(Hamilton, ON)… The Rochester Americans continued their dominance of the Hamilton Bulldogs as David Leggio turned aside all 30 shots he faced to backstop the Amerks to a 2-0 win over the Bulldogs this afternoon at Copps Coliseum. The game was the first of two meetings in five days this week between the North Division foes, who are scheduled to meet again on Friday at the Bell Centre in Montreal.
With the win, Rochester improves to 7-1-0-0 in the season series against Hamilton and moves into a two-way tie for second place in the American Hockey League’s North Division standings with a 27-18-2-1- overall record.
Brayden McNabb and Luke Adam provided the scoring to help the Amerks snap a brief two-game skid on their way to outshooting Hamilton 49-30 throughout the contest.
The shutout is the second of the season for Leggio, who improved to 7-0-0 against Hamilton this season and moved within two wins of matching the career-high 28 victories he captured in 54 games last season with Rochester. Leggio, who has now won eight of his last nine starts, shows an 8-1-0 record with 1.67 goals-against average and .947 save percentage since a 4-1 win against Syracuse on Jan. 18.
Hamilton goaltender Dustin Tokarski made 47 saves in the loss in just his second game with the Bulldogs after being acquired by the parent Montreal Canadiens in a trade that sent fellow netminder Cedrick Desjardins to the Tampa Bay Lightning.
Rochester capitalized on its first power-play of the game, needing just 31 seconds of the man-advantage to take a 1-0 lead after Zack Stortini was sent off for hauling down rookie defenseman Jerome Gauthier-Leduc. McNabb, who was set up just inside the blueline in the high slot, put a hard shot on goal that made its way through traffic and zipped by the screened Hamilton netminder, which held up to be the game-winner. Nick Crawford and Phil Varone each earned assists on McNabb’s fourth goal of the season at 10:01.
Adam gave the Amerks a two-goal cushion 1:06 into the second period as he finished off a great individual effort with his 11th goal of the campaign. Swinging behind his own net, Adam collected a loose puck off the end boards and raced out of the Rochester zone with Nick Tarnasky in tow. After gaining the Hamilton blueline, and recognizing an open lane to the net with Tarnasky being covered, Adam skated into the left circle and delivered a blast under the left arm of Tokarski to make it a 2-0 game. Zemgus Girgensons and Adam Pardy collected the assists, with Girgensons making a big play in the right corner to allow Adam to spring free.
Leggio would make several quality saves down the stretch, including 17 in the third period alone, to hold off the Bulldogs and lift Rochester to the win.
The Amerks return to action on Wednesday, Feb. 20 as they entertain a rare visit from the league-leading Texas Stars at The Blue Cross Arena. The 7:05 p.m. contest will be the first of just two meetings between the interconference rivals this season and will be carried live on Sports 1280 WHTK. The game will also be televised live on Time Warner Cable SportsChannel.