The Rochester Americans and Oklahoma City Barons closed out their season series on Friday night at The Blue Cross Arena as the teams met for the second straight night, and despite battling back on two separate occasions in the third period to pull within a goal, the Amerks dropped a 4-2 decision to the Barons. With the loss, the Amerks move to 17-15-5-3 on the season as they prepare to close out the weekend with a road game against the Grand Rapids Griffins on Saturday.
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“The effort was there,” said forward Travis Turnbull, who scored a goal for the second straight night, giving him three goals in the last four games. “It’s just disappointing to lose two games in a row to (Oklahoma City) after we beat them twice in their barn.”
Defenseman Dylan Yeo notched a pair of goals for Oklahoma City, with Curtis Hamilton and Hunter Tremblay also finding the back of the net. Netminder Yann Danis finished with 22 saves to earn the win.
Jacob Lagace rounded out the goal scoring for Rochester with his 10th of the season in front of a crowd of 6,281. Goaltender Drew MacIntyre turned away 19 of 23 shots between the pipes in his first action since Jan. 6.
The Barons took advantage of a fortunate bounce at 6:19 of the opening period to jump out to a 1-0 lead. An attempted shot just inside the offensive blueline by Teemu Hartikainen was partially blocked and made its way right to Yeo in the slot, where he out-waited MacIntyre and slid a backhand into the vacant net.
Yeo tallied his second straight goal of the period just 1:41 later to make it 2-0 in favor of Oklahoma City, beating MacIntyre with a slapper from the top of the left face-off circle through a screen.
After more than 33 minutes of scoreless play, the Amerks got on the board to cut their deficit in half at 1:08 of the third period and make the score 2-1. Paul Szczechura pick-pocketed an Oklahoma City defender on the left half-boards, allowing Lagace to make his way to the high slot with the loose puck and beat Danis with a wrister high to the blocker side.
The Barons restored their two-goal cushion at 12:40, capitalizing on a turnover high in the defensive zone by Rochester as Hamilton netted his fourth of the season.
Turnbull put home a loose rebound off a shot by Szczechura with 2:11 remaining in regulation to bring the Amerks back to within one, but Oklahoma City’s Tremblay responded less than a minute later, beating MacIntyre off the rush with a wrister from the left circle to make the score 4-2.
Rochester takes to the road for the first of four straight away from The Blue Cross Arena on Saturday, as they visit the North Division rival Grand Rapids Griffins at Van Andel Arena to finish of a three-in-three weekend. The 7 p.m. contest will also be the first of two straight against the Griffins, who the Amerks meet again on Wednesday. Fans can tune in for the live broadcast on 107.3 FM and 1280 AM, Rochester’s Sports Talk.