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Rochester gets set for back-to-back home games

by Rochester Americans @AmerksHockey / Amerks.com

The Rochester Americans won a big overtime game at KeyBank Center on Wednesday, but over the weekend, Syracuse again had their number as the Amerks fell in back-to-back games against the Crunch. 

Through 55 games, the Amerks are 22-31-0-2 with 46 points.

The Sabres also made a trade on Tuesday that affected the Amerks roster. The team acquired defenseman Mat Bode from the New York Rangers for forward Dan Catenacci. Through 45 games with the Hartford Wolf Pack of the AHL, Bodie has eight goals and 22 assists, currently making him the Amerks fourth-leading scorer.  

 

Wednesday: UTI 2 - RCH 3 (OT)

Utica 2 - Rochester 3 (OT)

The Rochester Americans earned a 3-2 overtime decision over the Utica Comets (21-23-7-2) just 24 seconds into the extra session with Cal O'Reilly's ninth goal of the season. It marked the second straight season that O'Reilly sealed an Amerks win in Buffalo in a game that went beyond regulation after he scored the in the third-round of the shootout last season.

While O'Reilly scored to give the Amerks back-to-back wins for the first time since Dec. 31 - Jan. 6, rookie forwards Hudson Fasching and Vaclav Karabacek each lit the lamp in the victory. O'Reilly now shows 32 points (7+25) over his last 35 games and Karabacek has scored in consecutive games for the first time in his AHL career.

At the backend of the ice for Rochester, goaltender Linus Ullmark improved to 20-19-2 on the campaign after making 37 saves on 39 shots. The Swedish netminder boasts a record of 12-9-1 over his last 22 appearances and has won each of his last two starts.

The Comets picked up goals from centers Mike Zalewski and Cody Kunyk while Richard Bachman stopped 23 of the 26 shots he faced and dropped to 12-11-3 on the campaign.

A full 60 minutes was not enough to decide a winner between the two North Division rivals as the game was tied at 2-2.

Despite losing the opening face-off to begin the extra session, Amerks forward Nick Baptiste forced a Comet into the far corner before gathering control of the puck.

As the second-year pro tried to make a move on the cage, Bachman dove to poke the puck away from Baptiste but O'Reilly was quick to scoop it up. Rochester's captain tapped home his ninth marker of the slate to gain the extra point for the Amerks.

"It was not a Picasso out there," said Amerks head coach Dan Lambert describing the overtime winner. "I don't know if it was the Buffalo ice, but the result was there.

 

Friday: RCH 4 - SYR 5

Crunch 5 - Amerks 4

The Amerks' bid for their third consecutive victory was snapped by a late push by the Syracuse Crunch, who scored twice in the final 1:11 of regulation, including the game-winner with just six seconds remaining, to come out on top in a wild 5-4 contest Friday at The Blue Cross Arena to kick-off a weekend home-and-home series.

Rookie forward Hudson Fasching recorded his first career multi-goal game while newcomer Derek Grant, who was reassigned earlier in the day by the Buffalo Sabres, notched his first two-points (0+2) in his Amerks debut.

Brady Austin opened the scoring on the night while goaltender Linus Ullmark, whose started 13 of the last 14 games for Rochester, made 28 saves in the defeat. The netminder shows a record of 20-20-2 on the campaign.

Matthew Peca (1+2), Adam Comrie (0+2) and Joel Vermin (1+1) all turned in multi-point efforts to close out a six-game road trip for the Crunch. Kristers Gudlevskis stopped 18 of the 23 shots he faced to improve to 10-8-6 on the season.

Entering the third period, the Amerks were down 3-2, but thanks to Fasching's fifth and sixth goals of the season, it was the home club in front with just over seven minutes left in the frame.

"Derek (Grant) and I played together on a line in with the Sabres in the past," said Fasching. "That helped our chemistry tonight and he and Patrick Mullen made great plays to help set up both of my goals."

After a Rochester tripping infraction with 2:13 left in regulation, Syracuse pulled Gudlevskis for a six-on-four man-advantage and tied the contest at 4-4 with 71 seconds showing on the clock after Adam Erne batted a puck out of midair past Ullmark.

However, for the Amerks, the Crunch carried the momentum and took the lead with less than six seconds remaining in the contest to put an end to Rochester's two-game win streak as they picked up a 5-4 victory.

"The Amerks have been in a situation before when they needed to battle back and tie a game," Grant said. "They have shown they can take over games during certain times of a period but we must learn how to close out the games as well."

 

Saturday: RCH 3 - SYR 4

Amerks 3 - Crunch 4

After falling behind 3-0 in the first period, the Amerks pulled within a goal less than five minutes into the third but could not find the equalizer as they suffered a 4-3 loss to the Crunch in the second game of a weekend home-and-home series Saturday at the Onondaga County War Memorial Arena. The contest was the 10th and final meeting between the two North Division foes this season.

For the second time in the last three games, Tim Kennedy paced the Amerks with his fifth multi-point (0+2) effort of the season.

The veteran forward has recorded six assists over his last five games. Alexander Nylander sparked the Amerks scoring with a power-play tally before Kyle Bonis and Nick Baptiste capped off the goals. Goaltender John Muse made 31 saves in his second start in the last five games but took the loss.

Erik Condra led the North Division-leading Crunch with his first-career hat trick while Yanni Gourde, who provided the game-winner in last night's 5-4 win in Rochester, contributed to the offense with his 20th goal of the campaign to go along with an assist. Adam Wilcox improved his record on the season to 18-9-4 after turning aside 27 shots over the course of the night.

After allowing three goals in the opening period, including one in the game's first minute, the Amerks got on the board with Nylander's second power-play goal of the season and seventh overall 8:57 into the middle frame. The rookie's tally was his second in the last four games from Kennedy and newcomer Derek Grant, who picked up a pair of assists in his Amerks debut last night.

Syracuse, however, would regain its three-goal lead with Condra's third of the night at the 15:59 mark after he beat Muse on a one-timer from a tough angle to make it a 4-1 game. The hat trick was the first three-goal performance allowed by the Amerks since Hunter Shinkaruk of the Utica Comets back on Oct. 21 of last season.

 

Coming up

The Amerks return home to The Blue Cross Arena for a four-game homestand, beginning on Friday, March 3 as they welcome the St. John's IceCaps for a 7:05 p.m. face-off on Hall of Fame Night. All of the action will be carried live on The Sports Leader 95.7 FM/950 AM ESPN Rochester.

Rochester is also home on Saturday for Super Hero Night. Tickets are available here for the 7:05 face off. 
 

Scoring leaders 

1. Cole Schneider 19G - 26A - 45 PTS
2. Cal O'Reilly 9G - 32A - 41 PTS
3. Nicholas Baptiste 20G - 12A - 32 PTS
4. Mat Bodie 8G - 22A - 30 PTS
5. Justin Bailey 19G - 10A - 29 PTS

 

Goaltending leaders

1. Linus Ullmark 20-20-2; 2.90 GAA; .910 SV%
2. John Muse 2-8-0; 3.37 GAA; .901 SV%
3. Jason Kasdorf 0-3-0; 5.75 GAA; .828 SV%

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