(Rochester, NY) … Just two games after tying the single-season franchise record for goals by a defenseman, Zach Redmond finally made it his own as he scored his team-leading 19th goal of the season – and AHL-best eighth game-winner – while adding two assists to lead the Rochester Americans (25-13-2-1) to a wild 7-5 win over the Binghamton Devils (19-23-4-0) Wednesday at The Blue Cross Arena.
Rochester scored three goals in each of the first two periods before Wayne Simpson tacked on an empty-netter in the closing seconds of the third as the Amerks became the first team in the AHL’s North Division this season to reach the 25-win mark.
Along with the win, the Amerks, who have collected 15 points in the last 11 games, including five out of a possible six in their last three outings, increased their first-place lead atop the North Division ahead of Friday night’s tilt with the Utica Comets.
Redmond’s three-point night helped the Amerks improve to 7-4-2-1 in their last 14 games with Binghamton. The veteran blueliner also shows nine points (3+6) in his last four games, which includes a career-best four-point night this past Friday in a 5-4 win at Wilkes-Barre/Scranton.
WATCH: GAME HIGHLIGHTS
Danny O’Regan (2+0), Victor Olofsson (1+1) and Rasmus Asplund (0+2) all turned in multi-point effort while newcomer Taylor Leier and Scott Wilson both tallied their first goals as Amerks. Simpson rounded out the scoring, icing the win with 29 seconds to spare. Goaltender Scott Wedgewood (16-7-1) tied a personal-best as he earned his 16th win of the slate. The netminder is tied for second in the AHL in wins and just four back of the league lead.
Binghamton was led offensively by Michael McLeod’s three-assist night while Nathan Bastian and Egor Yakovlev tallied two goals and two assists, respectively. Forwards Eric Tangradi and Brandon Gignac completed the scoring while netminder Cory Schneider made 23 saves but was handed his second straight loss.
WATCH: KEVIN PORTER POST-GAME
After seeing Binghamton score three unanswered goals in a span of 2:55 to even the score at 4-4 13 minutes into second period, the Amerks countered back with a pair of tallies 54 seconds apart to take a two-goal lead into the break.
Rochester drew its only power-play of the contest at the 15:10 mark, but the Amerks, who have gone 15-for-48 on the man-advantage over their last 11 games, needed only 17 seconds to capitalize as O’Regan tapped in a loose rebound attempt.
Following O’Regan’s second goal of the night and 15th of the campaign, Redmond joined Kevin Porter on a 2-on-none odd-man rush towards Schneider. Porter drifted to his left with the puck once inside the face-off dots and dished a pass to Redmond, who steered it past a sprawling Schneider to establish a new franchise record. With 19 on the season, he’ll also become the first defenseman in the 63-year history of the franchise to reach the 20-goal mark.
WATCH: CHRIS TAYLOR POST-GAME
“Zach is a great person for our dressing room,” said Amerks head coach Chris Taylor. “The way he helps our team and the organization is unbelievable. What he is doing on the ice is even more incredible. Overall, I am very happy for him to get the record.”
The Devils brought the game to a one-goal game 4:18 into the third period but that was as close as they would get before Simpson capped the victory with his 13th marker of the season.
“It’s not the way we drew it up,” said Porter talking about the outcome following the game. “We were able to bear-down at the end after a bit of a messy second period, but we got the two points and that’s what mattered most.”
WATCH: TAYLOR LEIER POST-GAME
Rochester, which held a 9-2 shot-advantage less than eight minutes into the game, quickly added a pair of tallies 1:14 apart to snag a 2-0 lead before making it three-goal cushion with four minutes left in the opening frame.
Shortly after Wilson’s first tally as an Amerk and O’Regan’s first of the night, Leier, who made his home debut after being acquired last week, was credited with his primary goal.
While Binghamton made it a 3-1 score before the end of the first period, Olofsson picked the upper right corner of the net to push the Amerks lead to three with 11:07 to play in the middle stanza.
WATCH: DANNY O'REGAN POST-GAME
“He has a pretty great shot,” smiled O’Regan. “I was still on the bench when the puck got to his stick but, I was already raising my arms before he even shot it.”
Despite facing a three-goal deficit, the Devils knotted the score at 4-4 but Rochester punched back with a pair of tallies to regain its lead.
“Offensively, we did a really good job tonight,” said Taylor. “We created a lot of scoring opportunities. Yes, we gave up some goals, but Binghamton is a good team despite being at the bottom of the standings. They’re a hard team to play against, so it was a big win for us.”
The Amerks return to action for their final two games before the All-Star break beginning on Friday, Jan. 25 when they host the intrastate rival Utica Comets at The Blue Cross Arena at 7:05 p.m. Rochester then faces the Syracuse Crunch on Saturday to conclude the week. Friday’s game can be heard live on The Sports Leader AM 950/95.7 FM ESPN Rochester and will be televised live on MSG.
ROC: Wilson (1), O’Regan (14, 15), Leier (11), Olofsson (14), Redmond (19 – GWG), Simpson (13)
BNG: Bastian (11, 12), Tangradi (5), Gignac (8), Saracino (3)
ROC: Wedgewood – 25/30 (W)
BNG: Schneider – 23/29 (L)
ROC: PP (1/1) | PK (1/1)
BNG: PP (0/1)| PK (0/1)
1. Zach Redmond (ROC)
2. Danny O’Regan (ROC)
3. Nathan Bastian (BNG)