Bulldogs, Pirates earn Tuesday victories

Returning from injury and making his season debut, veteran goaltender Curtis Sanford turned aside 19 of 20 shots in the winning effort and Hamilton scored twice in the third period to claim a 3-1 win over visiting Manitoba on Tuesday at Copps Coliseum.

An 11th-year pro, Sanford suffered a fractured larynx in a preseason practice after taking a puck in the throat and missed the season’s first four weeks.

Sanford, who won a career-best 23 games in 41 appearances for Hamilton last season (23-11-3, 2.13, .916), earned the victory in this one over a Moose team for whom he played during the 2008-09 campaign.

The Bulldogs’ Max Pacioretty and Moose rookie Cody Hodgson traded goals through the first two periods to make it 1-1 entering the third.

Defenseman Mathieu Carle notched the eventual game-winner for Hamilton just 1:10 into the final frame, and Aaron Palushaj added a late empty-netter for his first goal of the season. Palushaj and Pacioretty each finished with a goal and a helper on the night.

The Bulldogs, who are now 1-0-0-2 against Manitoba this season, host the Moose for a rematch on Wednesday.

Rookie Corey Tropp nabbed the shootout game-winner and goaltender David Leggio denied four of five tries against him as Portland claimed a 4-3 shootout win over Charlotte on Tuesday at the Time Warner Cable Arena.

The Checkers will take the standings point, though, which was earned when Chris Terry sent the game to overtime with a power play goal at 19:59 of the third period.

Terry scored twice and Nick Dodge once on the night for Charlotte, which opened a stretch of playing 10 of its next 11 games on home ice. Drayson Bowman chipped in two assists.

Rookie standout Luke Adam returned from an NHL recall and scored in both regulation and the shootout for the Atlantic Division-leading Pirates (9-2-0-0), who earned their fourth straight victory and improved to 3-0 in shootouts this year.

Portland also got regulation markers from Mark Parrish and Derek Whitmore, and Leggio, now a perfect 5-0-0 on the year, preceded his 4-for-5 shootout showing by stopping 24 of 27 shots through the first 65 minutes.

The teams will meet again in Charlotte on Tuesday.