(Rochester, NY) … Scott Wedgewood stopped all 35 shots he faced to pick up his second shutout of the season and Victor Olofsson’s second-period tally proved to be the difference as the first-place Rochester Americans (13-5-2-0) topped the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins (9-9-3-0) Friday night at The Blue Cross Arena.
With the 1-0 victory, the Amerks, who have collected 28 out of a possible 36 points in the last 18 games, maintain their three-point lead atop the AHL’s North Division standings.
WATCH: GAME HIGHLIGHTS
Wedgewood improved to 8-3-1 on the season by picking up his second shutout of the season. The seventh-year netminder is now tied for third amongst all AHL goalies with eight wins and a pair of shutouts. Olofsson tallied his seventh marker of the season for Rochester, which has won four of the last six get-togethers with Wilkes-Barre/Scranton dating back to the 2016-17 season.
The Penguins, who show a 2-5-2-0 record in their last nine contests, were led by a career-high nine shots from forward Jean-Sebastien Dea, who was reclaimed off waivers by the parent Pittsburgh Penguins yesterday. Former Amerks goaltender John Muse stopped 29 of 30 and was dealt his second loss of the season in his just second appearance of the year.
WATCH: VICTOR OLOFSSON POST-GAME
Following a scoreless opening frame which saw a combined for 26 shots between the two teams, the Amerks broke the stalemate nearly four minutes into the second period.
As the puck made its way behind the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton net, Danny O’Regan gathered it before centering a pass to Olofsson on the doorstep. The Swedish forward’s initial shot was stopped by Muse before the rebound bounced just beyond the right post. Olofsson then circled the net and made good on the second opportunity at the 3:59 mark of the stanza.
“I received a good pass from Danny and just tried to get a stick on the shot,” explained Olofsson. “The puck somehow went through their goalie, so I raced around the net and poked in the rebound.”
O’Regan and Rasmus Asplund were credited with the helpers on Olofsson’s seventh tally of the slate.
WATCH: CHRIS TAYLOR POST-GAME
The Amerks carried the one-goal lead into the intermission despite a 22-20 shot-advantage after 40 minutes.
Wilkes-Barre/Scranton seemed to catch a pair of breaks with 6:25 left in regulation as the Amerks were whistled for a delay of game infraction. On the ensuing power-play, Haggerty ripped a one-timer from Will O’Neill that caromed over the glove of Wedgewood before clanging off the crossbar. Haggerty had additional opportunities seconds later, but Wedgewood was again equal to the task.
WATCH: SCOTT WEDGEWOOD POST-GAME
Rochester successfully killed off the infraction, as well as the other three penalties on the night. The Amerks have gone 14-for-16 (87.5 %) in their last four home games dating back to Nov. 7.
Wilkes-Barre/Scranton pulled Muse for the extra attacker for the final 1:38, but Wedgewood and company hung on as the Amerks picked up the 1-0 victory.
“I don’t think we played our best hockey game, but good teams find a way to win,” said Amerks head coach and former Penguins assistant coach Chris Taylor. “Scott got us two points tonight and sometimes you need that from a goaltender.”
The 1-0 shutout marks the second home blanking on the season.
“I thought our commitment in the defensive zone was huge tonight,” said Wedgewood. “Blocking shots and communication on the ice has improved over the last month or so and those two things help me track rebounds and keeps everyone aware on what’s happening in the game.”
The Amerks return to Floyd L. Maines Veterans Memorial Arena for the second time in as many weeks on Saturday, Dec. 1 as they meet-up with the Binghamton Devils for a North Division showdown in the southern tier. 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: Olofsson (7 – GWG)
ROC: Wedgwood – 35/35 (W)
WBS: Muse – 29/30 (L)
ROC: PP (0/2) | PK (4/4)
WBS: PP (0/4) | PK (2/2)
1. Scott Wedgewood (ROC)
2. Victor Olofsson (ROC)
3. Danny O’Regan (ROC)