One night after the Rochester Americans shut out the Abbotsford Heat, the same two teams met again in Rochester, and the Heat pulled out a 3-2 overtime win at The Blue Cross Arena on Friday. The Amerks rallied from a two-goal deficit to force overtime and gain a point, but former Amerk Clay Wilson scored 22 seconds into overtime for his third point of the night to secure the Abbotsford victory.
Wilson’s three-point night included a goal and two assists, with Ben Walter also contributing a pair of assists in the win. Akim Aliu and Dustin Sylvester rounded out the goal scoring for Abbotsford and goaltender Leland Irving finished with 27 saves.
Igor Gongalsky and Paul Szczechura both lit the lamp for Rochester, who rallied back from a 2-0 deficit to tie the game midway through the third period. Netminder David Leggio turned away 29 shots in his third straight start between the pipes.
“We have the ability to come back in every game we play,” Leggio said afterwards. “In that third period especially I thought we were spectacular and we definitely could have won that game. Three points isn’t bad at home but we have to go on the road tomorrow and get a big win.”
The Heat struck first on the power play at 7:49 of the opening period for a 1-0 lead, breaking their scoreless drought that spanned over two full games and 132 minutes of play. Wilson’s wrister from center point was deflected along the way by Aliu and eluded a maze of bodies before beating Leggio high to the glove side.
Abbotsford doubled its advantage to 2-0 at the 7:22 mark of the middle frame, capitalizing on a Rochester turnover while breaking out of the zone. An errant pass dribbled to Wilson at center point once again, and the Heat blueliner immediately stepped into a slapper that was tipped by Sylvester en route to the net and changed direction on Leggio.
The Amerks got on the board to cut their deficit in half with just 53 seconds remaining in the second, as Gongalsky potted his second goal as an Amerk. A centering pass off the stick of Travis Turnbull from the right half-wall that was one-touched by Maxime Legault made its way to Gongalsky, who wasted no time in burying the puck behind Irving.
Rochester tied things up at two apiece at 7:35 of the final period, as Szczechura drove to the low slot and deposited a Phil Varone feed from behind the net. With the secondary assist on the play, Marcus Foligno has now tallied points in three straight games.
Wilson netted the game-winning goal 22 seconds into overtime, ripping a slapper from the high slot off the crossbar and into the net just after a penalty assessed to Rochester late in regulation had expired.
The Amerks hit the road on Saturday as they journey to Central New York for the second time in two weeks to take on the Syracuse Crunch at the War Memorial at Oncenter as Rochester closes out a three-in-three weekend. The 7:30 p.m. matchup will be the sixth of 10 get-togethers between the longtime intrastate rivals and can be heard live on 107.3 FM and 1280 AM, Rochester’s Sports Talk.