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Amerks keep rolling, collect 5 of 6 points over the weekend

by Rochester Americans @AmerksHockey /

The Rochester Americans enter the week ranked fifth overall in the American Hockey League and sit seven points back of the Toronto Marlies for first place in the North Division with an 11-5-2-1 overall record. Their 11 wins are tied for fourth-most in the league.

The Amerks claimed five out of a possible six points this past week and have collected at least one point in 10 of their last 11 games, including seven straight to open the month of November. 

Following a 6-5 overtime loss in Syracuse on Wednesday, Rochester closed out the week with back-to-back wins over Binghamton, beginning with a dominating 10-3 victory on Friday. It was the first time the Amerks scored 10 in a game since a 10-4 win over the Binghamton Senators on Dec. 16, 2006. They also became the first AHL team to reach the 10-goal mark since the Toronto Marlies handed the Amerks a 10-5 loss back on Feb. 27, 2016. 

Rochester completed the sweep the following night against the Devils, scoring twice in the third period to erase a 3-1 deficit before Casey Nelson provide the overtime winner.

The Amerks lead the AHL in games played beyond regulation with eight this season, including two this past week. Rochester is 3-2 in overtime and holds a 2-1 record in shootouts.

Wednesday: RCH 5 - SYR 6 (OT)

Watch: Youtube Video

After a back-and-forth battle throughout regulation, the Rochester Americans fell in overtime, 6-5, to the North Division rival Syracuse Crunch in a game that saw goals from 11 different players. Of the 17 games this season, Rochester has seen seven go beyond regulation play, two of which have been against the Crunch.

The night was full of firsts on Rochester's end with Amerks forward Sean Malone scoring his first professional goal, defenseman Conor Allen netting his first goal as an Amerk and Evan Rodrigues picking up his first point of the season with an assist. Linus Ullmark, who entered the game on a career-long five-game win streak, turned in a solid 43-save effort as Rochester was able to gain a point for the eighth time in its last nine games.

For Syracuse, Matthew Peca and former Amerk Mat Bodie tallied their first goals of the year, and Reid McNeill notched his first point. Multi-point nights were had by Colin Blackwell (0+2), Nick Baptiste (1+1), Dominik Masin and Matthew Peca.

The Crunch began firing on all cylinders and opened scoring just 1:18 into the pre-Thanksgiving Day matchup, as Alexander Volkov tallied his third of the season with assists from Peca and McNeil.

Friday: BNG 3 - RCH 10

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The Rochester Americans (10-5-2-1) took an early three-goal lead just 5:18 into Friday night's contest at The Blue Cross Arena and never looked back on their way to a 10-3 rout over the Binghamton Devils (6-9-2-0) in the first game of a home-and-home series between to the North Division rivals.

The 10-goal outburst was the first time the Amerks scored 10 since Dec. 16, 2006 in a 10-4 win over the Binghamton Senators. Rochester also became the first AHL team to score 10 goals in a game since the Toronto Marlies handed the Amerks a 10-5 loss back on Feb. 27, 2016.

With the win, the Amerks improved to 6-1-2-1 in their last 10 games overall while collecting 19 out of a possible 26 points dating back to Oct. 25. They also hold a record of 6-1-2-1 through their first 10 games in the month of November.

A total of 14 of the 18 Rochester skaters recorded a point led by forward Evan Rodrigues, who collected a career-best four-point night (2+2) while Steve Moses (2+1) and Sahir Gill (0+3) each notched three-point outings to give the Amerks their fourth straight victory on home ice. Hudson Fasching scored twice while Brendan Guhle, Alexander Nylander, C.J. Smith and Sean Malone all provided single tallies. Goaltender Linus Ullmark, who has won eight of his last nine outings, which includes a career-best five-game win-streak over that stretch, improved to 9-3-1 with the win. The reigning Amerks MVP is now tied for the tops in the AHL with nine victories.

