Hamilton Bulldogs could wrap up their opening round of the American Hockey League playoffs on Saturday night in friendly territory.
The Bulldogs took a 3-2 lead in the best-of-seven series with a 4-2 win over the Americans in Rochester on Thursday night and play the sixth game at Copps Coliseum Saturday evening. Gametime is 7 p.m.
Danny Groulx scored his first-ever goal as a Bulldog and Eric Manlow notched the game-winning tally in the second period. The teams were tied 2-2 after the first period and Hamilton took a 3-2 lead into the final 20 minutes of the North Division semi-final. Maxim Lapierre gave Hamilton its insurance marker with an empty net goal with 61 seconds left to play.
During the regular season, Groulx had 16 assists in 58 games. He scored his first goal with 15 seconds left in the period, lifting the Bulldogs into a tie.
Rochester had scored first with Dylan Hunter’s first playoff goal. Corey Locke nullified that with his fourth playoff goal.
The Americans regained the lead when Mark Mancari beat goalkeeper Carey Price.
Groulx then evened the playing surface.
Manlow stuffed home his first goal of the post-season with only 1:32 to go in the second frame after the Bulldogs had killed off three-straight penalties.
Price made 30 saves on 32 shots while Craig Anderson turned aside 36 of 39 shots.
The Bulldogs were 1-for-5 on the power play while the Americans went 0-for-6 with the man advantage.