Kulich records second straight multi-goal game in 3-2 win over Hartford

Dec 15, 2023

Jiri Kulich scored the game-tying goal in the closing minutes of regulation to force overtime before delivering the game-winner 2:51 into the extra frame to lift the Rochester Americans (12-7-2-1) to a 3-2 come-from-behind win over the Hartford Wolf Pack (15-5-4-0) Friday at the XL Center.



                                                                            GAME SUMMARY      PHOTO GALLERY


With the victory, Rochester has posted wins in eight of the last 12 contests against Hartford dating back to the 2017-18 campaign. They also have recorded at least one point in 13 of the previous 16 exchanges, going 10-3-1-2 over that same span. The Amerks sit in third place in the North Division standings, one point behind Syracuse and six away from Cleveland, who leads the division with 33 points.


Along with Kulich turning in his third straight multi-point effort, Brandon Biro (1+1) totaled two points in the win, which snapped a three-game winless skid entering the contest. Damien Giroux, Linus Weissbach and Isak Rosen all added an assist. Following his two-goal effort tonight, Kulich leads the league with 15 goals in 21 games, including an AHL-best four overtime game-winners.


Goaltender Devin Cooley (5-2-2) made 37 saves in his second straight appearance and ninth overall of the season. The fourth year netminder stopped 17 shots over the final 23 minutes of the contest.



Karl Heniksson and Brett Berard scored their fourth and seventh goals of the season, respectively, for Hartford, which showed a 7-2-1-0 mark in its previous 10 games. Goaltender Louis Domingue (8-1-2) stopped 23 of the 26 shots he faced in the overtime decision.


Facing a 2-1 deficit midway through the final period, the Amerks were called for two consecutive penalties.


The Amerks penalty kill unit successfully thwarted both chances before Mason Jobst drew a hooking violation in the offensive zone.


On the ensuing man-advantage, Rosen nearly weaved his way to the net with the puck, but it rolled off his stick into the trapezoid. The Swedish forward calmly passed the puck to the left face-off dot for Giroux before the latter centered it for Weissbach atop the zone. As the Hartford skater stepped out of the penalty box, Weissbach handed it to Kulich to thread between the right post and Domingue, who was screened by Rosen.



The goal with 3:33 left in regulation ultimately forced overtime, Rochester’s second straight contest decided beyond regulation and league-leading 10th of the campaign.


While the Amerks were called for its fourth penalty of the night just 15 seconds into the extra frame, Justin Richards forced Alex Belzile into a hook as they were tied up along the wall.


With Michael Mersch standing tall in front of Domingue, Rosen and Biro played catch near the left point. Biro eventually skated in-between the dots then provided a one-time feed for Kulich to laser past the netminder at the 3:51 mark, to cap the 3-2 overtime victory.


Hartford broke the scoreless game in the final minute of the first as defenseman Blake Hillman kept the puck from exiting the offensive zone. Hillman carried the puck down the right wing before sliding a pass from the corner to Henrikkson. As the latter retrieved the feed, he snapped a shot that glanced off the left post and in-between a screened Cooley.



In  the first minute of the second period, the Amerks were whistled for a too-many-men infraction while trailing 1-0.


Facing the league’s best power-play unit, Rochester not only successfully cleared off the power play and held the Wolf Pack without a shot, but knotted the score with Biro’s shorthanded marker.


With Giroux forcing a Hartford skater into a turnover near the center-ice logo, Biro scooped up the puck and went into the Wolf Pack zone. The Penn State University product utilized the defender as a screen and wired a shot overtop the righthand of Domingue at the 17:39 mark.


Following Biro’s seventh goal of the season, Rochester seemed to gain momentum as they held an 11-1 shot advantage in the first 15 minutes. The visitors had several grade-A chances, however, Domingue stood tall before the Wolf Pack reclaimed their lead inside the 3:00 mark.



Riley Nash dished a pass to Berard through the neutral zone before he stepped down the left wing. The forward held off an Amerk skater and cut across the top of the crease to track down his own miss. Berard gathered the puck again as he looped around the zone and exchanged a quick pass with Robertson. The rookie snagged the return feed prior to wristing a shot in the top corner to make it a 2-1 score.


Rochester forced the overtime period as Kulich scored his first of the night late in contest before he sealed the 3-2 win just past the half point of the extra session.


The Amerks conclude their week-long trek through the Atlantic Division on Saturday, Dec. 16 when they travel to Mohegan Sun Arena at Casey Plaza for a 6:05 p.m. contest with the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins. All the action will be carried live on The Sports Leader 95.7 FM/950 AM The Fan Rochester as well as AHLTV.



Stars and Stripes:

With a pair of goals tonight, Jiri Kulich recorded his third multi-goal of the season and second in the last four contests … His 15 goals are tops amongst all players in the AHL this season as are his four overtime-winning goals … Dating back to the start of the last season, the Amerks show an impressive 21-3-2-1 record when Kulich and Isak Rosen each record at least one point in the same game … The duo has combined for 124 points (61+63) in 165 regular season games over that same span … Damien Giroux has points in back-to-back games and four points (3+1) over his last four games dating back to Nov. 25


Goal Scorers

ROC: B. Biro (7), J. Kulich (14, 15 – OT GWG)

HFD: K. Henriksson (4), B. Berard (7)



ROC: D. Cooley – 37/39 (W)

HFD: L. Domingue – 23/26 (OTL)



ROC: 26

HFD: 39


Special Teams

ROC: PP (1/3) | PK (4/4)

HFD: PP (0/4) | PK (2/3)


Three Stars:

1. ROC - J. Kulich

2. HFD - B. Berard

3. ROC - D. Cooley

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