(St. John’s, NL) – The Rochester Americans (24-35-0-2) fell behind by a score of 3-0 midway through the second period and could not find any luck to erase the deficit as they dropped their first of a back-to-back set to the St. John’s IceCaps (30-25-7-1) 3-1 Friday night at Mile One Centre.
Amerks second-year forward Jean Dupuy provided the lone marker for Rochester with his third tally of the campaign while goaltender Linus Ullmark made 24 saves on the night, but took the loss in his 19th start over the last 21 games.
Mark MacMillan and Ryan Johnston each netted their fifth goals of the season for the IceCaps, who defeated the Amerks for the third straight Friday, while Jeremy Gregoire scored the game-deciding goal for his seventh marker of the slate. Rookie netminder Charles Lindgren picked up his fifth straight victory versus Rochester after stopping 31 of 32 shots on the night and improved his record to 20-16-5 on the season. Lindgren’s 20 wins make him just one of seven goalies in the entire league this season to reach the 20-win mark.
After the North Division foes traded power-play opportunities early on in the first period, the IceCaps capitalized on a failed clearing attempt inside the Amerks blueline to open the scoring at the 14:20 mark. MacMillan picked off a pass near the right face-off dot and fired a shot past the blocker of Ullmark to give St. John’s a 1-0 lead they carried into the intermission break.
The IceCaps then doubled their lead less than four minutes into the middle period after some puck luck. With the puck deep in St. John’s zone, newcomer Keegan Lowe connected on an outlet pass to Gregoire as he was sneaking behind the Amerks defense. Despite fighting off pressure from Mat Bodie who was in pursuit, Gregoire fired a shot that dribbled between the pads of Ullmark. Following a brief scramble in front of the Rochester net, the play went to video review, where it was later deemed a goal after the puck was said to make its way across the goal-line.
Later in the stanza, the IceCaps tacked on their final goal of the night with Johnston’s one-timer at 11:01, but the Amerks did not go away as they spoiled any thought of shutout before the end of the period.
With 5:25 left in the stanza, Amerks forward Tim Kennedy received a cross-ice pass from Dupuy and rifled a shot that beat Lindgren but rang squarely off the post and caromed out of play. However, on the ensuing face-off, Dupuy scooped up a loose puck to the right of the cage and ripped his second goal in the last four games and third of the season to make it a 3-1 score. The goal also ended a scoreless streak of 114:28 for Rochester dating back to last Friday night’s tilt against the IceCaps.
Despite a pair of power-play opportunities during the final 20 minutes and pulling Ullmark for the last 90 seconds of the contest, the Amerks could not get anything else behind Lindgren as they would drop their fourth straight road game.
The Amerks and IceCaps get back it on Saturday, March 18 as the North Division rivals close out their season series with a rematch at Mile One Centre. The 6:00 p.m. EST matchup will be the eighth and final meeting of the season between the two teams and will be carried live on The Sports Leader 95.7 FM/950 AM ESPN Rochester.
RCH: Dupuy (3)
STJ: MacMillan (5), Gregoire (7), Johnston (5)
RCH: Ullmark – 24/27 (L)
STJ: Lindgren – 31/32 (W)
RCH: PP (0/4) / PK (2/2)
STJ: PP (0/2) / PK (4/4)