AMERKS HEAD INTO ALL-STAR BREAK WITH 5-4 OT WIN IN BELLEVILLE
Davies nets game-winner 56 seconds into overtime, Mersch scores twice in 500th AHL gameFeb 4, 2023
Jeremy Davies capped a back-and-forth high-scoring affair less than a minute into overtime to propel the Rochester Americans (21-17-2-1) to a 5-4 victory over the Belleville Senators (17-22-4-1) in the second of back-to-back meetings between the two teams Saturday at CAA Arena.
With the win, the Amerks and Senators split the two-game set ahead of the annual AHL All-Star break. Additionally, Rochester, who shows a 3-2-0-1 mark in the head-to-head series, has earned points in four of the six games thus far this season.
Forward Michael Mersch, who skated in his 500th game in the AHL, scored twice while Sean Malone also notched a multi-point effort by chipping in two assists. The Amerks captain shows 16 points (8+8) over his last 16 games dating back to Dec. 17 while Malone is one point away from reaching the 20-point in back-to-back seasons for the first time in his career. While Davies sealed the overtime victory, Isak Rosen (1+1) and Jiri Kulich (1+0) both scored for the second time in as many games.
Ethan Prow, Lukas Rousek, Lawrence Pilut, and Mason Jobst all registered an assist. With the helpers, Prow reached the 20-assist plateau for the fourth consecutive season while Jobst reached the 20-point mark for his first time in his professional career.
Goaltender Michael Houser (4-5-0) snapped his four-game skid as he made 23 saves in his 11th appearance of the slate and first-career game against Belleville.
Belleville’s Viktor Larsson (0+2), Cole Cassels (0+2), Jake Lucchini (1+1), Angus Crookshank (1+1) and Scott Sabourin (1+1) all produced a pair of points in the overtime defeat. Goaltender Mads Sogaard (6-9-2) made his 21st appearance of the season but was unable to earn his second straight win against Rochester despite stopping 25 shots.
With the scored tied at four at the end of regulation, the teams, who combined for 66 penalty minutes on 13 infractions, needed overtime to determine a winner.
In the extra frame, the Senators had a prime chance to end the contest as they had a 3-on-1, odd-man rush towards Houser.
Rochester’s netminder turned aside the chance before Malone back-checked and provided an outlet pass to center ice for Davies. The defenseman gathered the stretch pass and sprinted ahead to the net. As Davies reach the hashmarks, he snapped a shot, beating Soggard to give the Amerks a 5-4 win just 56 seconds into the frame.
By scoring five goals, it marks the fourth straight game between Rochester and Belleville where the winning team posted five goals.
The game began with a pair of goals and six penalties before the halfway mark as Kulich and Lucchini exchanged a power-play marker for their respective clubs.
To close out the first period, the Amerks drew their fourth power-play inside the final three minutes.
The club was unable to score in the first minute of the infraction, and prior to Belleville clearing the puck out of the zone, Mersch picked the pocket of a Senator. The heads up play from the Amerks captain allowed Rosen to grab the puck and wire a shot past Sogaard to restore the Rochester lead.
Following the break and facing a 2-1 deficit, Belleville netted a pair of goals less than a minute apart to take a one-goal lead just 1:42 into the second period.
Later in the period, after Rochester was unable to capitalize on back-to-back penalties, Pilut had the puck inside the Amerks blueline with under seven minutes to play. The Swedish blueliner dished a pass through the neutral zone for Jobst. After the Ohio State University product crossed the blueline, he slid a pass to his left and Mersch stepped into his eighth of the campaign to restore the 4-3 lead going into the final 20 minutes of regulation.
Four minutes into the third period, the Amerks drew another power-play, and like earlier in the contest, the team found success.
Rochester kept the puck inside the offensive zone for the first half of the infraction, and after collecting a cross-ice pass from Malone, Rosen spotted Mersch at the far post. As the pass reached his stick, Mersch captain steered it behind Sogaard for his second of the night with 16:43 on the clock.
Belleville evened the score with just over 11 minutes to play as Sabourin scooped up a pass from Crookshank out in-front of Houser and tucked it overtop his outstretched pad.
Neither team found the scoresheet for the final 11:11 of regulation and the game remained tied until Davies capped the 5-4 win 56 seconds into the overtime period.
Following the AHL All-Star break, the Amerks return home to The Blue Cross Arena on Friday, Feb. 10 when they host the Springfield Thunderbirds for a 7:05 contest. All the action will be carried live on The Sports Leader 95.7 FM/950 AM The Fan Rochester as well as AHLTV.
By scoring a goal tonight, Isak Rosen has three goals and one assist over his last six games while fellow rookie Jiri Kulich has six points (2+4) in his last four outings ... With three power-play goals tonight, it marks the second time this season the Amerks have scored three times on the man-advantage in the same game ... Additionally, it marked the first time the Amerks have scored multiple markers on the man-advantage since Dec. 30, also against Belleville ... Over Rochester’s last six games, the team has capitalized on the power-play in five of its last six games, going 7-for-27 over that span.
BEL: J. Lucchini (10), J. Quenneville (1), A. Crookshank (14), S. Sabourin (15)
ROC: J. Kulich (9), I. Rosen (6), M. Mersch (8, 9), J. Davies (6)
BEL: M. Sogaard – 25/30 (OTL)
ROC: M. Houser – 23/27 (W)
BEL: PP (1/5) | PK (5/8)
ROC: PP (3/8) | PK (4/5)
1. ROC - M. Mersch
2. BEL - S. Sabourin
3. BEL - A. Crookshank