Amerks come back to bite Dogs

Jiri Novotny scored the first two postseason goals of his AHL career in the third period, including the game-winner with 3:20 remaining in regulation, as Rochester stormed back for a 4-3 win in Hamilton on Sunday afternoon.

The Americans now have a commanding 3-0 lead in their North Division semifinal series.

The Bulldogs scored three times in the first period, including two goals from Chris Higgins, and took a 3-1 lead into the final frame.

But Novotny got the Amerks within one at the 8:15 mark of the third, Brandon Smith tied it at 13:20 and Novotny finished off the comeback just over three minutes later.

The 21-year-old Novotny, filling in for injured sniper Jason Pominville on a line with Chris Taylor and Milan Bartovic, had totaled two assists in 18 previous Calder Cup Playoff matches.

Paul Gaustad added a goal and an assist for Rochester, and now leads the team with four goals and five points in the series.

The Amerks, thought to be vulnerable to an upset after losing eight of their last 11 regular-season games, go for the sweep in Game 4 on Tuesday.

Jamie Lundmark had a goal and an assist and Steve Valiquette made 32 saves as Hartford took a 2-1 series lead with a 4-1 win in Lowell on Sunday.

The Wolf Pack also got goals from Alexandre Giroux, Chad Wiseman and Ken Gernander, who tied AHL legend Fred Glover for the all-time league lead by playing in his 120th career Calder Cup Playoff game.

Jeff Hamilton added two assists for the Pack.

Valiquette, who backed up Jason LaBarbera in Games 1 and 2, improved to 6-0-1 this season against Lowell.

Game 4 is Tuesday in Lowell.

Steve Maltais‘s power-play goal with 4:22 left in regulation proved to be the difference as Chicago posted a 2-1 win over Houston on Sunday, taking a 3-1 lead in their West Division semifinal series.

Maltais’s goal was the 33rd of his Calder Cup Playoff career, and was the Wolves’ first in 23 opportunities with the man advantage in the series. Chicago got the power play chance when Houston was whistled for having too many men on the ice.

Kari Lehtonen made 34 saves on the night, and has stopped 112 of 116 shots in the first four games against Houston. His shutout streak ended at 117:20 when Matt Foy scored with 2:40 to play.

Mike Smith made 25 stops but was the hard-luck loser for the second straight night. The Aeros dropped to 0-4 in home playoff games since moving into the Toyota Center.

J.P. Vigier had a goal and an assist for Chicago, his first two points of the series.

Game 5 is scheduled for Tuesday in Houston.