Rookie Carey Price, playing in only his third American Hockey League game, stopped all 34 shots he faced to lead the Hamilton Bulldogs to a 2-0 triumph over the Rochester Americans in Game 1 of their first-round playoff series on Thursday night at Blue Cross Arena.
The second game in the best-of-seven series goes Saturday night in Rochester.
After a scoreless first period, Zack Stortini gave Hamilton the lead at 3:34 of the middle stanza. Matt D’Agostini and Ryan O’Byrne drew the assists.
With only nine seconds remaining in the third period, Ajay Baines set up Maxim Lapierre for an empty-net insurance marker to seal the victory for the Bulldogs. Duncan Milroy earned the second assist on the goal.
Price’s shutout earned him first-star honours in the game for the Bulldogs. His counterpart, Craig Anderson, was also near perfect, stopping 28 of 29 shots in a losing effort for the Americans.
Neither team could muster a goal on special teams as Hamilton was 0-for-1 on the power play and Rochester went 0-for-4 with the man advantage.
The win snaps the Bulldogs nine-game losing streak to the Americans in the playoffs and marks the first time the ‘Dogs have won the opening game of the series when facing the Amerks in the Calder Cup playoffs. In four previous post-season match-ups, Rochester won in six games twice (1999, 2000), and also swept Hamilton in four games twice (2004, 2005).
Saturday’s game can be heard on 820 CHAM at 8 p.m.