HAMILTON, Ont. -- A desperate bid by the Hamilton Bulldogs to generate some offence came back to haunt them.
Luke Adam scored his first of two goals on a counterattack early in the third period, and the Rochester Americans held on for a 3-1 win over the Bulldogs in American Hockey League play Wednesday.
Hamilton suffered its fifth consecutive loss and sixth in seven games. Head coach Sylvain Lefebvre was left to rue his team's costly lapse of judgement.
"We can't have that happen," said Lefebvre. "We refocused in the second period after they got the best of us, and then to start the third period that way is unacceptable."
Phil Varone also scored for the Americans (6-3-4), while Matt Hackett made 26 saves.
Sven Andrighetto had the lone goal for the Bulldogs (5-6-3) while Dustin Tokarski made 34 saves in a losing effort.
The Americans scored the decisive goal just 23 seconds into the third period, as Mike Zigomanis sprung a counter attack.
A well-worked passing play saw Zigomanis move the puck ahead to Kevin Sundher on the right wing. Sundher backhanded a centring pass to Adam, who easily beat Tokarski from the edge of the crease.
"We want to be a team that plays hard defensively, and we're not even doing that right now," said Lefebvre. "We're struggling because we're not doing what we're supposed to be doing.
"We cheat for chances and we haven't been playing well in our own zone."
Tokarski produced a series of pad saves to keep Rochester off the scoreboard in the early minutes of the first period, but his good work was all for naught when Varone scored the game's opening goal at 5:02.
The Rochester forward corralled the puck outside the offensive zone and cut in through the middle of the ice, splitting Hamilton's defenders. He released a quick wrist shot that found an opening between Tokarski's chest and arm to trickle over the goal-line.
Hamilton pounced on a Rochester giveaway to level the game at 14:20 of the period.
A badly-placed exit pass landed on the stick of the forechecking Mike Blunden in the slot, whose initial shot was bobbled by Hackett. The winger crashed the net and was followed by Andrighetto, who alertly fired the loose puck in as it slid to him.
The goal was Andrighetto's team-leading seventh of the season.
It appeared that Rochester had retaken the lead with just over a minute to play in the period, but Jamie Tardif was ruled to have kicked the puck past knocked Tokarski at the end of a goal-mouth scramble on a power play.
Rochester had the clearest chance to score in a sloppy second period, as Zigomanis grabbed a rebound and rung a slap shot off of Tokarski's near post with four and a half minutes to play.
Nathan Beaulieu manufactured an opportunity for the Bulldogs two minutes later, when he walked in from the blue-line and stepped past an American defender before chipping a wrist shot toward Hackett, who slid to turn it aside with his shoulder.
Hamilton captain Martin St. Pierre called for his team to simplify its approach on offence.
"We start out well, but whether we're trying to do to much individually or as a team, we've just got to get back to the basics," said St. Pierre. "Whether it's the first line or the fourth, we've got to get the puck deep and play simple.
"We're getting down on ourselves mentally, and it's affecting us physically."
The Bulldogs have been outscored 12-3 in their past three games.
Notes: Wednesday's contest was the Bulldogs' annual "School Game," bringing Hamilton-area school children to Copps Coliseum for a morning game at 10:00 a.m. a Announced attendance was 12,185.