The Rochester Americans and Hershey Bears, the two oldest clubs in the AHL, played Saturday night at Giant Center in the 447th all-time meeting between the teams, and the Bears used five unanswered goals to defeat the Amerks, 5-1.
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Joel Armia scored the lone Rochester goal, his fourth of the season and second in as many games, on assists from Phil Varone and Dan Catenacci. Goaltender Matt Hackett made his third consecutive start and stopped 32 of 36 shots.
Hershey’s Brandon Segal finished with two goals and an assist to lead the Bears, while Cameron Schilling, Matt Watkins and Casey Wellman each scored a goal as well. Bears goaltender David Leggio, who spent the past two seasons with the Amerks, stopped 20 of 21 shots to earn the win.
After breaking out for five goals in Friday night’s win over Utica, the Rochester offense got off to a quick start on Saturday as the team took a 1-0 lead just 5:19 into the game. Catenacci got the puck to Varone deep in the Hershey zone, and the Amerks’ leader in points and assists made a perfect setup pass from the right corner to the high slot, where Armia blasted a one-timer past Leggio to put the Amerks on top.
Late in the second period, back-to-back penalties to the Amerks gave Hershey the chance to get back into the game. During a 5-on-3 advantage, Segal put Hershey on the board when he gained control of the puck in the left face-off circle and attacked the net, stick-handling through traffic and slipping a shot past a screened Hackett for the tying goal. Chay Genoway and Wellman collected the assists on the goal.
With Hershey still on the power play, the Bears struck again to take a 2-1 lead just 44 seconds later when Wellman finished off a one-timer from the left face-off dot. He took a feed from Peter LeBlanc and snuck a shot just inside the left post for the go-ahead goal. Nate Schmidt also picked up an assist on the goal.
Hershey extended its lead to 3-1 just 2:58 into the third period when Schilling netted his first of the season. A shot by Segal was stopped by Hackett, resulting in a goalmouth scramble just outside the crease. Schilling was able to locate the loose puck and push it past Hackett, as the puck just made its way across the goal line.
The Bears went up 4-1 at the 7:52 mark of the third. Ryan Stoa took the puck hard to the net from the right corner and was denied by Hackett. Stoa collided with a Rochester defender and his momentum took him through Hackett, knocking the goaltender out of his crease, and Segal was there to sweep the puck into the open net for the power play goal. Later in the third period, Matt Watkins tacked on an empty net goal to make it a 5-1 final score.
The Amerks return home on Wednesday, Jan. 8 to host the Binghamton Senators at The Blue Cross Arena in Rochester’s first appearance on home ice of the New Year. Puck drop is slated for 7:05 p.m., and the game can be heard live on Sports 1280 WHTK and will be televised on Time Warner Cable SportsChannel .