The name is Trotter. Brock Trotter. Licence to score goals.
Sounds like a really bad alternative remake of a James Bond movie? Perhaps, but the Hamilton Bulldogs are not complaining. Trotter is having a triumphant season for the Dogs, currently leading the team with 20 goals, nine of which have come during this month of January alone. He is also second in assists with 25, one less than David Desharnais who leads in that department with 26.
Freshly rested from their 5 days off during the American Hockey League All-Star break, Brock Trotter and the rest of the Bulldogs played two games this past week to begin a road trip which will see the team play 6 times during the next week and a half.
On Friday January 22nd, the Hamilton Bulldogs traveled to the Blue Cross Arena in Rochester, New York, to play their arch-rivals, the Rochester Americans. This was the seventh of ten meeting between the North Division opponents this season. In their last meeting on January 15th, the Bulldogs and the Americans gave the 7,120 fans at Copps Coliseum in Hamilton a night to remember, scoring a combined 10 goals in regulation, with the visitors taking a 6-5 victory in a shootout.
Overall, the Dogs are 2-3-0-1 against Rochester so far this season. Traditionally, the Amerks (affiliate of the Florida Panthers) give the Dogs a tough battle out there on the ice, but this time it was Hamilton, led once again by Brock Trotter, who would give it to Rochester with a 6-1 Bulldogs win.
The Bulldogs opened the game’s scoring at 7:06 of the first period. David Desharnais sent a pass to Trotter, who used a backhand to put the puck over Rochester starting goaltender Alexander Salak and into the top of the net. The ‘Dogs took a 2-0 lead at 9:08. Salak collected the puck behind the net before becoming tangled up with Ben Maxwell. The puck slid out to Tom Pyatt, who was positioned in front of the net and fired a shot into the open net. At 18:54, J.T. Wyman scored to give Hamilton a 3-0 lead.
Tyler Plante replaced Salak in the Rochester net to start the second period. Trotter added his second goal 44 seconds into the second frame to make the score 4-0. Maxwell dished a pass to Trotter, who sent a shot between the legs of Plante. The ‘Dogs took a 5-0 lead at 8:37. Desharnais sprung Ryan White on a breakaway. White used a deke on Plante before depositing the puck behind the goaltender and into the net.
Rochester finally solved Hamilton Bulldogs starting goaltender, Cedrick Desjardins, 53 seconds into the third period when they beat the Canadian AHL All-Star goalie and got onto the score sheet to cut the Bulldogs lead to 5-1.
At 10:08 Wyman added his second goal of the night. Grant Stevenson received the puck from Greg Stewart before sending a pass to Wyman. Wyman fired a shot off the inside goal post to give the Hamilton Bulldogs a 6-1 victory.
The following night, the Dogs would continue their road trip, this time returning closer to home as they traveled to the Ricoh Coliseum in Toronto to take on the Toronto Marlies, affiliate of the Toronto Maple Leafs.
This game would mark the fifth of twelve meetings between the North Division rivals this season. The Bulldogs and Marlies last faced-off against each other over the Christmas Holidays, with the hometown Bulldogs giving their fans a Christmas present, defeating the visiting Marlies 5-2.
This time around, the Toronto Marlies would prevail, handing Hamilton a 4-3 loss.
The Marlies opened the game’s scoring at 4:55 of the first period. Viktor Stalberg held the puck at the left side of the net before centering a pass to Justin Hodgman, who one-timed a shot past Hamilton starting goaltender Cedrick Desjardins. Toronto took a 2-0 lead at 9:22 while on a power play. Kyle Calder received the puck from Christian Hanson, before sending a cross-ice pass to Tim Brent. Brent fired a one-time shot that beat Desjardins just under the glove.
Curtis Sanford replaced Cedrick Desjardins following this goal.
While on a power play, the Marlies scored to take a 3-0 lead one minute into the second stanza. Hanson fired a shot from the left side of the net that was stopped by Sanford. The rebound popped onto the stick of Stalberg, who was positioned at the right side of the net. Stalberg sent a shot past the sprawling arm of Sanford and into the back of the net.
The ‘Dogs got on the scoreboard at 5:40 of the middle frame. Ryan White sent a backhand pass to Ben Maxwell, who was stationed at the top of the right faceoff circle. Maxwell rifled a shot that sailed over the glove of Toronto starting goaltender Joey MacDonald.
The Marlies regained their three-goal lead at 7:20 of the second period. Calder and Hanson skated into Hamilton’s zone on a two-on-one. Calder waited patiently before dishing a pass to Hanson, who fired a shot to the left of Sanford and into the back of the net.
While on a 5-on-3 power play, David Desharnais cut Toronto’s lead in half at 18:02 of the second stanza. Desharnais sent a pass to Yannick Weber, who proceeded to set P.K. Subban up for a one-time shot. Subban blasted a shot from the point that bounced off a skate of a player in front of the net and onto the stick of Desharnais. Desharnais fired the puck past a sprawled MacDonald and into the net.
Greg Stewart made the game 4-3 at 2:25 of the third period but Toronto would hang on to get the win.
As the road trip continues for the Hamilton Bulldogs with upcoming games in Rockford, Chicago, and Milwaukee, the “Baby Habs” currently sit in 1st place in the North Division; 1st place in the Western Conference; and 2nd place overall in the AHL with a record of 27-12-3-4 and 61 points.