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Leblanc scores twice as Bulldogs beat Americans in OT

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The Canadian Press
10/25/2013 10:20:56 PM
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HAMILTON, Ont. -- Hamilton's head coach Sylvain Lefebvre says Louis Leblanc is on fire.

A better way to describe the Bulldogs' forward might be clutch.

Leblanc scored his second overtime winner in as many games and Hamilton defeated the Rochester Americans 4-3 in American Hockey League action.

"Hopefully we can stop going into overtime and win these ones in regulation," said Leblanc. "But it was a great game again and I think that our line is clicking and it was great to see chemistry between us three."

Leblanc had two goals, while Nick Tarnasky and Magnus Nygren also scored for the Bulldogs (3-1-2). Robert Mayer made 27 saves in the win.

Luke Adam, Frederick Roy and Brayden McNabb scored for the Americans (3-2-1), while Nathan Lieuwen stopped 28 shots.

Leblanc brought a back-and-forth game to a close at 1:26 in OT, when Drew Schiestel found him with a short pass along the red-line and Leblanc elevated a backhand effort past Lieuwen.

Leblanc now has five points in his past two games.

"The guys are feeling good and Louis is on fire right now," said Lefebvre. "We've just got to keep piling up the points."

Gabriel Dumont nearly opened the scoring for the Bulldogs three minutes into the first period, when a loose puck deflected to him in the low slot. But his quick wrist shot eluded Lieuwen only to ring off the near post.

Tarnasky was luckier at 11:22 of the period, when he scored the game's first goal late on a Bulldog power play.

Erik Nystrom brought the puck into the zone and weaved past a defender, only to see the puck drift off of his stick and to Tarnasky, who was planted in front of Lieuwen's net. The winger did the rest, quickly sweeping the puck off the far post and past the Rochester goaltender.

The goalscorer produced another moment worthy of the highlight reel as Hamilton took to the power play again in the final five minutes of the period. Tarnasky carried the puck through the middle of the ice and split two defenders before his backhanded effort was saved by Lieuwen.

Leblanc spoke glowingly of his linemate after Friday's victory.

"A guy like Tarnasky is a great addition to this team," he said. "He intimidates the other guys and I'm definitely really happy that he's on my line."

Hamilton doubled its lead at 2:10 of the second period, capitalizing on another Rochester penalty after Alexander Sulzer was whistled for tripping.

Leblanc received a pass from Duffy behind the red-line, and curled all the way out to the top of the left circle before releasing a low wrist shot that beat Lieuwen through a screen.

The Americans cut their deficit in half on a man advantage of their own, after Leblanc was penalized for holding at 6:42 of the second period.

Rochester's power-play unit moved the puck around the top of the zone with a series of short passes, before Sulzer found Adam in the low slot with a cross-ice pass. The speed of the play left Mayer stranded out of position, and Adam had an empty net to tap the puck into at 7:14.

The Bulldogs restored their two-goal advantage at 8:17 of the period, scoring their third power-play goal of the night when Nygren allowed traffic to form in front of Lieuwen and took a heavy slapshot that beat him high to the glove side.

The Americans struck back just over two minutes later, when Colton Gillies' shot from the blue-line bounced off the end boards to Roy. The forward then quickly slid a wrap-around past Mayer at 10:52 of the second.

The comeback was completed with five seconds to play in the period, as McNabb gathered the puck after an initial effort was blocked, and beat Mayer through the five-hole with his second wrist shot.

Lefebvre cautioned that his team can't allow such letdowns in the future.

"When it's 3-1 early in the second like that, we've got to close the deal and make sure that teams don't come back," he said. "I felt like we gave it to them taking penalties.

"That goal at the end of the second could have been costly, but I think we responded well in the third."

Hamilton went 3-for-7 on the power play after going 0-19 to begin the season.

Hamilton Bulldogs (Photo: TSN)

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(Photo: TSN)
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