|CHRIS TAYLOR POST-GAME|
|STUART PERCY POST-GAME|
|ZACH REDMOND POST-GAME|
(Rochester, NY) … For the fourth straight contest, the Rochester Americans (31-20-10-6) opened the scoring but were unable to hold onto the lead as the Amerks came up short in a 4-2 loss to the Binghamton Devils (22-33-7-3) Friday at The Blue Cross Arena.
Despite the setback, the Amerks, who have earned at least one point in 20 of their last 31 games dating back to Jan. 1, maintain a 19-point lead on the fifth-place Laval Rocket in the North Division standings. The top four teams in the Division are guaranteed a playoff spot and Rochester needs just two points to secure a postseason berth heading into Saturday’s matchup with the Springfield Thunderbirds.
Rochester defenseman Stuart Percy and forward Sahir Gill each netted their career-best seventh and 16th goals of the season, respectively, while goaltender Adam Wilcox suffered his third straight loss despite making 29 saves.
Nick Lappin recorded his third hat trick of the season while John Quenneville tallied three helpers to help Binghamton to its fourth straight victory against the Amerks. Former Amerk Tim Kennedy assisted on a pair of goals while Nathan Bastian lit the lamp for his eighth of the year. Netminder Eddie Lack earned his sixth victory of the campaign and second straight win as he stopped 29 of 31 shots.
Rochester drew a cross-checking penalty 10:57 into the first period of a scoreless game. Nearly a minute into the infraction, Percy dusted off a pass from Danny O’Regan atop the left point of the Devils zone. The blueliner took a few strides before wiring a shot past the blocker of Lack to give the Amerks a 1-0 lead.
“We have been working on the power-play lately,” said Percy. “Regs found me with a great pass and I tried to make a good shot. I am not exactly sure what happened after I shot the puck because I am not a big-time goal-scorer, but lucky it went in.”
The Devils, however, responded with a pair of goals to take a 2-1 lead into the intermission break as they scored twice just 71 seconds apart while on the man-advantage. It was the first time the Amerks had allowed the opposition to record multiple power-play goals in the same home game since Nov. 24, a span of 21 contests.
“It was not good on our part,” said Amerks head coach Chris Taylor when talking about the penalties. “When you take that many penalties as we did during the first, you are going to give up that many goals. It is unacceptable for our guys to take penalties this late in the season.”
“We took some bad penalties, myself included,” said Zach Redmond. “Those are the types of things that can cost a team in a game, especially in the playoffs, so we have to correct that while we can. We have confidence in the group to make the playoffs, so we need to be more consistent for a whole 60-minute game going forward.”
During the second stanza, the teams combined for 27 shots, but the North Division rivals exchanged goals 1:52 apart.
After Lappin’s second of the night pushed the Binghamton lead to 3-1 with 4:57 left in the period, Gill made it a one-goal game.
Picking up a loose puck in the neutral zone, Gill skated into the offensive zone with the puck to the right of the Devils side of the ice. As the fourth-year winger approached Lack, he flipped a backhanded shot in-between the right arm and body of the netminder, trimming the Devils lead to 3-2 with 3:05 left in the period. Hudson Fasching and Redmond picked up the assists on the tally.
The two clubs tightened down defensively in the third period but Lappin completed the hat trick as he secured Binghamton’s 4-2 victory with 6:28 showing on the clock. It was also the fourth straight game in which Rochester was involved in a hat trick dating back Thursday night in Bridgeport. The hat trick was the also first allowed by the Amerks to an opposing player on home ice since Justin Dowling of the Texas Stars scored three goals on Feb. 20, 2015.
The Amerks continue their four-game homestand and bring the weekend to a close on Saturday, Mar. 24 as they welcome the Springfield Thunderbirds, the AHL affiliate of the Florida Panthers, back to The Blue Cross Arena for the only time 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: Percy (7), Gill (16)
BNG: Bastian (8), Lappin (26, 27, 28)
RCH: Wilcox – 29/33 (L)
BNG: Lack – 29/31 (W)
RCH: PP (1/4) | PK (2/5)
BNG: PP (3/5) | PK (3/4)