|DAN LAMBERT POST-GAME|
|JUSTIN BAILEY POST-GAME|
|TAYLOR FEDUN POST-GAME|
(Rochester, NY) – The Rochester Americans (11-16-0-1) bounced back from last night’s defeat Saturday at The Blue Cross Arena, where they defeated the visiting St. John’s IceCaps (14-12-3-0) in overtime, 3-2, to kick-off a season-long five-game homestand. Second-year forward Justin Bailey ignited the home crowd, scoring 1:36 into the extra session to give Rochester its third straight win on home ice dating back to Dec. 2.
The Amerks were led by Bailey (1+1) and defensemen Taylor Fedun (1+1), who was reassigned earlier in the day by the Buffalo Sabres, and Erik Burgdoerfer (0+2), all of whom factored in with multi-point efforts. Mike Aviani opened the scoring for Rochester during the middle period with his second of the season while Bailey closed out the scoring with his ninth marker. Linus Ullmark made 19 saves as he improved his record to 10-10-1. His 10 victories tie his season total from a year ago and also ties for seventh in the AHL.
Max Friberg and Yannick Veilleux each chipped in with a tally to force overtime for the IceCaps and Yann Danis stopped 26 of the 29 shots he faced in the loss.
When the horn sounded after 60 minutes of play, the score was knotted up at two and bonus hockey was required. The Amerks controlled the play during the overtime period as they fired three shots on Danis. Bailey carried the puck into the zone and zipped around the St. John’s defender before tucking the puck inside the far post with 3:24 showing on the clock.
“We did a great job in the overtime period,” said head coach Dan Lambert. “We changed personnel while we had possession of the puck and guys were keeping their shifts short and that is very valuable during the extra session.”
During the first period, the two teams clamped down defensively and limited each other’s scoring opportunities, but the IceCaps scored with less than 30 seconds left.
“I think our team and St. John’s play a lot of the same way,” said Fedun. “There was not a lot of bend during the opening period and we both limited time and space for one another.”
The Amerks, however, responded with a strong middle frame as Aviani redirected a shot in the slot at the 7:09 mark to even the game at 1-1. Burgdoerfer and Bailey each factored in on the tally as the two would get credited with assists.
Later in the frame, the Amerks continued their strong stanza and were rewarded as Fedun was on the receiving end of Evan Rodrigues’ cross-ice pass in the St. John’s zone. Fedun wasted little time as he ripped a shot from atop the right face-off dot and past the blocker of Danis to give the Amerks the lead heading into the intermission break.
“I thought our second period tonight was our best second period of the season,” said Lambert. “I thought we had a lot of offensive zone time and fired a lot of good quality shots and we were rewarded for our efforts.”
Down by a tally, the visiting IceCaps answered the Fedun goal during the final period of play thanks to Veilleux. The fifth-year pro sent a shot from just inside the blueline in the Amerks zone that eluded a screened Ullmark to even the score with 13:27 left in the regulation period.
The two clubs limited each other’s chances during the final minutes of the contest and the game required overtime, where Bailey was able to seal the win for Rochester
The Amerks remain at home on Monday, Dec. 19 for the second of their season-long five-game homestand when they host the intrastate rival Binghamton Senators in the final matchup before the Christmas break at 7:05 p.m. All of the action will be carried live on The Sports Leader 95.7 FM/950 AM ESPN Rochester.
RCH: Aviani (2), Fedun (3), Bailey (9 – OT)
STJ: Friberg (6), Veilleux (2)
RCH: Ullmark – 19/21 (L)
STJ: Danis – 26/29 (W)
RCH: PP (0/3) / PK (1/1)
STJ: PP (0/1) / PK (3/3)