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by Staff Writer / Buffalo Sabres

Luke Adam scored a pair of goals, including one with one-tenth of a second left in regulation, but time unfortunately got the best of the Rochester Americans Friday afternoon at Vaillant Arena, where the Amerks dropped a 4-3 decision to CSKA Moscow in a second-round matchup of the 2013 Spengler Cup in Davos, Switzerland.

Phil Varone also scored a goal to go along with an assist, while goaltender Matt Hackett turned in another solid performance, stopping 34 of 38 shots in the loss, which drops the Amerks to 0-2 in the tournament thus far.

Igor Grigorenko (2+1) and Alexander Radulov (1+2) each notched three points to pace CSKA Moscow, and Nikita Zaitsev recorded a pair of assists behind a 25-save effort from goaltender Ratislav Stana. The game also featured the return of three-time Stanley Cup champion Sergei Fedorov, who earned an assist in the win for the Russians.


“I thought our effort tonight was great,” said Amerks coach Chadd Cassidy. “The guys executed and played as a team. We made some mistakes, but I thought all-in-all our game was pretty solid. Unfortunately, it was a little bit too late, but I thought we did a real good job.”

The teams exchanged several scoring chances early in the first period, with CSKA Moscow getting an opportunity just over five minutes in when David Nemirovsky caused a turnover at his own blueline and sped off on a breakaway. Nemirovsky was able to get the shot off, but thanks to a combination of Hackett standing strong in addition to solid back-checking by the Rochester defensemen, the Amerks were able to successfully clear the zone and transition in the other direction.

Just minutes later, and with Rochester maintaining much of the game’s momentum, Colin Jacobs jumped on a turnover at the Russian blueline and sprung Alex Hutchings free with a quick release pass despite absorbing a hard body check. Hutchings drove to the net, but his offering was quickly met with Stana’s glove to keep the game scoreless.

For the second straight game, the Amerks fell into early penalty trouble and CSKA Moscow would need only 37 seconds to capitalize on the man-advantage at 15:02 of the first period. After Hackett made the initial save on Nikolai Prokhorkin’s shot from the high point, the puck pinballed through the crease before eventually finding Grigorenko, who flipped the rebound over the defenseless netminder for a 1-0 lead.

Looking as if the Russians would carry the lead into intermission, the Amerks retaliated with just 5.2 seconds remaining as Varone converted Adam’s rebound for Rochester’s first goal of the tournament. Adam broke through the middle of ice and placed a shot on goal that missed high and wide of the net. Varone, left unmarked to the left of the cage, jumped on the loose puck and buried it past Stana for the equalizer to send the teams into the first intermission tied at one apiece.

Rochester took its first lead of the tournament just 28 seconds into the second stanza as the line of Adam, Varone and Dan Catenacci connected again to put the Amerks on top 2-1. Catenacci began the play when he burst into CSKA Moscow’s zone with speed up the left wing boards. Before hitting the corner, Catenacci cycled the puck back to Varone, who then moved off the half-wall and fired a shot on goal that Adam redirected past Stana from the top of the crease.

The lead would be short-lived, however, as CSKA Moscow answered back just 3:03 later when Radulov received a long stretch pass from Grigorenko and took advantage of an open lane to the net before beating Hackett from the left face-off circle to make it a 2-2 game.

The Russians regained the lead 8:46 into the third period on the power-play as Prokhorkin tipped in a one-timer from Nikita Zatisev to put CSKA Moscow ahead 3-2. Fedorov would also earn an assist on the play. Just minutes later, Radulov, having just stepped out of the penalty box, sprung Grigorenko free with an outlet pass from the neutral zone and Grigorenko made good on the opportunity, beating Hackett with a quick backhand to forehand deke for what proved to be the eventual game-winner.

With a minute left in regulation, Rochester pulled Hackett in favor of an extra attacker and the Amerks would take advantage of the opportunity as Adam swept in a rebound just as time expired. Upon further review, the goal would ultimately be granted by the officials for a 4-3 score, but Rochester would come up short.

After having Saturday off, the Amerks return to the international stage when they take on either Vitkovice or HC Davos on Sunday, Dec. 29 at 8:15 p.m. (2:15 p.m. EST) in the quarterfinal round of the 2013 Spengler Cup at Vaillant Arena.

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