HAMILTON - For two periods the Hamilton Bulldogs did everything but score. In the end, they only needed one period to beat Rochester.
The Bulldogs scored four goals in the third en route to a 4-3 victory over the Americans in American Hockey League action Saturday.
"It's almost like they do it on purpose," said Hamilton coach Sylvain Lefebvre of his team's tendency to fall behind. "They go down a couple of goals and then get going.
"I thought that in the second period, we looked a little bit tired while things weren't going like we wanted. But we stuck with it, and once we got that first goal, it seemed like it gave us wings and we just kept going."
Blake Geoffrion scored twice, and Brendan Gallagher and Mike Blunden added goals for the Bulldogs (4-2-2), while Robert Mayer stopped 24-of-27 shots.
Brian Flynn had two goals and Nick Tamasky added the third for the Americans (6-3-1), and Connor Knapp made 30 saves in a losing effort.
The hosts had an early opportunity to open the scoring after Rochester's T.J. Brennan was whistled for roughing at 1:32 of the first. Brennan's retaliatory action came after a controversial hit by the Bulldogs' Aaron Palushaj that the Americans deemed to be late.
Rochester's Mark Mancari was then penalized for cross-checking midway, giving Hamilton a two-man advantage for 44 seconds. But the hosts could not make the most of their opportunity and the game remained scoreless.
The visitors were afforded a two-man advantage of their own to conclude the period, after Hamilton's Mike Blunden was whistled for cross checking at 17:50 and Mayer was penalized for delay of game at 18:17.
But the Americans were also unable to capitalize on the minute and 33 seconds of five-on-three play, and the period came to an end without a goal.
"Everybody has to chip in," said Lefebvre of his team's penalty-killing efforts.
"Defensively, we lost (Greg) Pateryn last game, and the guys jumped in and all chipped in to replace him. You do it by committee instead of just doing it with one guy.
"But the penalty kill was something we did better than last game. Our clears were better, and we made better decisions with the puck."
The frenetic first included 27 total shots on goal, with Rochester goaltender Knapp making 15 saves and Mayer adding 12 for Hamilton.
The visitors opened the scoring early in the second as a power play came to an end.
Rochester winger Marcus Foligno grabbed a Hamilton giveaway and found Flynn with a centring pass. His fellow winger did the rest, beating Mayer with a wrist shot over the shoulder.
The goal at 2:38 was Flynn's second of the season and moved Rochester into a 1-0 lead.
Hamilton nearly equalized four minutes later, but winger Patrick Holland could only hit the post when facing a gaping net.
"It's a bit frustrating at times, but it's like Coach says, you have to stick with it, stick with the game plan and don't get away from it, and keep grinding away," said Geoffrion of the missed chances.
The visitors punished the Bulldogs' inability to finish chances, doubling their advantage at 12:28 of the second.
Flynn produced a scintillating effort for his second goal of the night, corralling a pass from centre Zemgus Girgensons and firing a heavy wrist shot from the top of the left circle that sailed over Mayer's blocking glove.
The Bulldogs cut their deficit in half at 9:42 of the third, when a shot from the point was juggled by Knapp and Geoffrion poked the puck past the sprawled goaltender.
"It's one thing that we talked about between the second and third," said Lefebvre of the deficit. "I told them not to get frustrated and to stay with it and stay composed.
"All we needed was one goal, and that's what happened."
Riding the momentum of their goal, Hamilton struck again just over two minutes later. Patrick Holland's initial shot landed at the feet of Gallagher, who snapped a quick shot past Knapp to tie the game at two.
The Bulldogs took the lead just over a minute later, after the Americans' Joe Finley was penalized for roughing at 14:03.
Nathan Beaulieu's point shot was tipped in by Blunden at 13:54 to give the hosts their first lead of the game.
Geoffrion added an insurance goal in short order, depositing Aaron Palushaj's rebound past Knapp following a two-on-one break. The goal was Geoffrion's fourth of the season and second of the game.
"I think we had chances all game long, we just couldn't put them in the net," said Geoffrion "They finally started going in, and a little luck and hard work paid off."
Tamasky scored a consolation goal for the Americans at 16:22.
Notes: Rochester centre Cody Hodgson sat out Friday's game due to injury. ... Attendance at Copps Coliseum was announced as 6,200.