Amerks crumble late in loss to Bulldogs

Coming into Saturday night’s game against the Hamilton Bulldogs, emotions were at a high for the Rochester Americans. The Amerks were a day removed from a 6-1 season opening victory, which featured 187 combined penalty minutes.

Rochester started things off quick, when William Carrier turned on the jets down the right side of the ice, and put home his own rebound. Carrier’s first professional goal put the Amerks up 1-0, at 3:25 in the first period.

The Amerks continued to push the pace of this game, and that would come to a head at 10:04 of the second period. Johan Larsson, who was stationed at the goal mouth, found a loose puck and deposited the puck through the five hole. Larsson’s first of the year put Rochester up 2-0.

Not to be outdone though, Hamilton had their first comeback ready to go.

Just 43 seconds later, the Bulldogs would get their first goal of the evening, at 10:47 in the second period, courtesy of Maxime Macenauer. 

As the momentum shifted towards Hamilton, they capitalized and notched their second goal of the game. Nick Sorkin’s first goal of the season, at 12:19, tied things up at 2.

When asked following the game, Amerks’ goaltender Nathan Lieuwen seemed to have the issue figured out. “It’s not rocket science,” Lieuwen told reporters. “We sat back.”

While the game was only tied, it was clear that Rochester had their work cut out for them against Hamilton in this matchup. 

Rochester landed the next big goal, from Akim Aliu, at 15:36 of the second period. The best way to explain Aliu’s goal is by telling you he was in the right place at the right time. The puck ended up on Aliu’s stick, and he made no mistake in putting it home.

Despite Aliu’s goal, Hamilton’s trend of the evening continued, when two minutes later they tied the score at 3. Charles Hudon was credited with the goal, his first of the season.

Early in the third period, Rochester seemed to have swung the momentum in their direction for the final time, when they took a 4-3 lead.

The Amerks’ fourth goal was credited to Akim Aliu, his second of the evening. 

Unfortunately for Rochester, Hamilton had other plans.

Continuing their trend of coming back from deficits, the Bulldogs pulled off a stretch of hockey that would impress many.

At 17:16 of the third, Gabriel Dumont scored his first of the season, to tie the proceedings up at 4. 

Just 17 seconds later, Daniel Carr would pot his first of the season, giving Hamilton a 5-4 lead.

“It was just kind of a wide centering pass, he (Carr) put it right in the corner,” said Amerks’ goaltender Nathan Lieuwen. “I’m the kind of goalie that believes I can stop everything. It’s a game of inches. I expect myself to make that save.”

The icing on the cake was soon to follow when, at 19:43, Drayson Bowman scored an empty net goal to clinch a 6-4 Hamilton Bulldogs victory.

Following the loss, Amerks’ captain Drew Bagnall appeared to have the answer to why Rochester just couldn’t hold a lead.

“We just went into a defensive shell and stopped making the plays we were making earlier on in the game,” Bagnall said. “When you sit back, teams tend to capitalize on those opportunities.”

Newcomer, and two-goal scorer, Akim Aliu was very concise in his postgame remarks.

“It is always nice to contribute, but it’s better to get two points,” Aliu said. “That minute and a half, we had a brain freeze as a team, and it cost us the game.”

Following this loss, the Rochester Americans fall to 1-1-0-0 on the young season. Rochester next plays this coming Saturday night against the Toronto Marlies, at the Ricoh Coliseum in Toronto. 

Ryan Wolfe
Ryan Wolfe
Administrator/Writer at Sabres Hockey Central.
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