The Hamilton Bulldogs missed an opportunity to regain first place in the North Division by falling 4-1 to the Rochester Americans on Saturday night at Copps Coliseum. With the loss, the ‘Dogs American Hockey League record dropped to 22-15-1-1.
Rochester opened the scoring 6:30 into the first period on the power play. Drew Larman’s rebound shot from the crease gave the Americans a 1-0 lead. Drew Stafford and Andrej Sekera assisted on Larman’s 10th goal of the season.
The Amerks took a 2-0 lead 4:30 into the second period when Stafford took four whacks at the puck from the lip of the crease on ‘Dogs goaltender Yann Danis before his fifth attempt found the back of the net.
Hamilton made it a one-goal game two minutes later. Zack Stortini out-muscled a Rochester defenseman to get a pass to Ajay Baines in the Americans crease. Stortini then continued toward the net and poked in Baines’ rebound. Jean-Philippe Cote also earned an assist on Stortini’s ninth goal.
Rochester restored the two-goal lead at 10:39 of the period when Larman scored his second goal of the game to make it 3-1.
Rochester sealed the win with an empty net goal by Daniel Paille from Stafford with 52 seconds left in the third period.
Danis stopped 26 of 29 shots Rochester for the Hamilton and suffered the loss, while Americans backstop Craig Anderson made 32 saves on 33 Bulldogs shots to earn the win.
Hamilton’s next game is Thursday, Jan. 11 in Winnipeg against the Manitoba Moose. The Bulldogs’ next home game is Friday, Jan. 19 at 7:30 p.m. against the Grand Rapids Griffins.