Luke Adam scored twice in the third period, including the eventual game-winner, to lead the Rochester Americans to a 3-1 win over the North Division rival Hamilton Bulldogs Wednesday morning at Copps Coliseum. The win snaps a three-game losing streak for the Amerks, who improve to 6-3-2-2 on the season and maintain their first-place standing atop the American Hockey League’s North Division.
Phil Varone rounded out the scoring with a goal and an assist, while Mike Zigomanis, Jamie Tardif and Kevin Sundher also recorded assists in the win. Matt Hackett steered aside 26 of 27 shots he faced en route to his fourth win of the season for Rochester, which has now collected points in nine of its last 10 games.
Sven Andrigehtto potted the lone goal for the host Bulldogs, while Dustin Tokarski finished with 33 saves in the losing effort.
Rochester opened the scoring just 5:02 into the first period when Varone found open ice and buried his fourth of the season to give the visitors a 1-0 lead. After grabbing a loose puck outside the Hamilton blueline, Varone took advantage of an open lane to the net by weaving his way through the defense and snapping a shot off Tokarski’s glove. It was the second straight game the Amerks opened the contest with an unassisted tally.
The Bulldogs knotted the contest late in the frame when Andrighetto converted a Mike Blunden rebound for his team-leading seventh goal of the season. Hackett knocked down Blunden’s initial bid from the low slot, but soon lost sight of the rebound following a goal-mouth scramble. The puck would eventually come to rest at the top of the crease, where Andrighetto spotted it and wristed a shot over the screened Hackett to make it a 1-1 game. Martin St. Pierre also earned an assist on the goal, which extended the Hamilton rookie’s goal-scoring streak to four games.
The Amerks appeared to regain the lead in the closing minutes of the period after Tardif poked in a Brayden McNabb rebound on the power-play. The play, however, went to video review, where the call was ultimately overturned by referees Dave Lewis and Graham Skillitier to keep it a 1-1 score heading into the first intermission.
Rochester nearly pulled ahead midway through the second stanza with two quality scoring chances, including one from Dan Catenacci. The rookie forward broke in from the left wing side looking for the upper-right corner, but had his attempt stymied by the crossbar despite seemingly having Tokarski beat.
The Amerks got off to a quick start in the third period, scoring just 23 seconds in with Adam’s team-leading 10th goal of the season. Sundher eluded a Hamilton defender at the right face-off circle and made a dash toward the net-front. Sundher faked his shot, effectively drawing Tokarski out of his crease, before delivering a nifty no-look pass through the low slot to Adam, who one-touched the offer over the goal-line. Adam has now found the back of the net in nine of Rochester’s first 13 games this season, including five straight outings between Oct. 18 and Nov. 1, which still stands as the longest stretch in the AHL.
Hackett was solid in the third, stopping all eight shots sent his way, including a game-saving point-blank save on Louis Leblanc late in the frame to preserve Rochester’s one-goal cushion heading down the final five minutes of play.
The Bulldogs would pull Tokarski in favor of an extra attacker, but Adam bagged his second of the game, hitting an empty-netter with 19 seconds remaining in regulation to secure the 3-1 win for the Amerks.
The Amerks kickoff a two-game trek through the Empire State on Friday, Nov. 15 when they make their first trip to Utica in over 20 years to face the AHL’s newest Comets at the Utica Memorial Auditorium. The 7:00 p.m. contest will be the third of 10 meetings between the intrastate rivals this season and will be broadcast live on Sports 1280 WHTK.