The Rochester Americans had their two-game winning streak snapped on Saturday, falling to the Binghamton Senators on the road by a score of 7-3. The loss moves the Amerks’ record to 7-4-2-2, but Rochester remains in first place in the American Hockey League’s North Division.
Forward Mike Zigomanis scored twice for the Amerks while rookie Joel Armia scored the first goal of his North American professional career and Luke Adam registered his team-leading 18th point of the season with an assist. Kevin Sundher, meanwhile, extended his point streak to three games with an assist and goaltender Matt Hackett finished with 31 saves.
Binghamton received two-goal games from both Corey Cowick and Buddy Robinson. Wacey Hamilton recorded three assists while Shane Prince, Stephane Da Costa and Mike Hoffman each notched a goal and an assist. Goaltender Andrew Hammond turned aside 31 of 34 shots to earn the win for Binghamton.
Hackett was tested in the early stages of the contest with the Senators producing several quality scoring chances. First, Hackett made two big saves on Binghamton’s Matt Puempel, including on a point-blank shot with his blocker. Minutes later, Cowick had perhaps the best opportunity of the first period when he was left unmarked at the top of the crease, but the Rochester netminder was again equal to the task, keeping all 13 shots in front of him through the first 20 minutes.
Binghamton’s first power-play of the game also came with numerous scoring chances, but it was Rochester’s penalty kill that would eventually strike first. Fredrik Claesson attempted to set-up his defensive partner Mike Sdao with a one-timer from the left point with 15 seconds remaining in an interference call to Amerks defenseman Nick Crawford. Zigomanis, however, absorbed the blast with his right shin and sped away on a 2-on-1 fast break with Phil Varone that ended with Zigomanis beating Hammond over his glove to put the Amerks on top 1-0. The shorthanded, unassisted tally was Zigomanis’ sixth of the season and second in as many games, giving the 13-year pro points in each of his last three outings.
The lead would be short-lived, though, with the Senators scoring three unanswered goals in a span of 6:26 to open the second period. First, Cowick beat Hackett to the far post on his wraparound attempt at the 3:02 mark to knot the game at one with Hamilton drawing his first of three assists on the game. Binghamton then quickly made it a 3-1 game as Hoffman and Robinson each converted on rebounds 1:42 apart to increase the Senators’ lead by a pair.
Da Costa’s fifth goal of the season put the Amerks into a three-goal hole when he took a centering feed from Hoffman and put it past Hackett at 12:29. With the teams skating four aside after coincidental roughing minors to Drew Bagnall and Robinson, Hoffman connected with a streaking Da Costa, who redirected the pass inside the left post just beyond the outstretched leg of Hackett.
Rochester nearly cut its deficit in half later in the frame when Luke Adam walked in on a shorthanded breakaway looking for his team-leading 14th goal of the season. Adam released a quick shot, attempting to sneak one through the legs of Hammond, but the rookie goaltender shut the door to send the hosts into the second intermission with a 4-1 advantage.
Armia brought the Amerks within a pair early in the third period when he found the back of the net for the first of his North American professional career. After receiving a cross-ice pass from Varone, Armia moved into the right face-off circle and fired a slap-shot over Hammond’s right shoulder. Jerome Gauther-Leduc was also credited with an assist on the goal, which gives Armia points in back-to-back games after making his Amerks debut on Wednesday.
The Senators again widened the gap midway through the final frame when Prince capitalized on a Rochester turnover deep in the Binghamton zone. Prince grabbed the loose puck in the high slot and raced away in the other direction on a breakaway, beating Hackett with a wrist shot to the upper left corner.
The Amerks retaliated less than three minutes later with Zigomanis’ second of the contest. Adam, who entered the game as the AHL’s top goal-scorer, set up the play with a cross-ice pass to Zigomanis, who roofed a shot past Hammond for his seventh goal of the season to make it a 5-3 game.
That was as close as Rochester would get, however, as Binghamton tacked on two goals in the final 90 seconds to come away with the 7-3 win. First, Cowick scored an empty-net goal, then Robinson tipped in a shot by Puempel to round out the scoring.
Following a three-game road swing, the Amerks return home on Wednesday, Nov. 20 to host the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins, who share the East Division lead with Binghamton, at The Blue Cross Arena. The 7:05 p.m. game will be the first of just two meetings between the teams this season and the only matchup in Rochester. The game will be carried live on Sports 1280 WHTK and televised live on Time Warner Cable SportsChannel 26.