|DAN LAMBERT POST-GAME|
|ALEX KILE POST-GAME|
|COLE SCHNEIDER POST-GAME|
|DEREK GRANT POST-GAME|
(Rochester, NY) – Trailing 3-1 entering the third period, the Rochester Americans (25-37-0-2) responded with three straight goals, including Cole Schneider’s overtime winning tally with 1:16 remaining in the extra stanza, to defeat the Springfield Thunderbirds (27-27-9-2) Friday night at The Blue Cross Arena. The Amerks snapped a five-game losing streak with the victory while improving to 6-0 in overtime this season.
Schneider (1+1), Derek Grant (2+0) and Mat Bodie (0+2) all recorded multi-point efforts to lead the Amerks. Schneider recorded his 50th and 51st point of the season with his two point-night, a mark he has now reached in four straight seasons, in addition to reaching the 20-goal mark for the fourth straight year. Meanwhile, newcomer Alex Kile opened the scoring with his first professional goal during the middle frame. At the backend of the ice, goaltender Linus Ullmark, who has started 21 of the last 23 games for Rochester, improved to 23-26-2 after stopping 21 of 24 shots he faced. The Swedish netminder also ended a personal five-game losing skid with the win.
Chase Balisy upped his team-best offensive output on the season to 39 after he tallied the final goal for Springfield as he now shows 12 points (5+7) in his last 12 games. Josh Brown and Dryden Hunt capped off the scoring as they scored in the first and second periods, respectively. After entering the contest with a 5-1-0 record this season against Amerks, Springfield goaltender Adam Wilcox took the loss despite making 27 saves. The netminder is 22-10-5 on the season.
Following a brief altercation between the two teams midway through the final period with the Amerks trailing 3-1, Rochester was awarded a five-minute power-play and eventually it would pay off. Unable to generate many opportunities during the first three minutes of the infraction, Bodie fired a shot from the top of the slot. With a pair Amerks parked in front of Wilcox, Grant redirected the shot into the cage for his first of two goals on the night and cut the deficit to 3-2 with 12:03 to play.
“I thought our team really rallied around the hit on ‘Bapper’ (Nick Baptiste),” said Grant. “As a team, we started moving our feet and starting firing more pucks to the net and got rewarded for it in the third period. We did not like our second period, so it showed a lot of character for us to come back in the third like we did.”
Later in the period following another spirited altercation, the home team continued to carry the momentum and tied the contest at 3-3 at the 17:34 mark as Grant struck again, this time knocking the puck into the cage out of mid-air. Casey Nelson fired the initial shot from the right point and he and fellow rookie Alexander Nylander each earned an assist on the play.
“I think we started playing with a lot more emotion during the third period,” Amerks head coach Dan Lambert said. “Guys stepped up and they were guys who we need to step up after not being very sharp for the first two periods.”
After outshooting the Thunderbirds 17-6 during the final period, the Amerks tied the game and forced overtime. The two clubs exchanged chances in the first three minutes but were unable to register any shots until Jean Dupuy fired the puck on net. Fortunately for the Amerks, Wilcox couldn’t handle the rebound, as Schneider scooped up the puck and buried his 20th goal of the season with a quick turnaround shot over the right shoulder with just 1:16 left in extra session. Dupuy and Bodie each picked up helpers on the game-winning goal.
The Thunderbirds opened the scoring on the night as Brown potted his first goal in 49 games and third of the campaign just 4:23 into the first period. While the Amerks were only able to test Wilcox three times during the first 20 minutes, they trailed just 1-0 after 20 minutes of play.
The Amerks knotted the game with Kile’s first professional goal as he got his stick on a shot from Patrick Mullen and Daniel Muzito-Bagenda. However, Springfield responded with a pair of tallies just 14 seconds apart to take a 3-1 advantage into the dressing before the Amerks answered with three straight goals for their first win on home ice in the head-to-head series.
Rochester’s three-in-three weekend continues on Saturday, March 25 as the Amerks travel to the Floyd L. Maines Veterans Memorial Arena to face the intrastate rival Binghamton Senators for the sixth of the eight meetings this season. Game time is slated for a 7:05 p.m. start and will be carried live on The Sports Leader 95.7 FM/950 AM ESPN Rochester.
RCH: Kile (1), Grant (2, 3), Schneider (20 – OT)
SPR: Brown (3), Hunt (11), Balisy (14)
RCH: Ullmark – 21/24 (W)
SPR: Wilcox – 27/31 (L)
RCH: PP (1/4) / PK (0/0)
SPR: PP (0/0) / PK (3/4)