The Rochester Americans closed out another three-game weekend on Sunday afternoon with a 2-1 road loss to the North Division rival Hamilton Bulldogs. By going 1-1-1-0 on the weekend, the Amerks picked up three of a possible six points.
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After jumping out to a 1-0 lead early in the contest on a goal by Travis Turnbull, the Amerks allowed two goals in the second period and were unable to net the equalizer in the third period despite several quality scoring chances.
Hamilton’s Alexander Avtsin and Mike Blunden scored 1:16 apart in the second to account for all of the Bulldogs’ offense, but it was enough to give Hamilton the win. Bulldogs netminder Nathan Lawson turned aside 15 of 16 shots to earn his eighth win of the season.
David Leggio got the start in goal for Rochester, his first appearance since Dec. 2, and stopped 33 of 35 Hamilton shots. Amerks captain Colin Stuart was back in the lineup after playing for the parent Buffalo Sabres on Saturday night while Turnbull, who returned to the lineup Friday night against Albany after missing nine games due to injury, scored his second goal of the season in Sunday’s contest and his first since Nov. 6.
Turnbull got Rochester off to a quick start with a goal at 3:22 of the first period. After taking a pass from defenseman T.J. Brennan in the neutral zone, Turnbull attempted a pass that was broken up by a Hamilton defenseman. However, the puck ended up back on Turnbull’s stick, and the forward had a clear shooting lane. With the puck on his blade in the right face-off circle, Turnbull snapped a shot past Lawson to give the Amerks a 1-0 lead. Brennan collected the lone assist on Turnbull’s second goal of the season.
The teams remained scoreless until Avtsin scored a nifty goal to tie the game at 7:18 of the second period. Hamilton’s Mitch Wahl picked up a loose puck behind the Rochester net and immediately backhanded a no-look pass to Avtsin at the goal mouth. As Leggio attempted to poke check the puck away, Avtsin dragged it on the toe of his stick blade to get around the Amerks netminder and calmly slid it into the net.
Just 1:16 later, the Bulldogs took their first lead of the game when Blunden entered the Rochester zone on a rush and his shot from the top of the right face-off circle found its way over Leggio’s left shoulder and into the top corner of the net. Garrett Stafford picked up the assist on Blunden’s third tally of the season, which ended up being the eventual game-winning goal as the teams went scoreless over the final 31 minutes of the contest.
The Amerks return to action on Friday, Dec. 16 when they travel to San Antonio to face the Rampage at 8 p.m. EST. The game marks the first of three straight in the Lone Star State for the Amerks, who play the Texas Stars on Saturday and the Houston Aeros on Sunday to close out the trip. The games can be heard on 107.3 FM and 1280 AM, Rochester’s Sports Talk.