(Hartford, CT) … The Rochester Americans (13-5-3-3) extended their point streak to a season-long eight straight games but fell short in a 3-2 shootout against the Hartford Wolf Pack (9-12-3-2) at the XL Center Saturday night. The contest was the second game of a weekend trek through New England and the third meeting between the Amerks and Wolf Pack in the last three weeks.
It’s Rochester’s longest point streak since the team recorded points in eight straight games to open the month of April during the 2013-14 campaign.
Despite falling in the skills competition, the Amerks have notched points in 15 of their last 16 games dating back to Nov. 1, having only lost twice in regulation in the last 19 games. In 13 games away from The Blue Cross Arena this season, Rochester holds a record of 7-1-3-2.
Amerks leading point-getter and rookie winger C.J. Smith pushed his point streak to four games as he notched his team-best 25th point while scoring his eighth goal of the season. The 23-year-old shows six points (2+4) in his last four games and has 14 points (6+8) over his last 10. Zach Redmond tied the game midway through the final period to round out the Amerks scoring while goaltender Linus Ullmark took the shootout loss. Rochester’s reigning team MVP shows a record of 8-0-3 in his last 11 games and has not suffered a regulation loss since Oct. 28.
Harford was paced by forward Peter Holland as he notched his first two-goal game as a member of Wolf Pack while he, Adam Tambellini and Scott Kosmachuk all would score during the four-round shoot. Goaltender Chris Nell, who made his first appearance since Nov. 25, made 28 saves on the night to even his record to 5-5-0.
After Redmond tied the game at 2-2 with 9:28 left in the third period, the Amerks kept pressing to avoid going to the extra session, but Nell and Ullmark made key saves and the game required the overtime period.
Rochester seemed to catch a break 2:03 into the extra frame as Hartford was whistled for a tripping penalty, but the Amerks were unable to capitalize on the man-advantage and the two clubs would go to shootout.
Hartford scored a goal in each of the first two rounds followed by Smith and Seth Griffith during the last two scheduled rounds, thus extending the skills competition. Kosmachuk was able to beat Ullmark in the fourth round while Colin Blackwell’s attempt was turned aside by Nell, preserving the 3-2 shootout win for the Wolf Pack, their second straight win over the Amerks.
Holland cracked opened the scoring with his first of the night 12:26 into the first period to give Hartford a 1-0 lead into the intermission but Smith knotted the game with his eighth with 6:40 to play in the second stanza.
Four and a half minutes after Holland’s sharp-angled power-play goal in final period, Redmond blasted his fourth goal of the season at the 10:32 mark of the frame to tie the game at 2-2. Blackwell carried the puck into the offensive zone from in front of the benches before circling the around the Wolf Pack zone and left the puck for Redmond at the left point. The veteran defenseman took a few steps down the half-wall before stopping atop the left face-off dot and fired a slap-shot just under the cross-bar.
The Amerks close out a four-game, eight-day road trip on Sunday afternoon as they make their first of two trips this season to Webster Bank Arena to face-off with the Bridgeport Sound Tigers. The 3:00 p.m. matinee can be heard live on The Sports Leader 95.7 FM/950 AM ESPN Rochester.
RCH: Smith (8), Redmond (4)
HFD: Holland (9, 10), Kosmachuk (SO GWG)
RCH: Ullmark – 24/26 (SOL)
HFD: Nell – 28/30 (W)
RCH: PP (0/3) | PK (4/5)
HFD: PP (1/5) | PK (3/3)