BJORK DELIVERS OVERTIME GAME-WINNER IN AMERKS DEBUTOct 19, 2022
The Rochester Americans (2-1-0-0) erased a 3-2 deficit in the third period before newcomer Anders Bjork capped off the thrilling come-from-behind victory with the overtime game-winner 3:29 into the extra session to lift the Amerks to a 4-3 win over the Belleville Senators (2-0-1-0) Wednesday night at The Blue Cross Arena.
Rookie forward Lukas Rousek registered his first professional multi-point effort of his career as he tallied one goal and an assist while Sean Malone also produced a pair of points (1+1). Brandon Biro netted his first marker of the season before Bjork, who joined the Amerks on Tuesday afternoon after being assigned by the Buffalo Sabres, completed the victory in his Amerks debut.
Jiri Kulich, Michael Mersch, Lawrence Pilut, Ethan Prow and Kale Clague all recorded an assist in the win while goaltender Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen made 20 saves in his third consecutive start to begin the campaign. Dating back to the 2021-22 season, Luukkonen boasts an 8-3-5 record in his last 16 starts.
The contest was Bjork’s first AHL game in three years to the day of his last AHL appearance when he recorded two assists for Providence in a 7-4 win over Belleville on Oct. 19, 2019.
Chartier Rourke, Angus Crookshank and Viktor Lodin all scored for Belleville as netminder Kevin Mandolese stopped 26 of 30 shots he faced.
Trailing after the first 20 minutes of play and a scoreless second period, the Amerks pressed to find the equalizer in the third.
Rochester was unable to capitalize on an abbreviated power-play and a full man-advantage but was able to even the score as Rousek scooped up a rebound and backhanded it into the net at the 6:58 mark.
Prior to the tying goal, Rousek’s second of the young season, Pilut gave Prow the puck atop the right circle. Prow walked backwards to the center of the zone along the blueline before firing a shot towards the cage. Mandolese made the initial save, but Rousek was there to shovel rebound past the Belleville netminder to ultimately send the game beyond regulation.
Rochester drew a power-play at the conclusion of the regulation and opened the extra-session with three straight shots, but the contest continued as the score was tied at three.
With under two minutes left in overtime, Belleville drove into the Amerks zone in transition only to have Rochester intercept the pass and skate up the ice as Bjork raced through the neutral zone. The forward reached the top of the blueline and left it for a trailing Clague.
BJORK'S OVERTIME GAME-WINNER
Clague took the puck down the wall before centering a return feed to Bjork between the circles for the overtime-winning goal with 93 seconds left in the extra-frame.
In the first 17 minutes of play to begin the contest, the two clubs combined for five goals, three of which came on the power-play, making the score 3-2 in favor of the Senators.
Both Rochester tallies came on the man-advantage as Biro and Malone each picked up their initial goals of the season while Crookshank produced his first before Lodin and Chartier each added their second.
After a scoreless second period, Rochester scored once in the third period to force overtime before Bjork sealed the 4-3 come-from-behind win.
The Amerks continue a busy stretch with a home-and-home series starting on Friday, Oct. 21 as they welcome the intrastate rival the Syracuse Crunch to Blue Cross Arena. The 7:05 p.m. North Division showdown matchup will be carried live on 95.7 FM/950 AM The Fan Rochester as well as AHLTV.
Tonight’s 4-3 overtime win was the third straight for the Amerks over Belleville dating back to the first round of the 2022 Calder Cup Playoffs ... The win improved Rochester to 2-0-0-0 at home this season, marking the second straight year the team won its first two home matchups ... The Amerks scored two first-period power-play goals for the second straight home game to begin the season, going 2-for-6 on the night. After tonight, Rochester is now 5-for-15 on the power-play through its first two home contests, giving them a league-best 33.3% conversion rate.
BEL: A. Crookshank (1), V. Lodin (2), R. Chartier (2)
ROC: B. Biro (1), S. Malone (1), L. Rousek (2), A. Bjork (1)
BEL: U. Luukkonen – 20/23 (W)
ROC: K. Mandolese – 26/30 (OTL)
BEL: PP (1/3) | PK (4/6)
ROC: PP (2/6) | PK (2/3)
1. ROC - A. Bjork
2. ROC - L. Rousek
3. BEL - R. Chartier