The Rochester Americans and Hamilton Bulldogs played the back-end of a weekend home-and-home series on Saturday night at Copps Coliseum, where the Amerks bounced back from Friday’s loss with a 3-1 win over the Bulldogs, scoring twice in the third period to secure the victory. The win snapped a three-game losing streak for the Amerks, who were playing the first of six straight road games.
Luke Adam led the way for Rochester on Saturday, scoring his team-leading 15th goal of the season and assisting on the game-winning goal by Johan Larsson, who had been assigned to the Amerks by the Buffalo Sabres earlier in the day. Brandon MacLean scored his first career AHL goal while Brayden Irwin collected two assists in the contest. Kevin Sundher, Chad Ruhwedel and Nick Crawford each tallied an assist as well. Goaltender Nathan Lieuwen, who was making his first start in goal since Dec. 20, stopped 34 of 35 shots to earn the victory.
Hamilton’s Greg Pateryn scored the lone goal for the Bulldogs, who had their six-game winning streak snapped by the Amerks. Netminder Robert Mayer stopped 25 of 27 shots on goal in the losing effort.
For the second night in a row, the Bulldogs took a 1-0 lead on the Amerks with a first-period power play goal. Just prior to the midway point of the opening frame, Pateryn took a wrist shot from the top of the left face-off circle that got past Lieuwen, who was screened in front by former Amerk Nick Tarnasky. Christian Thomas and Maxime Macenaur each earned an assist on the goal, which came 16 seconds into Hamilton’s first man-advantage opportunity of the game.
Rochester tied things up at the 16:36 mark of the second period as MacLean scored his first goal as an Amerk. MacLean rushed up the left wing side and put a shot on net that went wide, but Sundher was able to gain control and push it back toward the blue line, where Ruhwedel was just entering the zone and stepped into a one-timer. MacLean was able to get his stick on the shot by Ruhwedel and tip it past Mayer for the equalizer.
Shortly after Lieuwen made a big save to keep the game tied, Adam and Larsson combined on a great play to give the Amerks a 2-1 lead halfway through the third period. Rochester rushed up ice on a 3-on-2, and Adam entered the zone along the right wing boards, then quickly cut to the middle of the ice. When he reached the high slot, he danced through a Bulldog defender, then sent a cross-ice pass back the other way to Larsson, who buried a shot to give his team its first lead of the night. The goal was Larsson’s third of the season and was also assisted on by Irwin, giving him his first point in an Amerks uniform.
Adam would pick up his second point of the night with 59 seconds remaining when he scored an empty-net goal to secure the victory. Irwin notched his second assist of the game while Crawford also assisted on the empty-netter.
Rochester’s road trip continues on Wednesday, Jan. 15 as the Amerks fly south to face the Texas Stars at the Cedar Park Center in downtown Austin. The 8:30 p.m. EST matchup will be the first of just two meetings between the teams this season.