Courtesy of Amerks.com
WILKES-BARRE, PA) — Zach Redmond scored twice to tie the single-season franchise record for goals by a defenseman (18) and added two assists for a career-high four-point night to lead the Rochester Americans (24-13-2-0) to a 5-4 win over the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins (19-17-4-1) Friday at Mohegan Sun Arena at Casey Plaza.
Redmond scored his 17th and 18th goals of the season to tie the mark originally set by Amerks Hall of Famer Rick Pagnutti during the 1972-73 campaign. The veteran blueliner will have his first chance to break the record Saturday as Rochester concludes its weekend trek through Pennsylvania with a matchup against the Lehigh Valley Phantoms in Allentown.
With tonight’s victory over Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, the Amerks have won five of the last seven get-togethers with the Penguins and six of their last nine games overall to stay tied for first-place in the AHL’s North Division standings with 50 points on the season.
Redmond, who was named to the North Division All-Star roster earlier this month, collected his second straight multi-point effort (2+2) while Victor Olofsson (2+0) and Danny O’Regan (1+1) rounded out the scoring. Goaltender Scott Wedgewood, who has gotten the nod in 10 of the last 13 games for the Amerks, upped his record to 15-7-1 as he made 19 saves. The Etobicoke, Ontario, native is one win shy from tying a career-best from the 2013-14 season while his 15 wins rank fourth in the AHL.
Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, which entered tonight’s contest winners in four of its last six games, were led by forwards Anthony Angello (2+0), Jimmy Hayes (1+0) and Adam Johnson (1+0), while netminder Tristian Jarry stopped 33 of 38 shots he faced.
After falling behind 2-1 midway through the opening stanza, the Amerks responded during the final two periods with a pair of goals to complete the season-series sweep against the Penguins.
Nearly eight minutes into the second period, O’Regan found himself and Rasmus Asplund on a 2-on-0 breakaway thanks to a long stretch pass from Redmond as the Penguins were caught in the middle of a line change. Moments after looking off Asplund, O’Regan quickly fired a shot and beat Jarry under the glove hand with 12:12 to play in the stanza.
Less than five minutes after setting up O’Regan for the game-tying goal, Redmond notched his second goal of the contest from the same spot as his first of the night, at the right face-off dot. The power-play goal from C.J. Smith and Wayne Simpson extends Rochester’s stretch of road games with a tally on the man-advantage to eight.
The Amerks have gone 13-for-34 while on the man-advantage over their last eight games outside the Flower City and carry the league’s top-ranked road power-play percentage with a 31.1 success rate.
Rochester did not carry the 3-2 lead for long, however, as Johnson evened the game before the end of the period, setting up a 3-3 tie after 40 minutes of play.
The Amerks did not flinch as Olofsson came out in the final 20 minutes of regulation and tallied a pair of markers to make it a 5-3 game at the 14:31 mark. O’Regan was awarded the helper on the Swede’s first goal of the period while Redmond and Alexander Nylander picked up the assists on his second.
Over his last eight games, Olofsson has tallied nine points (3+6), which includes three multi-point outings, while Redmond has totaled 11 points (4+7) dating back Dec. 28, being held scoreless just once during that span.
Wilkes-Barre/Scranton made things interesting yet again, making it a one-goal game with just 62 seconds remaining as Angello tallied his second of the night, but Wedgewood held off the final attack to earn the 5-4 victory.
Wilkes-Barre/Scranton opened the scoring as Ethan Prow, who will represent the Penguins at the 2019 AHL All-Star Classic later this month, centered the puck in the offensive zone. The blueliner’s shot towards Wedgewood was intercepted by Angello. After quickly turning from his backhand to his forehand, Angello flipped the puck into the net just 3:29 into the stanza.
Rochester, however, responded on the ensuing shift as former Penguin Scott Wilson forced a turnover below the goal line and dished a perfect cross-ice feed to Redmond atop the right faceoff dot. Wasting no time, Redmond sniped a shot inside the right post to knot the score.
The Penguins reclaimed their one-goal cushion midway through the stanza as Joseph Cramarossa and Hayes skated into the Amerks zone on a 2-on-1 rush. Cramarossa carried the puck down the left wing before hitting Hayes, who tucked a shot just inside the near post to give Wilkes-Barre/Scranton a 2-1 lead entering the intermission break.
Despite trailing 2-1 after the opening period, the Amerks countered with a pair of goals during each of the final two stanza to record their North Division-leading 24th win of the campaign.
The Amerks wrap up their three-game road swing as they travel to Allentown for a 7:05 p.m. clash with the Lehigh Valley Phantoms on Saturday, Jan. 19 at PPL Center. The contest will be carried live on The Sports Leader AM 950/95.7 FM ESPN Rochester as well as AHLTV.
ROC: Redmond (17, 18), O’Regan (13), Olofsson (12, 13 – GWG)
WBS: Angello (13, 14), Hayes (5), Johnson (10)
ROC: Wedgewood – 19/23 (W)
WBS: Jarry – 33/38 (L)
ROC: PP (1/3) | PK (3/3)
WBS: PP (0/3)| PK (2/3)