(Laval, Quebec) … After falling behind 2-1 near the midway point of the opening period, the Rochester Americans (3-3-0-0) responded with four straight unanswered goals on their way to a 5-2 victory over the Laval Rocket (4-3-1-0) in the inaugural meeting between the two teams Wednesday night at Place Bell. The win also snaps a three-game skid for the Amerks, who improve to 2-0-0-0 on the road this season.
Nick Baptiste recorded his first multi-point (1+2) outing of the season as did Colin Blackwell (2+1), Sahir Gill (1+1) and Garret Ross (0+2) to help the Amerks in the come-from-behind victory. Casey Nelson capped off the scoring for Rochester as he netted his first of the season, while goaltender Linus Ullmark evened his record on the campaign to 2-2-0 after making 37 saves on the night, which included 28 over the final 40 minutes of play.
Former Amerk Nick Deslauriers began the scoring for the Rocket while Chris Terry scored his team-leading sixth goal of the season. Second-year netminder Zachary Fucale suffered his first loss of the season despite stopping 22 of 27.
After seeing the Rocket take a 2-1 lead with their league-leading 11th power-play goal of the season with 11:36 left in the opening frame, the Amerks took another infraction four minutes later.
However, it was Rochester that gained momentum as Gill was sprung into the offensive zone from Kyle Criscuolo. As Gill snuck behind the Laval defenseman, the 25-year-old bagged his first goal of the season and the first shorthanded goal for Rochester since former Amerks blueliner Brady Austin on March 31 of last season.
The two clubs entered the intermission break tied at two but it was Baptiste who gave the Amerks a lead they would never surrender 7:08 into the middle stanza. The marker was scored just as a Laval penalty had expired but it was setup by Barry Goers and Gill.
Despite being outshot 14-6 during the second period and taking three minor penalties, the Amerks escaped the frame with the 3-2 lead, but it did not take long for Rochester to double its cushion to a pair of goals early in the final stanza.
As Baptiste carried the puck into the Rocket zone, he hit Blackwell with a pass near the right face-off dot. Blackwell, who scored just four goals in 57 games last season with the San Jose Barracuda, wasted little time to bury his second goal of the night. Brendan Guhle and Baptiste each were credited with the helpers on the tally.
The Amerks would conclude the scoring on the night with Nelson’s goal with 3:41 left to play in the front-end of the home-and-home series. The marker was the second-year defenseman’s first of the slate and assisted by Ross and Blackwell.
With Blackwell’s three-point (2+1) performance, it establishes a new career-high in both goals and points while the two-assist effort from Ross was his first multi-point game since Jan. 12, 2016 as a member of the Rockford IceHogs.
After a quick turnaround, the same two teams meet again for the second time in three nights as the home-and-home series shifts back to Rochester for a 7:05 p.m. rematch at The Blue Cross Arena. The Amerks will then close out the first month of the 2017-18 campaign on Saturday, Oct. 28 when they host the Syracuse Crunch for the third meeting of the season. Both matchups will be carried live on The Sports Leader 95.7 FM/950 AM ESPN Rochester.
RCH: Blackwell (1, 2), Gill (1), Baptiste (1), Nelson (1)
LAV: Deslauriers (2), Terry (6)
RCH: Ullmark – 37/39 (W)
LAV: Fucale– 22/27 (L)
RCH: PP (0/5) / PK (5/6)
LAV: PP (1/6) / PK (5/5) / PK (5/5)