What went wrong tonight? Well. That depends on who you ask. The simple answer is that the Bulldogs scored more goals than the Amerks did. The simple answer is that the Amerks were coming on the bad side of back to back games, and the Bulldogs weren't. The simple answer, again, really depends on who you ask.
"Don't you worry now: It's all about to change." (Hayden Calnin, Summer)
If you ask Drew Bagnall, he would tell you that the team went into a defensive shell and that, late in the game, they stopped making the plays that they had been making earlier. Said Bagnall, "We gave them too many opportunities to capitalize." From where I sat, I can't disagree. It truly looked like the Amerks got a lead and then sat back, feeling like they had the game locked down. They certainly didn't. William Carrier netted the Amerks first goal just over three minutes into the first, and the second goal of the game didn't come until half way through the second, when Johan Larsson sunk a pass from Matt MacKenzie.
The wheels started to fall off the bus not long after this, though. Actually, about 43 seconds after this, actually. Hamilton's Maxime Macenauer scored the first of the Bulldog's six goals on the night. Less than two minutes later, Nick Sorkin tied the game at two. Akim Aliu put the Amerks back on top three minutes later, but Hamilton quickly answered, and the two teams left to the second intermission tied at three each. Nathan Lieuwen would later say that he watched his team sit back in the second. Yup. That would be accurate, Nathan.
Third verse, worst than the first (two). Aliu quickly put Rochester back up on top, but it wasn't enough. Hamilton scored three more unanswered goals, including an empty netter, and the deal was done. Aliu said after the game, "it's early in the season. It's better that it happens now than later on." He's right. It's only game two. But I shouldn't be sitting here saying, "oh, well, it's only game two. No worries." There's a lot of things to be worried about, and the big on is the word that kept coming out of Coach Cassidy's mouth in his postgame.
Tired. Everyone was tired. Everyone was giving up chances. It. Was. Game. Two. What happens when it's game 52? Or 72? This is the AHL. Back to back games are a way of life, not a minor inconvenience. Cassidy said that he thought the team was "leaky" well before the collapse in the third period, but otherwise thought they played well. I guess we'll have to agree to disagree, Coach. They were dominated but lucky in the first and were sloppy the rest of the game. Tonight was not one of their strong nights, not even with only two games under their belts.
The good thing is, as Aliu said, it is still early in the season. The Amerks head to Toronto to face the Marlies on October 18, then are back home to take on the Rockford Icehogs October 22. They will meet the Adirondack Flames in a home and home on October 24th and 25th. I am hopeful that some rest and practice will do the boys good in the games to come.