Bracken Kearns and Viktor Loov each recorded their third goals of the slate along with an assist for Binghamton while both goaltenders Makenzie Blackwood and Ken Appleby combined for 19 saves in the loss.

The Amerks scored three goals in the opening 5:18 of the game to chase Blackwood from the crease early on as Nylander and Rodrigues added their first markers of the season before Malone slipped a backhanded shot over the glove of the netminder with 14:42 left in the stanza.

"It was an awesome game," Fasching said. "The fans were into the game as they were loud and it is not that often you get that many goals in a game. As a team, we have a lot of positive energy and are feeling pretty good about our game, but we have to just keep working on getting better and better each day."

As the first-period horn sounded, the Amerks held a 5-2 lead on the scoreboard and a 17-9 shot advantage. Guhle gave Rochester a three-goal cushion at the 10:44 mark of the middle period, but the Devils added a goal late before the end of the stanza.

"We had great first period, but after the second, despite having the lead, we were not happy how we played," said Amerks head coach Chris Taylor. "We sort of got away from our game plan during the period, but I was happy the way we came out in the third."

Carrying a 6-3 lead into the final period, the Amerks scored four goals in a span of 3:14 to make it a 10-3 game.

Saturday: RCH 4 - BNG 3 (OT)

Watch: Youtube Video

The Rochester Americans (11-5-2-1) trailed the Binghamton Devils (6-9-3-0) by a 3-1 score entering the third period, but two quick goals in a 4:04 span followed by the game-winner from Casey Nelson capped a 4-3 come-from-behind overtime win for Amerks to conclude the two-game sweep over the Devils Saturday at Floyd L. Maines Veterans Memorial Arena.

With the win, the Amerks improved to 6-1-2-1 in their last 10 games while collecting 21 out of a possible 28 points dating back to Oct. 25. They also hold a record of 7-1-2-1 through 11 games in the month of November.

Zach Redmond opened the scoring 1:52 into the game for the Amerks and later added an assist to give him six points (2+4) over his last six games while Kevin Porter chipped in a pair of helpers to push his point streak to three games. Rookies Brendan Guhle and C.J. Smith tallied their fifth and sixth goals of the season, respectively, and Adam Wilcox earned his second victory of the slate, stopping 16 of 19 shots.

Rookie forward Blake Spears notched his first-career multi-point (1+1) effort for the Devils, who dropped their third-straight overtime game this season. Kevin Rooney and Yaroslav Dyblenko rounded out the scoring for Binghamton. Meanwhile, goaltender Mackenzie Blackwood, who made his fourth straight start, took the overtime loss.

Scoring leaders 

1. C.J. Smith: 6G - 13A - 19 PTS
2. Sahir Gill: 6G - 9A - 15 PTS
3. Kevin Porter: 5G - 9A - 14 PTS
4. Steve Moses: 5G - 8A- 13 PTS
5. Brendan Guhle: 5G - 7A - 12 PTS

Rookie forward C.J. Smith leads the Amerks with 13 assists and 19 points and is tied for the team lead with six goals in 19 games this season. Smith, who's currently riding a three-game point streak and has goals in back-to-back games, ranks second among all AHL rookies in assists and is tied for 11th overall among the league's top point-getters. He's also tied for second among all first-year skaters with 10 power-play points, including a team-best three power-play tallies. Smith is currently one of just two AHL rookies, joining Tucson's Dylan Strome, to lead his respective team in scoring.

Brendan Guhle remains Rochester's top-scoring blueliner and comes into the week tied for second in scoring among all AHL rookie defensemen with 12 points (5+7), all of which have come in his last 15 games. His 44 shots on goal are also tops amongst first-year blueliners while his three power-play goals are third-most.

Goaltending leaders

Linus Ullmark: 9-3-0; 2.94 GAA; .918 SV%
Adam Wilcox: 2-2-1; 3.40 GAA; .881 SV%


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