|DAN LAMBERT POST-GAME|
|LINUS ULLMARK POST-GAME|
|TIM KENNEDY POST-GAME|
(Rochester, NY) – The Rochester Americans (18-24-0-2) erased a 1-0 deficit, but their comeback fell short as they dropped a 2-1 decision to the first-place Albany Devils (25-16-1-1) in the front-end of a home-and-home series at The Blue Cross Arena Friday night.
The Amerks lone tally was from forward Tim Kennedy during the middle period while AHL All-Star goaltender Linus Ullmark made 34 saves of the 36 shots he faced. The Swedish netminder’s record on the campaign now stands at 16-15-2 heading into Saturday’s rematch in Albany.
The Devils were paced by Joe Blandisi’s fourth multi-point effort (0+2) while a pair of defensemen in Yohann Auvitu and Vojtech Mozik provided the offense in the 2-1 victory for the visitors. Netminder Mackenzie Blackwood picked up his eighth win of the season as he stopped 18 of 19 on the night.
The Amerks were outshot during the first 10 minutes of play by a 9-2 margin and trailed 1-0 but soon tied the contest at one apiece thanks to Kennedy. As the veteran forward applied pressure on the Devils defenseman inside the Albany blueline, he stripped the puck before slipping the puck between the pads of Blackwood to knot the game with 12:37 left in the opening period.
“Albany came out of the gates pretty hot,” said Ullmark. “They fired a lot of shots and that kept us on our toes, but we played better over the second half of the game.”
After the two North Division rivals emerged from the break, Albany regained its one-goal lead 3:47 into the middle period just 16 seconds before an Amerks penalty had expired. The power-play goal by the Devils snapped Rochester’s streak of 11 consecutive kills without allowing a tally.
The Amerks pushed the pace of play following the goal, but the closest they would get was when Brady Austin rang a shot off the cross-bar with just 10:30 left in the second period.
The two clubs exchanged chances over the final 30 minutes of play before Albany clogged up the neutral zone, limiting Rochester to just 13 shots over the final two periods.
“Albany is in first place in the Division for a reason,” said Kennedy. “They work hard, play with good structure and do not make many mistakes. They shut down the middle of the ice and that is one reason why we struggled getting shots during the first half of the game.”
The same two teams square off for the second straight night as the home-and-home series shifts back to Albany for a 5:00 p.m. rematch at the Times Union Center. All of the action will be carried live on The Sports Leader 95.7 FM/950 AM ESPN Rochester.
RCH: Kennedy (3)
ALB: Auvitu (1), Mozik (6)
RCH: Ullmark – 34/36 (L)
ALB: Blackwood – 18/19 (W)
RCH: PP (0/2) / PK (0/1)
ALB: PP (1/1) / PK (2/2)