Double AHL overtime win lifts Bulldogs into 2-1 series lead over Rochester

Hamilton Bulldogs will look to take a key 3-1 lead in their best-of-seven opening round American Hockey League playoffs on Tuesday in Game 4 of the series.

Matt D’Agostini runs a little interference in the Rochester Americans goal crease. (Photo: Ron Bernardo)
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Sunday’s night 5-4 win over Rochester in double overtime gave the Bulldogs a 2-1 series edge after the Americans tied the affair with a 3-1 victory Saturday in the U.S. city.

But on Copps Coliseum ice, Corey Locke had a natural hat trick in regulation and Mikhail Grabovski scored the game-winning goal just 17 seconds into the second OT period for Hamilton’s win.

Tuesday’s game starts at 7.30 p.m. at Copps.

On Sunday, Rochester opened the scoring at 8:22 of the first period when Timo Helbling’s shot from the point eluded Bulldogs netminder Carey Price. But four minutes later, Ferland deposited the puck past Amerks’ goaltender Craig Anderson on a power play. Dan Jancevski’s point shot was blocked before Ferland pounced on the puck for his first-career post-season goal.

Rochester regained the lead when Kamil Kreps scored his first goal of the playoffs on a pass from Mark Mancari at 15:12 of the first period and Rochester went ahead 3-1 when Clarke MacArthur converted a one-time pass from Brandon Smith through Price’s five-hole on the power play just past the midway mark of the second period.

Locke cut Rochester’s lead to a goal at 13:33 of the second period when his centering pass went off a stick and past Anderson. Cory Urquhart and Jancevski earned assists on Locke’s first goal on the night, also a power play effort.

In the third period, Locke provided back-to-back goals to give the Bulldogs a 4-3 lead. Gathering a rebound from Ryan O’Byrne’s shot, Locke put the puck past a sprawled Anderson to even the score 3-3 at the 10:27 mark. Just 2:27 later, Mathieu Biron took a shot that caromed off the boards to Locke, who put it high into the net for his third tally of the night.

With only one minute remaining in the game, and Anderson pulled in favour of an extra-attacker, Rochester evened the score when Michael Ryan beat Price.

In the first overtime at the 8:14 mark, Duncan Milroy was awarded a penalty shot but was unable to beat Anderson.

Only 17 seconds into double overtime, Grabovski, who had been sidelined with a hand injury, picked up a rebound and slid a shot past Anderson to give the Bulldogs a 5-4 win. Andre Benoit and Matt D’Agostini picked up assist’s on the winning goal.

Price made 33 saves on 37 shots in a winning effort for Hamilton, while Anderson turned aside 46 of the 51 shots he faced.

The Bulldogs were 3-for-9 on the power play while the Americans went 1-for-5 with the man advantage.

On Saturday night, Ryan had a pair of goals and Janis Sprukts added a single in Rochester’s 3-1 win.

Biron had the Bulldogs lone tally, his first goal of the playoffs. Danny Groulx and Urquhart drew the assists.

Price made 29 saves on 32 shots while Anderson stopped 22 of 23 shots.

The Bulldogs were 1-for-5 on the power play and the Americans went 2-for-4 with the man advantage.