Jan 15, 2022

Rookie forward Linus Weissbach delivered the game-tying goal with 1:47 remaining in regulation to force overtime, but the Rochester Americans (19-11-0-1) were unable to fully complete the comeback as they picked up a point in a 4-3 shootout loss to the Belleville Senators (14-15-0-0) in the first of back-to-back meetings between the two teams Friday at The Blue Cross Arena.


Belleville 1 1 1 0 1 4
Rochester 2 0 1 0 0 3


                                                          POST-GAME REPORT  GAME SUMMARY  PHOTO GALLERY


The shootout loss was Rochester’s first of the season and the first inside the Flower City since Feb. 26, 2020, a span of 688 days. It was also the Amerks’ first loss of the season beyond regulation and the first in 21 all-time meetings between the North Division rivals. Through the first 21 games, the Amerks have scored two or more goals in 18 games while showing a 10-10-0-1 record.


Along with Weissbach scoring his eighth of the slate, Patrick Polino, who signed a PTO earlier in the week, and veteran Michael Mersch notched their first and 17th tallies of the season, respectively. As Mersch snapped a six-game goal-scoring drought to begin the New Year, he remains on pace to reach the 20-goal mark for the fifth time in eight years and the first time since the 2018-19 season. Lukas Craggs, Dominic Franco, Jimmy Schuldt, Matej Pekar and Brandon Biro all logged an assist while Arttu Ruotsalainen was the lone Rochester skater to score in the shootout.


Goaltender Mat Robson (3-1-1) made 32 saves in his fifth appearance of the season for Rochester and second straight following Wednesday’s win over Utica. The 25-year old netminder stopped two of the four shots he faced in the skills competition after making six saves in the overtime period.




Defensemen Maxence Guenette and Jonathan Aspirot both produced a pair of assists to help Belleville improve to a 4-5-1-1 record over the last five years in Rochester. Mark Kastelic, Egor Sokolov and Cole Reinhardt all lit the lamp while Jake Lucchini and Rourke Chartier both added a marker in the shootout.


Goaltender Mads Sogaard (8-6-0) earned the win as he made 24 saves on the night, which included three of the four he faced in the skills competition.


With the score still tied at three goals apiece following 65 minutes of play, Rochester elected to shoot first in the shootout after Weissbach tied the game late in the final period of regulation. As both Jack Quinn and Weissbach were denied by Sogaard, Rutosalainen forced the skills competition to go to a fourth round as he beat the Belleville netminder after Lucchini put the visiting club ahead by one. Robson stonewalled Chris Wilkie, but Biro was unable to give the Amerks the lead before Chartier sealed the win in the bottom half of the fourth round.




In the first period less than a minute after Belleville opened the scoring, Rochester countered back with a pair of tallies to flip a one-goal deficit into to a 2-1 advantage at the 8:29 mark.


On Rochester’s first goal of the contest, as the puck made its way to the left of Robson and onto the stick of Pekar, the second-year forward lobbed a pass out of the zone to Craggs in the neutral zone. As Craggs gathered the pass, he tucked down the left-wing wall before dishing a pass to Polino, who was streaking through the middle of the ice. As Polino reached the top of the crease, he faked a quick shot before sliding the puck inside the left post and Sogaard’s glove-hand to even score at one.


The goal gave Polino two goals in his last four games with Rochester dating back to last season while Pekar earned his second point in as many games. Craggs, meanwhile, earned his first assist with the Amerks on Polino’s first marker of the season.




Following the Polino marker at 7:36, Biro stripped a Belleville skater of the puck just inside the Senators zone before racing to the left side of the zone. As the Penn State product made his way atop the circle, he sent a cross-ice feed to Mersch, who slid along the ice was while on a knee. Rochester’s captain received the pass and steered it into the net for his league-leading 17th goal of the campaign with 11:31 left in the period.


With the primary helper, Biro has 14 points (5+9) over his last 13 games dating back to Nov. 27 and has four multi-point efforts in nine contests during that span. Ara Nazarian, who returned to the lineup after missing the previous four games due to COVID-19 protocols, recorded also recorded an assist. The newcomer has two points (1+1) in through his first four games since joining the Amerks from the Jacksonville Icemen (EHCL).


Despite unable to capitalize on their second power-play and trailing 2-1 after the first period, Belleville knotted the score at two four minutes into the second frame as Kastelic swept a loose rebound inside the right post four minutes into the frame.




The Senators and Amerks entered the final 20 minutes of regulation tied at two despite Belleville holding a 20-12 shot-advantage.


Belleville took its first lead of the night at the 6:25 mark as Sokolov fired the puck into a near empty-net from atop the right point after Robson was caught out of the crease. Following a face-off to his right, Rochester’s netminder attempted to push from his right to his left but inadvertently caught a rut in the crease and stumbled out of the blue paint before Sokolov shot the puck.


Three seconds after the Amerks were unable to score on their sixth power-play of the contest, Schuldt gave Weissbach a pass in the right circle of the offensive zone. With Franco providing a screen in front of the Senators cage, Weissbach intentionally sent a shot towards the net-front traffic that took a fortuitous bounce off a Belleville defenseman and past an unsuspecting Sogaard to send the game into overtime.  


After scoring in Wednesday’s contest versus Utica and his goal tonight, it marks the first time in Weissbach’s pro career he has tallies in back-to-back games, and since the turn of the New Year, he has five points in his last seven outings, including goals in three of his last four.


Neither team scored in the overtime period despite combining for nine shots on goal before Belleville took the extra point in four rounds of the shootout.


After a quick turnaround, the same two teams square off the second time in less than 24 hours as the North Division rivals close out their two-game set with a rematch at The Blue Cross Arena. Game time is slated for a 5:05 p.m. start and will be carried live on The Sports Leader 95.7 FM/950 AM The Fan Rochester as well as AHLTV. The matchup will also be televised live locally on CW Rochester channel 16.





C. Reinhardt (4),

M. Kastelic (5),

E. Sokolov (8)


P. Polino (1), M. Mersch (17),

L. Weissbach (8)

M. Sogaard – 21/24 (W)


M. Robson – 32/35 (SOL)











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