The Rochester Americans scored a goal in each period, including one on the power-play, to cruise to a 3-1 win over the North Division rival Hamilton Bulldogs in front of 10,936 fans — the largest crowd for an Amerks home game since the 2004-05 season — at the First Niagara Center in downtown Buffalo on Tuesday night.
The win also extends Rochester’s winning streak to three games as the Amerks move into a tie with the Lake Erie Monsters for first place in the American Hockey League’s North Division.
Cody Hogdson led the Amerks with a two-point night (one goal, one assist), including the game-winning goal, while Buffalo native David Leggio stopped 36 of 37 shots in his sixth straight start between the pipes for Rochester.
The Amerks got on the board first when Joe Finley scored his first goal of the season with a slap shot from the blueline at 11:45 of the opening frame. In an attempt to save the puck from clearing the Hamilton zone, Finley trapped it along the boards and threw a quick shot on net through traffic that appeared to glance off a Bulldogs defender and past netminder Peter Delmas to put Rochester ahead 1-0.
The Bulldogs evened the contest midway through the second stanza as Michael Bournival converted Patrick Holland’s pass for his first professional goal. After gaining entry into the Rochester zone, Bournival snapped a quick pass to the low slot to Holland, who finished the play with a shot just inside the left post for the equalizer.
The game would remain tied for only 44 seconds, however, as Hodgson helped the Amerks regain the lead with his first goal in an Amerks uniform. Stationed along the left half-wall, Hodgson picked up his own rebound as he darted his way to the goal-mouth and fired a wrister over the right shoulder of Delmas to put the Amerks back on top 2-1. Evan Rankin and Marcus Foligno assisted on the play, giving Foligno and Hodgson points in each of their last three games and tying them for the AHL lead in scoring.
Rochester doubled its lead with four minutes left in regulation when the power-play line capitalized for the ninth time in three games with a blast from T.J. Brennan. Brayden McNabb fed Brennan for the blistering one-timer at the point and the fourth-year pro hit nothing but twine as he found the back of the net for the third straight game. Hodgson earned his second point of the night with an assist on the play.