|DAN LAMBERT POST-GAME|
|JONAS JOHANSSON POST-GAME|
|TIM KENNEDY POST-GAME|
(Rochester, NY) – The Rochester Americans (30-38-0-2) scored 2:58 into Wednesday’s game with the Binghamton Senators (26-41-2-2) at The Blue Cross Arena and never looked back as the Amerks cruised to a 5-2 win to kick-off a busy stretch of four games in five nights. With the victory, the Amerks have won four straight on home ice and six of their last seven overall.
Veteran forward Tim Kennedy led the Amerks offense as he recorded a three-assist night, the most since Dec. 5, 2014 as member of the Hershey Bears when he collected four helpers. Second-year forward Nick Baptiste found the back of the net for the fifth time in the last four games to extend his goal-scoring streak to four games. Former Senators Patrick Mullen and Cole Schneider each scored their third goal of the season against their former club, and for Schneider, he upped his point-streak (3+6) to a season-long seven games. Meanwhile, Hudson Fasching and Daniel Muzito-Bagenda capped off the scoring for Rochester. Goaltender Jonas Johansson made 29 saves in his first-career home start and is now a 3-1-0 in his four appearances in the AHL since joining the team back on March 24.
Nick Paul notched his first-career two-goal game for the B-Sens while goaltender Marcus Hogberg, who signed a Professional Tryout (PTO) on Monday, took the loss after stopping 28 of 33 shots he faced in his North American debut.
Less than three minutes into opening frame, newcomer Alex Kile sprung Mullen with an outlet pass along the right side of the ice. The defenseman ripped a shot that Hogberg initially stopped, but pounced on his own rebound and buried his fourth of the season. Fellow blueliner Brady Austin along with Kile recorded the helpers on the tally.
“Tonight, we were able to get an early lead,” Kennedy said. “That is huge any night you can do that, especially against a young goaltender like they had. We have been on the other side of that score unfortunately too many times this year, but tonight it was us out in front. When you are able to get a one or two-nothing lead, it makes the game much easier as the opponents have to try to push more in order to get back into the game.”
Before the end of the stanza, the Amerks doubled their lead as Fasching deposited his seventh after receiving a cross-crease pass from Kennedy and Justin Bailey. Rochester carried the 2-0 lead into the break but would make it a 3-0 cushion at 4:48 of the second period with Schneider’s 22nd tally of the slate. The 26-year-old now has Rochester’s second-longest point streak of the season as he shows nine points (3+6) in seven games. The streak is also the sixth-longest active streak in the league currently.
As the middle period was dwindling down after Binghamton cut the Amerks lead to a 3-1, Baptiste ripped a one-timer into the cage while on the power-play with 56 seconds remaining. Derek Grant set up Baptiste for his team-leading 25th goal of the season and 11th while on the man-advantage.
“I thought our power-play late in the period was very crucial,” said Amerks head coach Dan Lambert. “I think it pretty much finished off any thought and any hopes they had, but first and foremost, it is nice to see the power-play unit get rewarded.”
With a 4-1 lead to begin the final period, Muzito-Bagenda capped off the scoring for the Amerks as he tapped in his ninth of the season. The Swedish rookie exchanged a pass with Kennedy as the two raced into the offensive zone before Kennedy sent another cross-crease pass that Muzito-Bagenda was able to steer past Hogberg. Tyson Strachan was also credited with a helper on the tally that made the score 5-1 in favor of the home squad.
Despite another tally by Binghamton’s Paul in the final six minutes of the contest, the Amerks held off the B-Sens for their sixth win in their last seven games following a five-game losing skid. In the last seven tilts, Rochester has outscored its opposition 26-16, including 16-7 over its current four-game home win streak.
The Amerks remain at home to begin their final three-in-three of the campaign on Friday, April 7 when they take on the Hershey Bears in a battle of the AHL’s two oldest teams at The Blue Cross Arena. Game time for the 454th all-time meeting between the Amerks and Bears 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: Mullen (4), Fasching (7), Schneider (22), Baptiste (25), Muzito-Bagenda (9)
BNG: Paul (13, 14)
RCH: Johansson – 29/31 (W)
BNG: Hogberg – 28/33 (L)
RCH: PP (1/3) / PK (1/1)
BNG: PP (0/1) / PK (2/3)