Courtesy of Amerks.com
BINGHAMTON, N.Y. — A night after earning their second shutout victory of the season at home on Friday night, the first-place Rochester Americans (13-6-2-0) had the tables turned as they were blanked 3-0 at the hands of the Binghamton Devils (10-10-3-0) Saturday at Floyd L. Maines Veterans Memorial Arena.
Despite the loss, however, the Amerks have managed to collect 28 out of a possible 38 points in the last 19 games, and hold a two-point lead atop the AHL’s North Division standings to open the month of December.
Amerks Goaltender Scott Wedgewood, who has got the nod between the pipes in 11 of the last 14 games, turned in his second straight 35-save performance, but unlike last night, was dealt with the loss. The former Devils netminder shows a record of 8-4-1 on the season. Brendan Guhle recorded a team-high four shots in the loss for the Amerks.
The Devils were led by forwards Blake Pietila (1+1), Nick Lappin (1+1) and Kevin Rooney (0+2), all of whom posted multi-point efforts in the win. Eric Tangradi, who returned to the lineup after sitting out all of November due to an injury, completed the scoring with his third of the season on the power-play. Netminder Mackenzie Blackwood made 22 saves to record his first shutout of the season and the third of his career against the Amerks.
As it appeared the contest was headed into the first intermission scoreless, the Devils broke the deadlock in the final two minutes of the opening frame. Binghamton used a 3-on-2 odd-man rush into the offensive and used a series of quick passes before Lappin hit Pietila by the left face-off dot inside the Rochester zone. Wristing the puck moments after receiving it, the forward fired it just over the left arm of Wedgewood with 1:56 to play in the stanza.
The goal from Lappin and Rooney was Pietila’s sixth in the last 10 games and 10th point dating back to Nov. 9.
Rochester went into the break trailing 1-0 and was outshot 18-8 during the opening 20 minutes of play.
During the second stanza, the Amerks had their best chances of the night to try to solve Blackwood, but the netminder would not yield as he stood tall on both opportunities.
The first came when Amerks forward Sean Malone banked the puck off the boards and out of the Rochester zone, sending Justin Bailey and Alexander Nylander on a 2-on-1 rush towards the Binghamton zone. Blackwood, though, stopped both of Bailey’s shots with just over 13 minutes to play in the middle frame.
Nearly six minutes later while on the man-advantage, the Amerks kept the Devils in the offensive zone for the first half of a holding infraction, and despite a Binghamton player breaking his stick, Blackwood made multiple saves to preserve the shutout.
As the game went into the third period, Binghamton doubled its lead at the 10:43 mark as they got some home ice puck luck while on its own power-play. With the puck below the goal-line, Tangradi attempted to center a pass, but it glanced off a sliding Amerks skate and caromed over the shoulder of an unsuspecting Wedgewood.
The Amerks pulled their netminder with just over two minutes left in regulation to try to cut into the Binghamton lead and possibly spoil Blackwood’s shutout, but Lappin sealed the 3-0 win as he flipped the puck into the empty net at the opposite end for his team-leading 10th tally of the season.
Rochester had entered the matchup with points in nine of the last 11 games against Binghamton dating back to the start of the 2017-18 slate.
The Amerks return home on Wednesday, Dec. 5 when they take on the intrastate rival Utica Comets at The Blue Cross Arena. 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.
BNG: Pietila (8 – GWG), Tangradi (3), Lappin (10)
ROC: Wedgwood – 35/37 (L)
BNG: Blackwood – 22/22(W)
ROC: PP (0/2) | PK (1/2)
BNG: PP (1/2) | PK (2/2)