Game Recap: Hamilton Bulldogs @ Amerks, at First Niagara Center, Buffalo, NY, 10.23.2012
“They can take what they want, you’re my only obsession now.” (Scars on 45, Two Way Radio)
The Amerks rolled into the First Niagara Center in Buffalo, NY, to take on the Hamilton Bulldogs for the first time in the 2012-13 season. All of the stops were pulled out – fabulous (but expensive) concessions, icy cold beverages, and the National Anthems sung by the one and only Doug Allen. It was the atmosphere of a Sabres game with the excitement of an Amerks game, and seats I’d never be able to afford if we were talking about the National Hockey League. But guys. Guys. GUUUUUUUUYYYYYS. Hold the front door. I MET DOUG ALLEN. It was really all I could do to not fangirl all over him (and I’m certain that I did anyways). He complimented my “old school” Amerks sweater (Scott Nichol, for the win), and told me it was nice meeting me. I’m pretty sure I stammered a lot and probably drooled on myself a little bit. And that was only the start of what would be a very exciting Amerks trip to Buffalo.
The Amerks came out to their routine slow start, although they did seem to be getting at least a few solid shots on the Hamilton goaltender. The post would play a major part throughout this game, with Luke Adam ripping one off the post. Shortly after that, Hamilton would take the first penalty of the night, as Antoine Corbin went for holding. As that penalty expired, Joe Finley notched his first goal of the season, with a cheap shot off of a Rick Schofield pass. That also marked the first time since the first game of the season that Rochester scored the opening point of the game. Speaking of cheap shots, this game could quickly turn into Cheap Shot City, with Hamilton taking the second penalty of the game, and Jarred Tinordi heading off on a trip. It was followed shortly by d-man Alex Biega taking a high sticking penalty at 18:15. Twenty-five seconds later, Brayden McNabb and Steve Quailer would head off on matching minor roughing penalties, after Nabber cross-checked Quailer in the helmet during a disagreement in the crease. The Amerks would head into the first intermission with a 1-0 lead and 15 seconds left on the Biega penalty kill.
What started out as an uneventful second period saw Zemgus Girgensons chirping rather adamently at the Hamilton squad – leading me to wonder if he runs his mouth in Latvian or in English. I’m betting some strange combination of the two, actually, but I’m still curious. Hamilton’s Michael Bournival opened the second period scoring on a SICK goal that David Leggio never even saw until it was behind him. The pass from Patrick Holland was just perfect and, as stated, Leggio was just not on top of things the way we would have liked him to be. That was okay, however, because Cody HOdgson had his back, and responded 44 seconds later to put the Amerks back up, 2-1. Helpers went to the goalpost, Evan Rankin, and Marcus Foligno. Juuuust kidding. The post got the job done, but clearly got no credit on the official score sheet. Rochester would get the only penalty of the second period, as Mark Pysyk took two near the close of the period for delay of game.
Hamilton entered the third period guns blazing, and were really running all over the Amerks at both ends of the ice. Just past the half way mark of the period, Hodgson was hauled down at center ice with no penalty (to the dismay of the crowd). Not long after that, however, Tinordi would find himself in the penalty box on a holding call. He must’ve been getting lonely, as Frederic St Denis would join him, giving Rochester three whole seconds of a 5-on-3. Nine seconds into St Denis’ penalty, TJ Brennan ripped one past Hamilton goaltender Peter Delmas. As fans, we’re used to watching that work, and the power play unit of Brennan, McNabb, and Hodgson was successful once again. The score would stand at 3-1, but not for lack of Amerks trying. The Amerks had 1:57 of Hamilton empty net time, and just couldn’t make it happen. Notably, Frederick Roy nearly scored his first professional goal, were it not for that pesky post. All in all, three potential empty netters were missed by Rochester.
Game notes: Rochester was 1-for-4 on the power play, with Hamilton going 0-for-2 … After their eight goal burst against Hershey, Rochester was in second place for goals scored … TJ Brennan (4+6=10), Marcus Foligno (5+4=9) and Cody Hodgson (1+8=9) are all in the top-ten in the AHL points right now, only seven games into the season. As of this writing, David Leggio leads all goaltenders in minutes played, with 425:42. The next closest goaltender is over 100 minutes behind Legg. Additionally, Foligno is sixth in the league right now with 5 goals in 7 games played … This game’s three stars were 1. Cody Hodgson, 2. David Leggio, and 3. TJ Brennan.
The Amerks headed east to face the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins on Friday night, eventually losing in OT 5-4, after coming from behind to tie the game. With the loser point, the Amerks moved into a tie for first place in the North Divison. Saturday night, they will face the Adirondack Phantoms in Glens Falls (Editor’s note: I suck at publishing posts, so by the time you’ve read this the Amerks will have crushed the Phantoms 6-2. Fun!). The Amerks return home on Friday, November 2 to face Hamilton for the second time this season, in the first game of a home-and-home. As always, I’ll have all your updates, and I’ll see you at the game!!