(Rochester, NY) – After trailing 2-1 midway through the first period in Friday’s game against the Hartford Wolf Pack (3-7-0-0), the Rochester Americans (6-5-0-0) answered for the game’s next four goals to defeat the Wolf Pack by a score of 5-2 at The Blue Cross Arena.
The Amerks were led by defenseman Taylor Fedun’s career-high four-point night (1+3). His previous high was a three-point outing on Mar. 30, 2013 when he notched a goal and two assists with the Oklahoma City Barons. In addition to Fedun’s multi-point night, Justin Kea collected his first two goals of the season, including the game-winner while recording his first two-goal outing at the AHL level. Goaltender Linus Ullmark improved his record to 5-3-0 after stopping 29 of the 31 shots he faced in what was his fourth straight start between the pipes.
|DAN LAMBERT POST-GAME|
|TAYLOR FEDUN POST-GAME|
|JUSTIN KEA POST-GAME|
Rounding out the scoring for Rochester were rookie forwards Alexander Nylander, who also added an assist for the first multi-point game of his young career, and Daniel Muzito-Bagenda, Nylander’s teammate last season in Mississauga, who scored his first pro goal.
Chris Brown and Marek Hrivik each lit the lamp for the Wolf Pack as rookie netminder Brandon Halverson suffered the loss in his AHL debut, stopping 14 of 19.
The Amerks were trailing 2-1 with 6:27 left in the first period after Kea opened the scoring only to have the Wolf Pack respond for the next two markers.
“We are starting to learn as a team on how to handle some adversity like giving up the pair of quick goals and losing the lead,” said Fedun. “The message during the intermission was to stay the course and just continue to play our game. We were playing a strong game and we were not getting outplayed, but they answered.”
With less than two minutes remaining in the period, Fedun picked up a loose puck in the middle of the Pack zone. The Edmonton native fired a shot past Halverson’s blocker with 95 seconds left to even the score at 2-2. Eric Cornel and Brady Vail each got credit with the assists.
“During the goal, I knew I had time with the Wolf Pack collapsing towards the net,” said Fedun. “With room on the blueline, I was able to capitalize on the open space with the goal.”
The teams traded chances in the middle period until the Amerks scored a pair of power-play goals to break open a 4-2 lead.
Following a Hartford hooking penalty, the home team controlled the puck in the offensive zone for majority of the infraction. With Fedun again patrolling the blueline, the veteran defenseman flung a shot towards the cage that Kea was able to redirect past Halverson for his second tally of the contest.
The two-goal outing for Kea was his first in the AHL and the second of his professional career. The last time he picked up a pair of goals in a game came back on Dec. 16, 2015 as a member of the Elmira Jackals of the ECHL.
“It felt good to get the monkey off my back,” said Kea. “The goals helped calm a lot of self-pressure I had on myself. I kind of forgot what the goal horn sounded like, so to get a pair of goals, it was big for me and the team.”
As in the first period, the Amerks scored on another late period goal this time thanks to Nylander. The marker was his third of the campaign and his first power-play goal of the season. The 18-year-old forward fired a shot from the left faceoff dot after Cal O’Reilly set him up from behind the net. Fedun also factored in on the tally at the 18:21 mark of the second period.
Leading after 40 minutes by the score of 4-2, the Amerks closed out the scoring on the night when Muzito-Bagenda bagged his first pro goal with 11:26 remaining. He sent a wrist-shot past Halverson from the right faceoff dot with Justin Bailey earning the lone assist.
The Amerks hit the road for the first of back-to-back road contests to close out the weekend on Saturday, Nov. 12 as they travel make their way east for a North Division showdown against the Syracuse Crunch at the War Memorial Arena. The 7:05 p.m. matchup will be the fourth of 10 meetings between the two teams this season and will be carried live on The Sports Leader 95.7 FM/950 AM ESPN Rochester.
RCH: Kea (1, 2), Fedun (2), Nylander (3), Muzito-Bagenda (1)
HFD: Brown (2), Hrivik (5)
RCH: Ullmark – 29/31 (W)
HFD: Halverson – 14/19 (L)
RCH: PP (2/2) / PK (3/3)
HFD: PP (0/3) / PK (0/2)