Hamilton, ON – The Adirondack Flames earned a massive two points in the standings as they defeated the Hamilton Bulldogs, 5-4 in overtime, on Wednesday evening at the FirstOntario Centre.
Taylor Vause was the hero with the overtime winner, while center Max Reinhart led the way offensively two goals and an assist. Mark Cundari and Garnet Hathaway also scored for the Flames, who moved to within two points of eighth place Texas in the Western Conference standings. Brad Thiessen earned the victory with 41 saves.
The visitors opened the scoring just 2:29 into the game as winger Garnet Hathaway buried a Max Reinhart feed to make it 1-0 for the Flames. A tenacious forecheck from winger David Wolf jarred the puck free to Reinhart, who quickly fed Hathaway in front for the goal. The tally was the 12th of the season for the Brown University graduate, with linemates Reinhart and Wolf collecting helpers on the play.
The Bulldogs capitalized on two consecutive John Ramage penalties to turn the tide and make it 2-1. Just 49 seconds into the second period, the Bulldogs utilized a fortunate bounce in front for their first tally, put home in front by winger Eric Tangradi. A shot on net from Drayson Bowman took an odd bounce that confused everyone except for Tangradi, who banged it into the net to knot the score at one. Forward T.J. Hensick also collected an assist on the play, his fifth straight game with a point.
Hamilton’s second power-play goal came less than two minutes later, again off of a hook-up from Tangradi and Bowman. Tangradi took a feed up ice from Hensick and went in two-on-one with Bowman. Tangradi fed his teammate cross ice and Bowman buried for the goal, his twelfth of the season as Hensick collected his second assist of the night, his seventh over his past five games.
Adirondack came right back, however, as Mark Cundari remained red hot with a breakaway goal at the 6:48 mark of the second period. Center Mathieu Tousignant forced a turnover at the Hamilton blueline and Cundari collected the puck, skated in on Hamilton netminder Mike Condon and went forehand to backhand for the goal. The goal give Cundari a three-game goal scoring streak and five game point streak, and marked the ninth point for the blueliner over his past eight games.
The Flames regained the lead with 8:37 left in the middle stanza as center Max Reinhart redirected home a blast from the point by defenseman Nolan Yonkman to make it 3-2 for Adirondack. After Taylor Vause fed Yonkman, the Flames captain fired a shot through traffic, which Reinhart deflected home for his ninth of the season. The assist for Yonkman was his seventh of the season and the helper was Vause’s first point since he returned from Colorado.
Reinhart doubled his pleasure with just 2:22 left in the second, as he took a feed from Hathaway and rifled a wrist shot past Condon to make it 4-2 Adirondack. The British Columbia native tied a career high with his second goal and third point of the evening, while Hathaway completed his fourth multi-point game of the season with the lone helper.
Hamilton made it a game of things with 8:33 left in the third, as Gabriel Dumont buried a rebound past Brad Thiessen to cut the Adirondack lead to 4-3. Christian Thomas fed the puck cross ice to Michael Bournival who appeared to beat Thiessen, but the puck hit the crossbar and ricocheted directly to Dumont, who put it home to bring his team within one.
The Bulldogs then tied the game late as the AHL Player of the Month for February, Daniel Carr, put a rebound past Thiessen to knot the score at four. Sven Andrighetto put a pinpoint feed onto the stick of Charles Hudon for a breakaway, which was denied by Thiessen, but Carr was on hand to go top shelf for the goal. The goal, the 20th of the season for Carr knotted the score late for Hamilton and earned the Bulldogs a point.
With just 1:41 left in the game, however, Taylor Vause was the overtime hero for the Flames with his wrist shot from the top of the right circle finding its way through Condon to give the Flames the win. Winger David Wolf earned the lone assist on the play, the first overtime winner of Vause’s AHL career.
The Flames continue their Canadian road trip with a visit to Toronto this weekend for a back-to-back set. The Flames and Marlies will battle on Friday evening in a 7:00 p.m. puck drop before a Saturday matinee, scheduled for 3:00 p.m. The Flames will return home for three games next week, starting on Tuesday night against Hamilton, set for a 7:00 p.m. faceoff.
Adirondack Flames Hockey • Fired Up