Courtesy of Amerks.com
BRIDGEPORT, CT — Facing a 3-1 deficit midway through the second period of the first game of the weekend-series with the Bridgeport Sound Tigers (1-2-0-0), the Rochester Americans (2-2-0-0) answered with three straight unanswered goals, including one in the final minute from rookie forward Victor Oloffson to earn a 4-3 come-from-behind win at Webster Bank Arena Saturday afternoon.
For the second consecutive contest, Olofsson (1+1) and veteran defenseman Zach Redmond (0+2) each booked multi-point performances to help the Amerks to their second straight win. Kevin Porter and Alexander Nylander each scored their first goals of the campaign while netminder C.J. Smith added his team-leading third tally in Rochester’s first four games. Scott Wedgewood stopped 20 of 23 to record his first official win between the pipes while wearing the red, white and blue.
Travis St. Denis and Connor Jones each netted the first markers of the season for the Sound Tigers while Steve Bernier added his second of the slate in the defeat. Goaltender Christopher Gibson made 24 saves but was handed his second straight loss.
Moments after the Amerks’ sixth man-advantage of the game had expired, Brendan Guhle fired a shot from just inside the Sound Tigers blueline. It appeared that Gibson was likely going to force a whistle, but Smith was able to dig the puck out before the goaltender could glove it and slipped it over the goal-line to trim the Bridgeport lead to 3-2 with 4:30 left.
Guhle and Justin Bailey each were credited with helpers on Smith’s team-leading third goal of the year.
Before the final period of regulation reached the 5:00 mark, the Amerks drew a pair of cross-checking infractions and had a 5-on-3 for 1:22.
Rochester controlled the puck for much of the first-half of the penalty before Nylander rocketed a cross-ice feed from Olofsson to knot the score at 3-3 with 14:26 left in regulation.
It was the Amerks’ second power-play goal of the game and fifth in the last two contests.
Redmond and Olofsson each picked up their American Hockey League-leading fourth power-play assist on Nylander’s first tally of the season. As for Nylander, the third-year pro shows four points (1+3) over his last three games and is fourth among the team’s skaters with eight shots.
Before the Amerks finished the come-from-behind win they were forced to kill off their own 5-on-3 disadvantage for an entire two minutes inside the final 4:14 of regulation.
Much like the Rochester shorthanded unit had done in the three previous infractions on the afternoon, the Amerks successfully killed off the penalty and seized the momentum.
As an overtime period was looming, Danny O’Regan forced a turnover in the neutral zone that Olofsson flagged down near the offensive zone. Protecting the puck as he entered Bridgeport zone, the Swedish forward sent a backhanded-shot over the left shoulder of the unsuspecting Gibson to give Rochester its first lead of the afternoon with one minute left in the game.
The goal was Olofsson’s fifth point (2+3) in his last two outings, giving him a share of the league’s scoring lead among all AHL first-year skaters.
Despite Bridgeport pulling the goaltender for the final 60 seconds of the matchup, the Amerks held off the attack to earn the 4-3 come-from-behind victory, their second straight comeback win in the last two contests.
With the today’s win, the Amerks have improved to 3-1-1-0 in their last five meetings against the Sound Tigers after going just 1-3-0-0 in the four meetings during the 2016-17 season.
Bridgeport took a 2-1 lead and a 12-8 shot advantage into the first intermission before Rochester outscored the Sound Tigers 3-1 over the final 40 minutes of play. The Amerks registered 20 shots over that same span.
The Amerks and Sound Tigers get right back at it for the second of back-to-back meetings at Webster Bank Arena Sunday afternoon at 3:00 p.m. The contest can be heard live on The Sports Leader 95.7 FM/950 AM ESPN Rochester and viewed on AHLTV.
RCH: Porter (1), C. Smith (3), Nylander (1), Olofsson (2 – GWG)
BRI: Jones (1), St. Denis (1), Bernier (2)
RCH: Wedgewood– 20/23 (W)
BRI: Gibson – 24/28 (L)
RCH: PP (2/8) | PK (5/5)
BRI: PP (0/5) | PK (6/8)