Albany River Rats hand Bulldogs their second loss

Hamilton Bulldogs have the week to regroup and prepare for a two-game weekend after absorbing their second loss this past weekend.

The River Rats lowered the Bulldogs early season record to 1-2 with a 3-2 win Saturday in Albany. That loss came 24 hours after the ‘Dogs dropped an identical score to the Hershey Bears in Hamilton.

Playing their first American Hockey League road game of the regular season, the Bulldogs gave it a valiant effort on Saturday, scoring two shorthanded goals, outshooting their opponents, and goalie Yann Danis stopping a third period penalty shot.

But rookie Matt D’Agostini’s first-ever AHL goal and Duncan Milroy’s marker couldn’t erase a lead the River Rats established in the first period in their home opener after starting the season with two road games.

Albany got on the scoreboard early with a Scott Kelman power play goal at 5:46 of the first period. Twelve minutes later Albany was up 2-0 when Keith Aucoin beat Danis.

The teams skated through a scoreless second period before D’Agostini’s unassisted effort gave Hamilton its first goal at the midway mark of the final period.

Albany restored its two-goal edge when Aucoin netted his second marker – on the powerplay – of the night just less than three minutes later. Aucoin was rewarded by the National Hockey League’s Carolina Hurricanes who recalled on Sunday.

With 3.33 left in the game, Milroy’s second goal of the season, lifted Hamilton to within a marker with the ‘Dogs second shorthanded tally. Kyle Chipchura and Mathieu Rou picked up the assists.

While Hamilton had more offence playing shorthanded, they were 0-for-6 with the man advantage, much to the satisfaction of the 7,396 in attendance.

Danis stopped 17 of the 20 shots he faced while his counterpart, Justin Peters blocked 23 of the 25 pucks directed towards him.

Hamilton plays division rivals, the Toronto Marlies (1-2-1), Friday at Copps. Gametime is 7.30 p.m. The following night the Peoria Rivermen visit Copps for a 7 p.m. Peoria was 3-1 after the weekend.