MALONE, MURRAY LEAD AMERKS PAST BRIDGEPORT IN OVERTIME
Murray nets game-winner, Malone records first career hat trick in 6-5 win over IslandersNov 25, 2022
Forward Sean Malone (3+1) recorded his first career hat trick and Brett Murray (1+2) capped off a thrilling high-scoring affair 2:01 into overtime to lead the Rochester Americans (10-5-1-1) to a 6-5 win over the visiting Bridgeport Islanders (10-3-4-0) Friday night at The Blue Cross Arena.
With the victory, Rochester’s second straight in overtime, has earned at least one point in eight of its first nine home contests so far this season, boasting a 7-1-1-0 mark within the friendly confines of The Blue Cross Arena. Five of the Amerks’ seven home victories this season have come when the team trailed entering the final 20 minutes of regulation while all seven wins have come by way of four or more goals. Rochester has outscored its opposition 17-10 after the start of the third period.
Along with Malone, who also added an assist for first four-point night, and Murray recording multi-point games, Ethan Prow (0+2), Isak Rosen (0+2), Michael Mersch (0+2), and Kale Clague (1+1) all produced a pair of points. Mersch appeared in his 100th game as an Amerk. Jiri Kulich (1+0) rounded out the scoring in the win while Linus Weissbach and Anders Bjork each notched an assist.
Goaltender Malcolm Subban earned his first win as an Amerk to even his record to 1-1-0 as he made his second appearance of the season. The netminder’s last win in the AHL came on Dec. 1, 2021, as a member of the Rockford IceHogs.
Bridgeport was paced offensively by Andy Andreoff’s first AHL hat trick since Dec. 17, 2014, while Chris Terry also turned in a three-point night as he totaled three assists. Samuel Bolduc (0+2) also had a two-point effort while Arnaud Durandeau and Jeff Kubiak both filled the net. Fourth-year goaltender Jakub Skarek (3-2-3) made his eighth appearance of the campaign, making 21 saves but suffered the overtime defeat.
After seeing Bridgeport score twice in the third period to force overtime, which included Durandeau’s equalizer with 49 seconds remaining in regulation, the extra session was required as the score was even at 5-5.
Neither team generated much offensively in the first 90 seconds, but following a quick line change, Murray scooped up a pass in-between the face-off dots from Rosen. As Murray looped around the dot with the puck, he sprinted towards the net before he roofed a shot over Skarek’s glove to lift the Amerks to the 6-5 win.
Counting tonight’s matchup, eight of the last 15 games with Bridgeport have been decided beyond regulation, including four of the last five dating back to the 2018-19 campaign.
After allowing the first goal of the game to the Islanders four minutes into the contest, the Amerks responded back on Malone’s natural hat trick, which he completed in only 5:07 to put Rochester up 3-1.
Nearly five minutes after Bridgeport’s opening goal, Malone gathered a slow-moving puck after Clague’s right-point shot nearly trickled across the line. Skarek used his stick to swipe the puck before it crossed the line entirely, but inadvertently played it to his left for Malone, who roofed the second attempt for his first of the night.
Less than three minutes later, Murray stepped out from the left face-off dot with the puck and slid a pass to Mersch at the opposite circle. As the Amerks’ captain drew the attention of the Bridgeport players, he slithered a pass for Malone at the backdoor to give Rochester a 2-1 lead with 8:14 to play in the stanza.
To close out his three-goal period, Malone again picked up a loose rebound to the right of the Islanders’ net. The Buffalo native quickly rifled a shot inside the left post and crossbar while Rochester was on its first power-play of the night.
Mersch, who had the initial assist on Malone’s second of the night, also recorded the primary assist while Rosen was awarded the secondary helper on the final goal of the frame.
With his first career hat trick, Malone is the first Amerk this season to have three goals and first since JJ Peterka had a four-point effort (3+1) in the 2021-22 regular season finale against the Utica Comets on April 29.
While Bridgeport managed to trim the deficit to one on Andreoff’s goal at the 6:04 mark, Rochester drew three consecutive power-plays.
Five seconds into the second infraction, the Islanders were called for their third, thus resulting in the Amerks having a 5-on-3 advantage for 1:55.
Rochester wasted little time as Prow held the puck atop the zone following a face-off win to the right of Skarek. The blueliner exchanged passes with Weissbach and Kulich before the latter connected on a one-timer to restore the two-goal lead with seven minutes left in the middle period.
Heading into the third period, the Amerks held a 4-2 cushion but early in the frame, the Islanders cut into the deficit just 1:41.
Seven minutes after Andreoff’s second of the night, Bjork and Malone notched an assist on Clague’s first goal as an Amerk at the 8:31 mark.
The goal was Clague’s in the AHL since March 26, 2021, when he was with the Ontario Reign.
The Islanders scored twice in the final 13 minutes, beginning with Andreoff completing the hat trick before Durandeau’s fourth of the season with 49 seconds remaining forced overtime.
Already with two assists in the game, Murray sealed the win just 2:01 into the extra session with his eighth of the season from Rosen and Prow.
The Amerks close out their three-game trek through the Atlantic Division on Saturday, Nov. 26 when they travel to Allentown to meet up with the Lehigh Valley Phantoms at PPL Center. Game time is slated for a 7:00 p.m. start and will be carried on The Sports Leader 95.7 FM/950 AM The Fan Rochester as well as AHLTV.
The Amerks have earned points in 10 of the last 11 meetings dating back to the 2017-18 campaign against Bridgeport, including a 4-0-2-0 mark in the previous six home contests at The Blue Cross Arena ... The Amerks' 13 power-play goals at home are fourth-most in the league this season, going for 13-for-37 through their first nine home matchups ... Following tonight’s performance, Isak Rosen is tied for fourth amongst all AHL rookies with a team-high 10 assists and tied for seventh in points (13).
BRI: J. Kubiak (3), A. Andreoff (7, 8, 9), A. Durandeau (4)
ROC: S. Malone (6, 7, 8), J. Kulich (3), K. Clague (1), B. Murray (8)
BRI: J. Skarek – 21/27 (OTL)
BRI: M. Subban – 28/33 (W)
BRI: PP (1/2) | PK (3/5)
ROC: PP (2/5) | PK (1/2)
1. ROC - S. Malone
2. BRI - A. Andreoff
3. ROC - B. Murray