(Wilkes-Barre, PA) – The Rochester Americans (10-16-0-1) came up on the short end of a 4-1 setback to the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins (18-5-3-0) at the Mohegan Sun Arena Friday night.
Kyle Bonis scored for the third straight game while Justin Bailey and rookie Alexander Nylander picked up the assists on the lone Amerks tally. Goaltender John Muse, making just his fourth start of the season, suffered the loss despite a season-high 40 saves.
Wilkes-Barre/Scranton rookies Jake Guentzel (1+1) and Lukas Bengtsson (1+1) led the Penguins to victory as each recorded a multi-point outing as did David Warsofsky (1+1). For Bengtsson, the Sweden native scored his first pro goal and recorded an assist on the Penguins’ second goal of the night to cap the first two-point outing of his career. First-year netminder Casey DeSmith stopped 26 of the 27 shots in his ninth straight start and improved his record to 7-0-2 while lowering his goal-against average to 1.75, second-best among all AHL goaltenders.
The two clubs held each other in check for majority of the first period, but the Penguins got on the board first late in the opening frame. Guentzel intercepted a breakout pass just inside the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton zone before ripping a wrist shot just inside the right post with 3:18 left in the period for the game’s first tally.
The Penguins carried the momentum of the goal into the middle frame as they doubled and tripled their lead shortly after the halfway point of the contest on back-to-back strikes from Warsofsky and Archibald, respectively.
Rochester had its best offensive opportunity of the night late in the period after Wilkes-Barre/Scranton was whistled for consecutive penalties. Despite a 5-on-3 man-advantage for the visitors, DeSmith made a diving glove save on a close-range attempt from Cal O’Reilly to preserve the Penguins’ three-goal lead.
Wilkes-Barre/Scranton continued to make things difficult on the Amerks as the hosts made it a 4-0 game when Bengtsson tucked a puck behind Muse with 10:48 left in regulation. But the Amerks did not go away without nullifying DeSmith’s bid for his first pro shutout when Bonis fired a shot from in-between the circles off a one-time set-up from Bailey. The blast clanged off the right post and into the net with 1:22 remaining, but it would be as close as Rochester would get.
The Amerks return home on Saturday, Dec. 17 when they host the St. John’s IceCaps at The Blue Cross Arena in the first of a season-long five-game homestand that keeps the team on home ice through the end of the month. The 7:05 p.m. contest will be the fourth of eight scheduled meetings between the North Division rivals this season and will be carried live on The Sports Leader 95.7 FM/950 AM ESPN Rochester.
RCH: Bonis (4)
WBS: Guentzel (11), Warsofsky (4), Archibald (5), Bengtsson (1)
RCH: Muse – 40/44 (L)
WBS: DeSmith – 26/27 (W)
RCH: PP (0/3) / PK (1/1)
WBS: PP (0/1) / PK (3/3)