No celebration for Bulldogs return home

It wasn’t the kind of American Hockey League homecoming the Hamilton Bulldogs had in mind.

After being away from Hamilton for 29 days when they played 12 road games, the Bulldogs returned to Copps Coliseum ice on Saturday (April 7) and fell 3-1 to the Rochester Americans.

Derek Whitmore scored his 28th of the season at 6:36 in the first period to give the Amerks a 1-0 lead.

But with just 3:43 to play in the second period, Brian Willsie scored his 17th of the season on an unassisted shorthanded breakaway goal, beating netminder David Leggio. Willsie’s team-leading third shorthanded goal of the season tied the game at one apiece.

Rochester regained the lead just 1:34 into the third period, when Phil Varone took advantage of a crowded slot to beat netminder Peter Delmas. The Americans would add an empty net goal in the final minute to earn the victory.

The Bulldogs outshot the Amerks 26-19 in the game played in front of 4,133 spectators.

The Bulldogs have four games remaining the regular season and visit the Toronto Marlies on Sunday (April 8).

Prior to the game, the Bulldogs signed goaltender Brandon Maxwell to an Amateur Try-Out contract.

Maxwell, 22, has played 27 regular season games for the Ontario Hockey League’s Mississauga St. Michael’s Majors this season, recording a .929 save percentage and a 2.54 goals against average while registering two assists. In six post-season games in 2011-12, the native of Winter Park, Florida has recorded a 0.933 save percentage and a 2.06 GAA.

The 6-foot, 190-pound goalie also suited up for the Sarnia Sting this season, playing 32 games and registering a .899 save percentage and a 3.23 GAA while earning two assists.