Bulldogs complete a perfect weekend

The Hamilton Bulldogs went on a shooting spree, firing 48 shots on goal to win their third game in three nights, a 7-3 comeback victory against the Rochester Americans. The American Hockey League victory brought the Bulldogs to within four points of a Calder Cup playoffs spot.

The host Americans took the lead at 4:50 into the first period when Corey Topp joined Phil Varone in a 2-on-1 rush after exiting the penalty box to score his fifth goal of the season. Eleven minutes later, Paul Szczechura took advantage of a rebound from goalie Nathan Lawson to make it 2-0.

The Bulldogs halved the deficit at 4:59 into the second period. Ian Schultz snapped a seven-game goalless streak by capitalizing on a bouncy Philip DeSimone rebound to beat netminder Drew MacIntyre. A double effort by Blake Geoffrion on the power play led to Andreas Engqvist’s team-leading 16th goal of the season at 9:39. Joonas Nattinen scored a third unanswered goal for Hamilton on the power play with 1:03 left to play in the period. Hamilton held the Amerks to a mere four shots in the second period while they peppered MacIntyre with 22 – the most tallied in any period this season for the Bulldogs.

Just 1:26 in the third period, Eric Lampe scored his first goal as a Bulldog and first AHL goal of the season following a breakaway pass by T.J. Fast, giving the ‘Dogs a 4-2 lead. Garrett Stafford scored his seventh of the season during a 5-on-3 power play at 8:14 into the third stanza. Lawson earned an assist on the ‘Dogs’ fifth unanswered goal of the game.

Eighteen seconds later, Alain Berger scored his first goal as a Bulldog and as a professional hockey player to make it 6-2 for Hamilton. Derek Whitmore retaliated for the Amerks, sneaking T.J. Brennan’s crossbar shot past the goal-line to cut the Bulldogs’ lead to 6-3. Then, with almost four minutes left in the game, and Amerks netminder MacIntyre on the bench, DeSimone scored his second empty-net goal in as many games to finalize the ‘Dogs 7-3 win.

Hamilton overtook Rochester 48-30 on the shot clock, helping Lawson earn his season-high fourth consecutive win.

The Bulldogs’ next game will take place on Wednesday (Feb. 22) when they face the Griffins at 7 p.m. in Grand Rapids.