty net goal a split second before the buzzer sounded to end the game.
Jason Pucciarelli was outstanding in the Hamilton net, stopping 38 of 41 shots, including several big saves on breakaways.
Alex Murray was solid in the Cougars’ goal with 27 saves.
Hamilton was two-for-nine on the power play while Burlington was one-for-five.
The Red Wings have a week to practice before hosting Oakville next Monday, 7:30 p.m. at the Dave Andreychuk-Mountain Arena.