(Springfield, MA) … The Springfield Thunderbirds (8-4-0-2) scored seven goals in the second period and added a goal in each of the first and final frame to hand the Rochester Americans (10-4-1-0) their first regulation loss of the season Friday night. The 9-4 defeat from the MassMutual Center was the first-leg of Rochester’s three-in-three stretch through the Atlantic Division.
Despite the loss, the Amerks maintain their four-point lead atop the AHL’s North Division standings over the Cleveland Monsters and have won five of their last seven contests.
Amerks captain Kevin Porter recorded a season-high three-point (2+1) performance while Lawrence Pilut (0+2) and C.J. Smith (1+1) each registered a multi-point night for Rochester, which entered the game having collected 21 out of a possible 24 points in its last 12 contests. Zach Redmond tallied his seventh goal in the last seven contests and 11th overall of the season while Alexander Nylander added his fifth goal of the slate. Goaltender Scott Wedgewood, who has gotten the nod between the pipes in eight of the last 10 games, had eight saves in 23 minutes before being replaced by Adam Wilcox in the second period. Wilcox made 18 saves in just over 37 minutes of relief work but was dealt with the loss. Wilcox had entered the weekend having a record of 4-0-1 in his second season with the Amerks.
Dryden Hunt notched a career-best four-point night as he tallied his second AHL hat trick to go along with an assist for Springfield, which snapped a four-game losing skid. Jacob MacDonald, a 2018 AHL All-Star, posted two goals and an assist while Paul Thompson added a pair of goals. Jake Horton, Jonathan Ang, Thomas Schemitsch and Riley Stillman all chipped in two helpers while Bobby Farnham and Julian Melchiori rounded out the scoring on the night. Second-year netminder Samuel Montembeault stopped 33 of the 37 shots he faced to improve to 6-1-0 on the season.
After the two clubs emerged from the dressing rooms tied at 1-1, Springfield scored on four of its first six shots in the second period to grab a commanding 5-1 lead just 3:34 into the frame. The Thunderbirds made it 6-1 by the 5:29 mark.
The Thunderbirds added three more tallies, including a pair from Hunt, which completed his three-goal game, before the Amerks stopped the onslaught with 5:31 left in the period.
With the puck hemmed in the offensive zone, Rochester defenseman Brendan Guhle fired a shot towards the Springfield netminder from the left point. Tracking the shot as he was skating through the circles, Smith redirected the shot and it made its way behind Montembeault.
Less than three minutes later, Redmond connected on the power-play with a one-timer from the point that zipped past the Springfield netminder and into the upper right corner for his team-leading 11th goal of the season to cap a nine-goal period between the two teams. The Amerks and Thunderbirds combined for nine goals, 16 assists and 29 shots but the Amerks trailed 8-3.
During the final period of regulation, Rochester was able to capitalize on a pair of power-plays to make it four-goal game, but Springfield’s MacDonald sealed the 9-4 win as he netted his fifth of the campaign and second of the game at the 13:19 mark.
With their two strikes on man-advantage, the Amerks ended a stretch of five games without a marker on the power-play and an 0-for-35 skid.
Rochester opened the scoring when Porter scored his fourth of the year moments after Pilut served an interference penalty, but Hunt evened the game with his first of three tallies on the night before the end the first period.
Rochester continues its three-game swing through the Atlantic Division on Saturday, Nov. 17 with a matchup against the Providence Bruins at 7:05 p.m. before closing out the trip on Sunday afternoon at 3:00 p.m. in Hartford against the Wolf Pack. All of the action from both of the weekend’s games will be carried live on The Sports Leader AM 950/ 95.7 FM ESPN Rochester and can be viewed on AHLTV.
ROC: Porter (4), C.J. Smith (6), Redmond (11), Nylander (5)
SPR: Hunt (6, 7, 8), MacDonald (4, 5), Thompson (9,10), Melchiori (3), Farnham (1)
ROC: Wedgewood – 8/12 | Wilcox – 18/23 (L)
SPR: Montembeault – 33/37 (W)
ROC: PP (2/5) | PK (5/7)
SPR: PP (2/7) | PK (3/5)
1: Dryden Hunt (SPR)
2. Paul Thompson (SPR)
3. Jacob MacDonald (SPR)