Courtesy of Amerks.com
BINGHAMTON, N.Y. — On the strength of a pair of goals from forwards Taylor Leier and Victor Olofsson, as well as a two-point (1+1) night from Alexander Nylander, the Rochester Americans (37-18-3-2) won their fifth straight road contest by a 5-3 score over the Binghamton Devils (24-33-5-0) Saturday at Floyd L. Maines Veterans Memorial Arena. It was the seventh meeting between the intrastate rivals this season and the first of two on the weekend as the Amerks look to complete the sweep on Sunday afternoon when the home-and-home series shifts up to Rochester.
Along with the win, which keeps the Amerks within a point of the Syracuse Crunch for the first place in the AHL’s North Division standings, the team has collected 33 out of a possible 46 points in its last 23 games. The victory also gave Rochester points in 12 of the last 16 games against the Devils dating back to the start of the 2017-18 slate. The Amerks show a 9-4-2-1 record during that span.
While Leier and Olofsson each tallied a pair of goals in the win, Rasmus Asplund, who had his first multi-goal of the season last night, added two assist tonight as did Danny O’Regan. Nylander extended his goal-scoring streak to four games as he scored his fourth during that span and 12th of the campaign to go with an assist while goaltender Adam Wilcox improved to 10-7-3 on the slate as he made 30 saves.
Despite a two-assist night from Ryan Murphy, and goals from Sam Kurker, Marian Studenic and Nikita Popugaev, Binghamton dropped its fifth straight game and 10th in its last 11 games. Netminder Cam Johnson made his fourth appearance in the last five games but suffered the loss while stopping 25 of the 29 shots he faced.
On the ensuing shift after Binghamton tied the game at two during the latter portion of the middle period, the line trio of Asplund, O’Regan and Olofsson were quick to reclaim the Amerks’ lead as Asplund and O’Regan set-up Olofsson at the 15:55 mark.
Before the end of the second period and with a 3-2 cushion, O’Regan handed Olofsson a centering pass in-between the face-off dots in the Devils zone and Olofsson doubled the lead going into the intermission. The marker, which eventually held up as the game-winner, was his team-leading 23rd of the season 50th point overall. He became the first Amerk to reach the 50-point mark since Cole Schneider during the 2016-17 campaign.
It was also his eighth game-winner of the season, putting him one off the AHL lead behind only teammateZach Redmond.
Despite facing a 4-2 deficit, Binghamton, which had 12 players on recalls to New Jersey coming into the matchup, made things interesting during the final 20 minutes of play as Kurker made it one-goal game at the 6:44 mark.
The scored remained the same until Leier, who appeared in his 300th professional game, sealed the 5-3 win as he scored into a vacant net with 36 seconds left in regulation from Kevin Porter. The assist was Porter’s 200th of his AHL career.
Rochester, which has the second-best road record (19-6-3-1) in the AHL this season, has won 13 of its last 19 games away from The Blue Cross Arena dating back to Dec. 8.
The game appeared to remain scoreless heading into the first intermission, but Rochester struck twice late in the final minute of the opening period to go up 2-0 after the first 20 minutes of play. It marked the fifth time this season the Amerks had scored in the final minute of play of any period.
Binghamton responded with a pair of goals of its own to begin the second stanza, but Rochester countered back with another pair from Olofsson to take a 4-2 lead before adding an empty-netter in the third period.
After a quick turnaround, the Amerks and Devils close out the weekend on Sunday afternoon in Rochester as the home-and-home series shifts to The Blue Cross Arena. The 3:05 p.m. matinee will be carried live on The Sports Leader AM 950/95.7 FM ESPN Rochester as well as AHLTV. The matchup will also be televised locally on MSG.
ROC: Leier (16, 17), Nylander (12), Olofsson (22 – GWG, 23)
BNG: Popugaev (1), Studenic (13), Kurker (3)
ROC: Wilcox – 30/33 (W)
BNG: Johnson – 25/29 (L)
ROC: PP (1/5) | PK (3/4)
BNG: PP (1/4) | PK (4/5)