(Charlotte, NC) … Trailing 4-1 at the halfway point, the Rochester Americans (24-9-5-5) pushed back with three straight unanswered goals to take the game beyond regulation, but fell 5-4 in overtime in the second of back-to-back games against the Charlotte Checkers (24-17-0-1) Sunday afternoon at Bojangles’ Coliseum.
The overtime loss gives the Amerks three out of a possible four points on the weekend, with two games remaining in their season-long five-game road swing prior to the AHL All-Star break.
Kevin Porter scored twice in a span of 2:28 in the third period, the second of which tied the game at 4-4 with 2:01 left to play, with Hudson Fasching assisting on both goals. Rookie Sean Malone (1+0) scored his second goal in as many games, while Seth Griffith (1+0) rounded out the scoring to extend his point streak to four games, keeping him at a point-per-game pace. The former AHL All-Star has totaled five points (2+3) over his current point streak to move into fifth on the team in scoring. Linus Ullmark made 23 saves on the day.
Charlotte’s Valentin Zykov (2+1) capped a three-point day by delivering the game-winner just 1:07 into the extra session while Andrew Miller (1+2) also notched three points behind a 26-save effort from Alex Nedeljkovic.
The Checkers grabbed the early just 49 seconds into the contest when Warren Foegele passed the puck to Miller at center ice for a breakaway opportunity. Miller streaked down the ice and fired the puck into the net to put Charlotte in front 1-0.
The Amerks evened the score less than five minutes later when Justin Bailey intercepted an errant pass as the Checkers attempted to leave their own zone. Bailey brought the puck to the net with a shot, which was denied, but Malone picked up the rebound for his second goal in as many nights to make it a 1-1 game.
Charlotte widened the gap from there, as goals from Trevor Carrick, Zykov and Foegele left the Amerks facing a 4-1 deficit halfway through the second period. Rochester was quick to answer, however, as Griffith converted on the power-play at 13:42 that would jumpstart the comeback efforts and cut Charlotte’s lead in half.
The Amerks inched even closer with 4:29 remaining in regulation when Fasching spotted Porter at the top of the crease for his first of two third-period strikes. Just 2:28 later, in a nearly identical play, Porter connected on another feed from Fasching, knotting the game at 4-4 and ultimately forcing overtime.
After the Amerks nearly won it in the early stages of overtime, Zykov corralled a loose puck from within his own end skated the length of the ice before beating a sprawled Ullmark to seal the 5-4 win for Charlotte.
Rochester continues its season-long five-game road swing on Friday, Jan. 26 as the Amerks head north of the border for a North Division showdown against the Toronto Marlies at Ricoh Coliseum. Game time is slated for a 7:00 p.m. start and will be broadcast live on The Sports Leader 95.7 FM/950 AM ESPN Rochester.
RCH: Malone (4), Griffith (8), Porter 11, 12)
CHA: Miller (10), Carrick (3), Zykov (20, 21 – OT GWG), Foegele (20)
RCH: Ullmark– 23/28 (OTL)
CHA: Nedeljkovic – 26/30 (W)
RCH: PP (1/4) | PK (3/3)
CHA: PP (0/3) | PK (3/4)