(Hartford, CT) … As the Rochester Americans (11-4-2-0) entered the final period of Sunday’s matinee against the Hartford Wolf Pack (7-9-1-2), they faced a two-goal deficit in the final game of their first three-in-three of the season. However, when the final horn sounded, it was the Amerks who came away with a 4-3 come-from-behind win at the XL Center thanks to three third-period goals.
With the victory, the Amerks have earned 24 out of a possible 28 points in the last 14 contests and have won six of their last nine games overall to build a five-point lead over the Cleveland Monsters for the top spot in the AHL’s North Division.
Defensemen Lawrence Pilut and Zach Redmond, who scored his sixth game-winning goal of the season, each posted a two-point performance (1+1) while rookie forward Rasmus Asplund turned in his first-career multi-point outing with a goal and an assist. Danny O’Regan also found the back of the net to complete the scoring for Rochester while goaltender Adam Wilcox improved to 5-1-1 on the season as he stopped 35 of 38 shots he faced.
WATCH: GAME HIGHLIGHTS
The Wolf Pack, who came into the contest with points in six of their last seven games, were led by forwards Cole Schneider, Peter Holland and Gabriel Fontaine as they all scored in the loss for Hartford. Netminder Marek Mazanec finished the game with 24 saves but was handed his fifth loss of the season as he now has a record of 4-5-2 in 11 appearances this season for Hartford.
With the score of 3-2 in favor of the Wolf Pack, Schneider slipped behind the Amerks defensemen and was sprung all alone towards Wilcox for the second time of the game with 6:26 left in regulation. Much like the Amerks goaltender did prior to the end of the middle period, he stonewalled the former Amerk to keep the home squad off the board, thus giving Rochester a chance of a comeback.
Just 2:01 after the timely save from Wilcox, O’Regan knotted the score at 3-3 as he buried Asplund’s rebound past the blocker of Mazanec at the 15:36 mark. The game-tying goal was O’Regan’s sixth marker of the season with the assists going to Asplund and Will Borgen.
The Amerks kept testing Mazanec during the third period to avoid overtime and were awarded for their work when Redmond fired the puck behind the netminder as he was stationed along the left corner of the offensive zone.
Redmond’s tally with 4:24 left in regulation was his team-leading 12th of the season and held up as his league-leading sixth game-winning goal.
Pilut, who extended his point streak to eight games with his two-point effort, and Justin Bailey were awarded the assists on Redmond’s goal. Pilut is tied for the league-lead with 22 points (3+19) in his first 15 games while his 19 helpers are most in the AHL.
Hartford made one final effort to force the extra frame as they were awarded a penalty late in the contest when the Amerks were whistled for a delay of game infraction and pulled Mazanec, but Rochester hung on to preserve the come-from-behind win.
Despite the two clubs combining for 23 shots on goal in the first 20 minutes of play, Holland gave the Wolf Pack a 1-0 lead as he finished a 2-on-1 odd-man rush 9:50 into the contest.
Rochester emerged from the intermission break down a goal, but Asplund netted his first-career American Hockey League goal just 1:45 into the second stanza as he fired a shot past the glove-hand of the netminder. Victor Olofsson, who had missed the previous three games due to injury, forced a turnover inside the Amerks zone before sending his fellow Swedish countryman in all alone on Mazanec.
Later in the frame after the Amerks had evened the score at 1-1, the Wolf Pack responded with a pair of tallies six minutes apart to take a two-goal lead into the second intermission before Rochester countered with three straight unanswered third-period goals.
The third-period comeback began with Alexander Nylander collecting his own rebound along the right half-wall less than six minutes into the final frame. Nylander spotted Redmond parked at the top of the point, and after dusting off the pass, Redmond set-up Pilut for a one-time feed, which snuck through traffic and into the back of the net at the 5:28 mark.
Rochester returns from the Thanksgiving break with back-to-back games, beginning on Friday, Nov. 23 as the Utica Comets make their first trip of the season to The Blue Cross Arena. Game time is slated for a 7:05 p.m. start and will be carried live on The Sports Leader AM 950/ 95.7 FM ESPN Rochester as well as AHLTV.
ROC: Asplund (1), Pilut (3), O’Regan (6), Redmond (12 – GWG)
HFD: Holland (2), Fontaine (2), Schneider (6)
ROC: Wilcox – 35/38 (W)
HFD: Mazanec – 24/28 (L)
ROC: PP (0/2) | PK (5/5)
HFD: PP (0/5) | PK (2/2)
1. Rasmus Asplund (ROC)
2. Adam Wilcox (ROC)
3. Peter Holland (HFD)