The Rochester Americans closed out the weekend with a 7-3 loss to the Hamilton Bulldogs in front of 6,094 fans at The Blue Cross Arena on Sunday. The Amerks took a 2-0 lead into the first intermission but were unable to hold on for the victory.
Phil DeSimone and Ian Schultz each tallied a goal and two assists to pace the Bulldogs offensively, while Blake Geoffrion chipped in a pair of assists. Andreas Engqvist, Joonas Nattinen, Eric Lampe, Garret Stafford and Alain Berger also scored while netminder Nathan Lawson turned away 27 of 30 Rochester shots to earn the win.
Corey Tropp, Paul Szczechura and Derek Whitmore lit the lamp for the Amerks, while Phil Varone extended his point-scoring streak to three games with an assist, giving him five points (1+4) on the weekend. Drew MacIntyre finished the night with 41 saves between the pipes.
The Amerks took an early 1-0 lead just 4:50 into the opening period, as Tropp finished-off a slick give-and-go with Varone. The two charged into the offensive zone on a 2-on-1 rush and traded passes before Tropp one-touched the final feed into the open side.
Rochester doubled its advantage to 2-0 at 15:36 when Szczechura drove to the net and jumped on a loose puck to bury his 11th of the season. Shaone Morrisonn fired a slapper from the neutral zone on goal and Lawson kicked the rebound right to Szczechura, who deposited it behind the Bulldogs’ netminder.
Hamilton cut the Rochester lead in half at 4:59 of the middle frame, as Schultz buried a rebound from the top of the crease after MacIntyre denied DeSimone’s initial bid from the right-circle. The Bulldogs evened the score at two apiece with the man advantage at 9:39. Off the rush, Geoffrion fired a wrister that squeaked through MacIntyre and lay in the crease before Engqvist jammed it to the back of the net.
Hamilton once again converted on the power-play for its third straight goal of the second period at 18:57. Nattinen pounced on a loose puck in the crease and stuffed it home to give his club its first lead of the contest.
The Bulldogs opened up a two-goal cushion and made the score 4-2 when Lampe found himself in alone on a breakaway and beat MacIntyre with a deke to the backhand. Hamilton netted a pair of power-play goals midway through the final frame to extend its lead to 6-2. Stafford scored on a two-man advantage at 8:14 and Berger followed up 18 seconds later with the Bulldogs still skating with a 5-on-4 advantage.
Whitmore scored his team-leading 21st goal of the season with 4:58 remaining in regulation, sending a shot from the high slot over the shoulder of Lawson.
DeSimone added a late empty net goal to secure the 7-3 victory.
The oldest rivalry in the American Hockey League will be renewed on Wednesday night in Rochester when the Amerks welcome the Hershey Bears to The Blue Cross Arena for the only time this season. The puck drops on the 444th all-time meeting between the clubs at 7:05 p.m. with all the action being carried live on 107.3 FM and 1280 AM, Rochester’s Sports Talk. The matchup will be the second of the season between the Amerks and Bears, who last met on January 8 in Hershey where the Bears came away with a 4-3 shootout win despite a three-goal, third period comeback by the Amerks and a 49-save performance by Leggio.