Despite battling back from an early two-goal deficit and picking up a point for the second consecutive game, the Rochester Americans came up short to the Binghamton Senators in overtime by a score of 4-3 in front of 5,507 fans at the Blue Cross Arena on Friday night.
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The contest represented the third straight for Rochester that has gone beyond regulation and fifth in the last 10 outings. The Amerks also managed to salvage at least a point for the ninth time in the last 11 games.
Colin Stuart contributed a pair of goals for Rochester in the loss with Maxime Legault also finding the back of the net. Netminder David Leggio finished with 33 saves in what was his 12th consecutive start, including a point-preserving kick-save in the closing seconds of regulation.
“The game was in balance for a long time, but we just didn’t take a hold of it,” Stuart said.
David Dziruzynski, Mike Hoffman, Dan Henningson and Eric Gryba each provided a goal for Binghamton, while Jack Downing chipped in two assists. Between the pipes, Robin Lehner turned away 25 of the 28 shots directed his way by the Amerks.
The Senators spotted themselves an early 2-0 advantage with a pair of goals before the game was four minutes old. First, at 2:18, a right-point shot from the stick of Dziurzunski on the power-play found its way through a maze of bodies and eluded Leggio. Hoffman then followed up with a goal off the rush at 3:45, as he beat Leggio with a low wrister from the left circle.
The Amerks got on the board to cut the deficit in half at the 13:16 mark of the first. Legault carried the puck down the right wing boards into the offensive zone and released a quick wrister from the face-off dot that trickled through Lehner before crossing the line. Mark Voakes recorded the primary assist on the play, marking his seventh in the past four games.
Rochester knotted things up 2-2 while skating at a man-disadvantage with just 1:01 remaining in the opening period. Driving the net, Stuart redirected a goal-mouth feed from Alex Biega past Lehner to extend his point streak to four games (2+3).
The Amerks took the lead for the first time in the contest at 16:25 of the middle frame as Stuart poked home a rebound. After Phil Varone took a breakaway pass out of the penalty box and was initially denied by Lehner, Stuart crashed the net to poke in his second of the night and 11th of the season. The tally also represented the 200th point of the Rochester captain’s AHL career.
Binghamton tied the game once again at three apiece with just four seconds to go in the second. With the club breaking in on an odd-man rush, Henningson took a pass at the left circle and sent a wrist shot over the glove of Leggio.
After neither team was able to cash-in throughout the third period, the game headed to overtime, where Gryba secured the victory for the Sens 34 seconds in. Stephane Da Costa won a right-circle face-off straight back to Gryba, who immediately fired a wrister through traffic to the top corner.
The Amerks journey to Central New York for the second time in eight nights on Saturday, March 24 as they take on the Syracuse Crunch at the War Memorial at Oncenter. The 7:30 p.m. contest will be the ninth of 10 meetings between the two teams this season and will be carried live on 107.3 FM and 1280 AM, Rochester’s Sports Talk. Saturday’s game will also be televised live on Time Warner Cable SportsNet Channel 26 for viewers back in Rochester.