(Binghamton, NY) … The first-place Rochester Americans (12-4-2-0) survived a late third-period comeback against the Binghamton Devils (8-10-3-0) and picked up a 4-3 win Saturday night at Floyd L. Maines Veterans Memorial Arena.
With the victory the Amerks, who have collected 26 out of a possible 32 points in the last 16 games, maintain a three-point lead atop the AHL’s North Division standings.
Alexander Nylander pushed his point streak to three games as the Swedish forward tallied a multi-point game with a goal and an assist, while Kevin Porter, Wayne Simpson and Zach Redmond all lit the lamp in the win. Goaltender Scott Wedgewood, who was a member of the New Devils organization for parts of seven seasons, stopped 27 of 30 shots he faced to improve to 7-3-1 with the Amerks this year.
WATCH: GAME HIGHLIGHTS
Rookie forward Egor Sharangovich turned in his first-career American Hockey League two-point (1+1) performance for Binghamton, which fell to 1-4-1-0 in the last six contests, while Blake Pietila and Josh Jacobs rounded out the scoring. Netminder Mackenzie Blackwood made 33 saves for the Devils but was dealt his second straight loss.
Clinging to a 3-2 score, the Amerks doubled their lead 7:41 into the final period of play. With the puck near the right circle in the offensive zone, Jack Dougherty, who registered his first two-point night as an Amerk last night, fired a shot toward the cage. The initial offering was denied by Blackwood, but C.J. Smith slid a pass over to Simpson, who slammed it home for his sixth of the season and second in as many nights.
With being awarded the primary helper, Smith has 11 points (3+8) over his last 10 games, including four assists in his last two outings, while Simpson shows two goals and one assist in his last two contests.
Binghamton, despite trailing by a pair of goals, responded 2:18 following Simpson’s goal as Jacobs poked home a loose puck that was sitting atop the goal crease with 9:29 left in regulation. The home team kept eyeing the game-tying goal and appeared to catch a break as they were awarded a four-minute power-play as a result of a double-minor high-sticking infraction nearly two minutes after making it a 3-2 game.
The Amerks, though, were able to successfully kill off the penalty and Nylander seemed to ice the game as he tucked in an empty-net goal with 1:59 remaining in regulation left as Blackwood was on the bench for the extra-attacker.
The home squad, however, would not let Rochester celebrate the road victory without making it a one-score game, as Sharangovich added his third goal of the slate with 77 seconds left in the North Division matchup.
For the third time in the stanza, Binghamton pulled Blackwood, but the Amerks held off the final push and held on for the 4-3 victory. The win gives Rochester points in nine of its last 11 games against the Devils while boasting a 6-2-2-1 record over that span dating back to the start of last season.
Following a scoreless first period and a half to begin the game, the two clubs exchanged goals 2:29 apart in the second stanza before Porter gave the Amerks a 2-1 lead going into the final frame.
Tracking down a clearing attempt in the Binghamton zone, Victor Olofsson stripped a Devils skater of the puck in-between the face-off circles before leading Redmond, who jumped into the play, with a pass inside the blueline. Redmond stepped into the shot that traced the inside of the right post and behind Blackwood, giving the Amerks a 1-0 lead at the 8:19 mark of the period.
The tally was Redmond’s team-leading 13th marker of the season and was assisted by Olofsson and Justin Bailey, who has eight points (5+3) over his last seven games. Redmond is now just two goals away from matching his career-high of 15 from last season and needs just five more goals to tie the single-season franchise record for goals by a Rochester defenseman.
Less than 2:30 after the Redmond goal, Binghamton knotted the score at 1-1 as Pietila patiently waited to wrist a cross-ice feed past a sprawling Wedgewood while on the man-advantage. Prior to the intermission break, Rochester reclaimed the lead as Porter and Nylander neatly exchanged a pair of give-and-go’s inside the final minute of play to give the Amerks a 2-1 lead prior to the completion of the second period.
Porter, who took the face-off inside offensive zone, stripped the puck from a Devils player before hitting Nylander at the left half-wall. The Swedish forward spun with the puck before backhanding a pass to Porter at the left circle.
Dalton Smith and Nylander were credited with the helper’s on Porter’s tally with 29 seconds left in the frame.
The two clubs traded a pair of markers during the final period, but the Amerks held on for the 4-3 victory.
The Amerks bring the month of November to a close on Friday, Nov. 30 when they host the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins for an Eastern Conference showdown at The Blue Cross Arena. The 7:05 p.m. contest will be carried live on The Sports Leader AM 950/ 95.7 FM ESPN Rochester as well as AHLTV.
ROC: Redmond (13), Porter (5), Simpson (6), Nylander (6 – GWG)
BNG: Pietila (7), Jacobs (2), Sharangovich (3)
ROC: Wedgewood – 27/30 (W)
BNG: Blackwood – 33/36 (L)
ROC: PP (0/1) | PK (4/5)
BNG: PP (1/5) | PK (1/1)
1. Wayne Simpson (ROC)
2. Kevin Porter (ROC)
3. Egor Sharangovich (BNG)