(Providence, RI) – The Rochester Americans (17-22-0-1) rallied back from a 3-1 third-period deficit on the strength of back-to-back goals from Justin Bailey, but the Providence Bruins (23-10-4-3) answered with just four seconds remaining in the contest to come away with a 4-3 win over the Amerks Friday night at Dunkin’ Donuts Center.
The Amerks were led by Bailey’s ninth multi-point (2-0) effort of the season and fourth in the last six games while Erik Burgdoerfer, fresh off a three-game injury absence, scored his first as an Amerk to round out the scoring and added an assist. John Muse made his fourth start in the last five games, stopping 31 of 35 shots he faced.
Matt Bartkowski (0-2) paced the Bruins offense with his first multi-point night of the season while Matt Grzelcyk also added a pair of helpers in the victory. Chris Casto, Sean Kuraly, Peter Cehlarik and Zac Rinaldo all found the back of the net for the P-Bruins while netminder Anton Khudobin made 24 saves to improve his record to 6-1-1 on the season.
With the clock winding down in the final period and Rochester trailing 3-1, Amerks head coach Dan Lambert pulled Muse for the extra attacker with less than 1:45 left in regulation and it would pay off. Following a shot off the end boards from Casey Nelson, Bailey pounced on the wide attempt and chipped the puck over the shoulder of Khudobin to make it a one-goal game with just 95 seconds showing on the clock.
Just 39 seconds later following a Rochester timeout, Bailey struck again, this time picking up a pass in-between the face-off dots and ripping a shot inside the left post to tie the game at three with under a minute to play in the third.
With the pair of tallies, Bailey upped his career-long goal-scoring streak to six straight games and his point streak (8-3) to a personal-best seven games.
Despite Bailey’s late-game heroics, Casto located a loose puck amid a goal-mouth scramble in front of Muse and jammed it behind the Rochester netminder with four seconds left for his first goal of the season for the game-winner.
The Bruins struck for the game’s opening goal 7:43 into the contest on a redirection from Rinaldo and carried the 1-0 lead into the intermission break. Then, nearly half-way through the middle period, Burgdoerfer blasted his first goal since Mar. 23 of last season as a member of the Hershey Bears to tie the game at one apiece.
After seeing their lead disappear, the Bruins answered with the next goal to take a 2-1 score into the dressing rooms after 40 minutes of play. As the teams traded chances during the final period, neither team could find the back of the cage until Providence doubled its lead with just over three minutes left in regulation.
The Amerks made a thrilling comeback on a pair of goals 39 seconds apart from Bailey with the Muse on the bench for the extra-attacker, but came up on the short end of a 4-3 setback.
The Amerks continue onto XL Center on Saturday, Jan. 21 for a rematch with the Hartford Wolf Pack, a team Rochester hosted only 10 days ago at The Blue Cross Arena. Following Saturday’s 7:00 p.m. matchup, the Amerks will wrap up their three-game trek through the Atlantic Division in Bridgeport Sunday afternoon. All of the action will be carried live on The Sports Leader 95.7 FM/950 AM ESPN Rochester.
RCH: Burgdoerfer (1), Bailey (15, 16)
PRO: Rinaldo (5), Cehlarik (15), Kuraly (7), Casto (1)
RCH: Muse – 31/35 (L)
PRO: Khudobin – 24/27 (W)
RCH: PP (0/1) / PK (2/2)
PRO: PP (0/2) / PK (1/1)