(St. John’s, NL) – The St. John’s IceCaps rallied back from two separate one-goal deficits and scored three unanswered goals in the third period to come away with a 5-3 win over the Rochester Americans in the first of two weekend matchups between the North Division rivals Friday at Mile One Centre. The loss snaps a two-game win streak for Rochester, which falls to 3-3-0-0 on the young season heading into Saturday’s rematch against St. John’s.
Second-year forward Evan Rodrigues led the way offensively for the Amerks with his first career multi-goal game while Justin Bailey (1+1) and Erik Burgdoerfer (0+2) each recorded two points. Rookie netminder Jason Kasdorf had a busy night between the pipes for Rochester, stopping 36 of 40 shots sent his way, including 17 in the third period when the IceCaps outshot the Amerks by a 20-8 margin over the final 20 minutes.
Stefan Matteau (1+1) and Mark MacMillan (0+2) each posted two points for St. John’s with Nikita Scherbak, Jeremy Gregoire, Philip Samuelsson and reigning AHL Player of the Week Sven Andrighetto all scoring goals in the win. First-year goaltender Charles Lindren improved to 3-0-0 on the season with a 32-save effort.
Rochester jumped on the IceCaps early, scoring twice in the first seven minutes of the contest to storm out to a 2-0 lead. Rodrigues opened the scoring 4:35 in after taking a clearing pass from Burgdoerfer the length of the ice and snapping a wrist shot high over the catching glove of Lindgren for his first of two on the night.
The Amerks upped their lead to a pair just 2:25 later on a power-play strike from Bailey. Taylor Fedun unleashed a blast from the point that saw its way through traffic but was blocked away by Lindgren. The rebound, however, caromed out to the top of the crease to Bailey, who chipped it over the St. John’s netminder with a one-handed swipe for his third goal of the season.
The IceCaps mounted their comeback late in the opening frame with a power-play goal of their own. Matteau maneuvered his way through the Rochester zone before sending a cross-ice pass through the low slot to a wide-open Scherbak. The IceCaps forward took two more strides and put a shot on net that somehow squeaked through the pads of Kasdorf to cut the deficit in half.
St. John’s eventually found the equalizer at 13:38 of the second period on the strength of a spectacular individual effort from MacMillan. After Brett Lernout forced a turnover deep in the IceCaps zone, MacMillan corralled the loose puck from behind his own goal-line and went end-to-end before setting up Gregoire for a far side tap-in to make it a 2-2 game.
Rochester, however, would answer with less than a minute to play in the middle frame as Rodrigues scored his second of the night to put the Amerks in front entering the break. With William Carrier providing a screen in front, Rodrigues took a pass from Burgdoerfer at the St. John’s blueline, skated into the right circle and found an opening inside the near post for a 3-2 Amerks advantage.
The IceCaps clawed their way back again with Samuelsson igniting a three-goal run for the hosts when he stepped into a pass off the left-wing boards from MacMillan that beat Kasdorf 4:04 into the third period.
Andrighetto provided St. John’s with its first lead of the night just 2:41 later, capping a nifty set-up from Daniel Audette with his fourth goal in as many games.
Rochester pulled Kasdorf in favor of the extra attacker with less than a minute remaining in regulation, but Matteau would send his first of the season into the empty net to seal the 5-3 win for St. John’s.
The same two teams meet again on Saturday, Oct. 29 as the Amerks look to settle the score in the back-end of two-game set with the IceCaps at Mile One Centre. Game time is slated for 6:00 p.m. EST and will be carried live on the Sports Leader 95.7 FM/950 AM ESPN Rochester.
RCH: Rodrigues (2), Bailey
STJ: Scherbak, Gregoire, Samuelsson, Andrighetto, Matteau
RCH: Kasdorf – 36/40 (L)
STJ: Lindgren – 32/35 (W)
RCH: PP (2/5) / PK (4/5)
STJ: PP (1/5) / PK (3/5)