The Hamburglar foils Manitoba squad

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It was only two years ago when he was the biggest story going on the game’s grandest stage — a goalie who seemingly came out of nowhere to go on an incredible 20-1-2 run while leading the Ottawa Senators into an unlikely playoff spot.

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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 27/10/2017 (1856 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

It was only two years ago when he was the biggest story going on the game’s grandest stage — a goalie who seemingly came out of nowhere to go on an incredible 20-1-2 run while leading the Ottawa Senators into an unlikely playoff spot.

But things can change quickly in the world of pro sports. These days, Andrew (The Hamburglar) Hammond is toiling in the minors at the age of 29 and no doubt wondering if or when his next shot in the NHL might come.

It may be just around the corner if he turns in more performances like the one on Friday night at Bell MTS Place. Hammond was spectacular in stopping 35 of 38 shots in regulation time and overtime — including a penalty shot — as his Belleville Senators downed the Manitoba Moose 4-3 in a shootout.

JOHN WOODS / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS Manitoba Moose forward Nic Petan takes out the Belleville Senators’ Francis Perron during AHL action at Bell MTS Place on Friday.

“In the stats we have, we had 10 more scoring chances than they had. Usually when you create that many more chances for, you win hockey games,” Moose head coach Pascal Vincent said of being repeatedly stymied by Hammond.

“He’s a good goalie. We found a way to create good scoring chances.”

Hammond made a name for himself with the 2014-15 run but has struggled to regain his form since. He went 7-11-4 the following season in Ottawa with a 2.65 GAA. He then struggled last year, battling injuries and the numbers game in making just six starts with Ottawa and going 0-2 with a 4.08 GAA. He also played five American Hockey League games, going 2-3 with a 3.24 ERA.

Hammond is off to a strong start this year, going 1-1-1 in four games with a 2.66 GAA and .929 SV%.

Manitoba carried the play early as big Buddy Robinson opened the scoring midway through the first period, deflecting a shot past Hammond. It’s the third straight game the 6-6 Robinson has lit the lamp.

Belleville responded a few minutes later on the power play, as defenceman Eric Burgdoerfer snuck a shot through a screen past Manitoba goalie Eric Comrie.

Robinson quickly restored the lead as the Moose enjoyed their own man-advantage, notching his team-leading fifth of the year.

“It’s a fun atmosphere to be in,” Robinson said following the game.

“To be a guy producing right now is nice. I’m just trying to do everything right, the little things, getting pucks in, getting pucks out, finding my way to the front of the net.”

Belleville came on strong in the middle frame and tied it up midway through the period, as forward Ben Sexton beat Comrie with a wrist shot.

Nic Petan made his season debut with the Moose Friday after being sent down by the Jets earlier in the week. He skated on a line with Jack Roslovic and Chase DeLeo that had plenty of skill and speed and were a threat all night.

“Lots of speed on that line and lots of skills obviously. I think they have another gear. I think they can create more. I guess they’re not selfish enough. Around the net they have to shoot the puck,” said Vincent.

DeLeo rang one off the crossbar early in the second that could have put the Moose up 3-1. Roslovic was hauled down on a breakaway later in the period and awarded a penalty shot.

He was denied by Hammond, keeping the game tied.

The Senators took their first lead late in the period as Gabriel Gagne finished off a beautiful two-on-one rush with a tap-in goal.

DeLeo tied it up with just over two minutes left in the third, converting a great pass from Appleton that just slid through the pads of Hammond.

Appleton assisted on all three Moose goals, giving him seven points (1 goal, 6 assists) in his past four games after being blanked in his first four pro games.

“I think as a team we’re doing a lot of good things,” said Appleton.

“I’m playing obviously with two really talented linemates. I think we’re kind of feeding off each other. I just got to keep doing the things that make me successful and make me a good player at this level.”

The three-on-three overtime saw both teams trade quality chances. Comrie stopped a Belleville breakaway, while Robinson, forward J.C. Lipon and defenceman Sami Niku had great chances to end it.

Belleville then won in the fifth round of the shootout, scoring on four of their five chances while the Moose put three of their five past Hammond.

Manitoba saw their two-game win streak snapped in falling to 4-3-1. Belleville improves to 3-4-1. The teams will meet against tonight at 7 p.m. at Bell MTS Place.

mike.mcintyre@freepress.mb.ca Twitter: @mikemcintyrewpg

Mike McIntyre

Mike McIntyre
Sports columnist

Mike McIntyre grew up wanting to be a professional wrestler. But when that dream fizzled, he put all his brawn into becoming a professional writer.

History

Updated on Saturday, October 28, 2017 8:40 AM CDT: Photo added.

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