HAMILTON - Brock Trotter had no problems scoring in his return to North American professional hockey.
Trotter and Frederic St. Denis each scored two goals as the Hamilton Bulldogs opened their season in style with a 5-2 victory over the Rochester Americans in American Hockey League action Saturday night.
Trotter, who recently returned from Russia's Kontinental Hockey League, played on Hamilton's top line and power play unit. His second goal came on a penalty shot at 5:23 of the third, after a Rochester defenceman covered the puck in the crease with his glove.
"You?ve got to give credit to Trotter. He's a natural," said Hamilton coach Clement Jodoin. "He could have got four goals."
Hamilton's top line of Trotter, Brian Willsie and Aaron Palushaj combined for seven points on the night.
"I've played with Trotter before, so there?s definitely a bit of chemistry there," Palushaj said.
Trotter added: "Me, Willsie and Palushaj are flying around out there, so its kind of fun to start it off."
Hamilton (1-0-0) took advantage of an extended power play in the second to secure a comfortable lead.
The Americans (0-1-0), who were already down two men, took a too-many-men penalty to extend the opportunity for the Bulldogs. St. Denis scored his second of the game and Trotter also scored on the lengthy power-play to put the Bulldogs ahead 3-0.
Rochester finally got on the board on the power play when Jonathon Parker hacked in the third rebound on a scramble in front of the Bulldogs net at 10:59 of the second, bringing the Americans to within two.
Ian Schultz scored at 13:44 of the second, stretching Hamilton's lead to 4-1.
Jodoin called it a good start for his club. Rochester coach Ron Rolston, meanwhile, said the Americans have some work to do.
"We've got a long way to go," Rolston said.
Nathan Lawson looked sharp in his first game for Hamilton, making 30 saves in the win, standing tall despite being run multiple times on the night.
Rochester's David Leggio (22 saves) gave up a soft goal early, but played strong in the loss. Three of the five goals scored on him came on the power play or on a penalty shot.
"If there was a star from our team tonight, David was that for us," Rolston said.
Hamilton opened the scoring with the strong play of Palushaj. The winger worked the puck behind the net, and nearly fed Willsie who was open in front. Willsie missed the pass, but St. Denis picked up the missed pass at the point and ripped it past Leggio at 10:15 of the first.
Colin Stuart added a late goal to bring the score to 5-2 with 2:08 left in the third.
Last year the Bulldogs won the North Division, but lost to the Houston Aeros in Game 6 of the Western Conference final. It was the second year in a row they were dumped one round short of the Calder Cup final.
The Bulldogs won't play again for six days as they make their way to Newfoundland to play back-to-back games against the St. John's IceCaps on Oct. 14.