(Charlotte, NC) … The Rochester Americans (27-16-2-4) opened the scoring just 41 seconds into Tuesday’s contest against the Charlotte Checkers (28-17-3-0), but the reigning Calder Cup champions would go onto score four of the next five goals to come away with a 4-2 win in the first of back-to-back meetings between the two teams at Bojangles' Coliseum.
Forward Rasmus Asplund scored his second goal of the campaign from Remi Elie and C.J. Smith in the first minute of the tilt while John Gilmour notched his sixth during the middle period. Casey Mittelstadt and Jean-Sebastien Dea were credited with the helpers on Gilmour’s tally. Goaltender Andrew Hammond (13-11-2) made his second consecutive start and made 32 saves but took the loss.
Julien Gauthier produced a game-high three-point night with a pair of goals and an assist while both Roland McKeown and Morgan Geekie both found the back of the net to help the Checkers to their fourth straight win and improve to 8-2-1-0 in the all-time series with Rochester. Fredrik Claesson chipped in two assists for his fifth multi-point effort of the season. Netminder Alex Nedeljkovic (15-9-1) stopped 26 of the 28 shots he faced to earn his 15th win and third straight.
After seeing Gilmour tie the score at two midway through the second stanza, the Checkers emerged from the locker room for the final 20 minutes of play testing Hammond early and often in the third period.
Charlotte had eight of the first 10 shots in the final frame and then took a 3-2 lead as Geekie pushed his franchise-record point streak to 14 games when he finished off a Spencer Smallman pass from behind the net. Smallman begin the play at the 8:09 mark when he gathered a loose puck to the left of the cage and tucked behind the net before spotting Geekie, whose 18th of the season proved to be the game-winner.
The Amerks attempted to find the equalizer in the final minutes of regulation as Hammond was summoned in favor of the extra attacker, but Gauthier sealed the 4-2 win with his team-leading 25th goal of the season and second of the night.
Rochester opened the scoring just 41 seconds into the contest but Charlotte countered back with a pair of first-period tallies to take a 2-1 lead after the opening 20 minutes. Then, during the second period after serving a penalty, Taylor Leier and Dea pressured the Checkers defensemen, causing a turnover before Mittelstadt handed Gilmour a drop-pass that he one-timed past Nedeljkovic at the 11:39 mark.
Charlotte scored a pair of goals in the third to take a 4-2 win, handing Rochester its third straight defeat since winning a season-long six straight games.
The Amerks have a shot at redemption on Wednesday, Feb. 12 as the same two teams square off again one final time this season with a rematch at Bojangles' Coliseum. Game time is slated for a 7:00 p.m. start and will be carried live on The Sports Leader AM 950/95.7 FM ESPN Rochester as well as AHLTV.
ROC: R. Asplund (2), J. Gilmour (6)
CHA: R. McKeown (4), J. Gauthier (24, 25), M. Geekie (18 – GWG)
ROC: A. Hammond – 32/35 (L)
CHA: A. Nedeljkovic – 26/28 (W)
ROC: PP (0/4) | PK (3/3)
CHA: PP (0/3) | PK (4/4)
1. M. Geekie (CHA)
2. J. Gauthier (CHA)
3. R. McKeown (CHA)