LAVAL QUEBEC – The Rochester Americans (26-21-4-1) built a 3-0 lead four minutes into the second period only to see the Laval Rocket (23-22-7-2) responded with four straight unanswered goals, including the game-winner with 2:53 gone in overtime, to escape with a 4-3 win in the second of back-to-back meetings between the two teams Friday at Place Bell.
Despite the overtime defeat, Rochester has earned a point in five of its last six games, going 3-1-2-0 over that span.
Jeremy Davies (1+1) notched a pair of points for his third consecutive two-point outing over his last five games while Jiri Kulich and Mason Jobst completed the scoring with their 16th and 10th goals of the season, respectively. Ethan Prow, Linus Weissbach and Matt Bartkowski all added an assist. Carson Gicewicz made his Amerks debut after being acquired Thursday afternoon from the Rockford IceHogs.
Goaltender Michael Houser (6-5-1) made a season-high 42 saves, his most since stopping 44 on March 28, 2014, in his 15th appearance of the season. The netminder, who shows a 3-0-2 record over his last five starts, has faced 40 or more shots in back-to-back appearances for the first time in his AHL career.
Pierrick Dubé registered his first-career two-goal outing as part of a three-point performance while leading point-getter Anthony Richard (1+1) added to his team-best 55 points with his ninth two-point game of 2023. Lucas Condotta (0+2) and Mitchell Stephens (1+0) helped Laval improve to 10-0-3-1 in its last 14 games inside Place Bell.
Goaltender Cayden Primeau (11-9-1) earned his second straight victory against Rochester this week and third of the season as he made his 26th start. Primeau, who faced 13 shots over the final 40-plus minutes after stopping nine in the first period, has appeared in 13 of Laval’s last 14 games dating back to Jan. 25.
Holding a 3-0 lead with just under five minutes to play in the second period, the Amerks had a 3-on-1, odd-man rush entering the offensive zone. Rochester thought they had taken a four-goal advantage as Prow fired the puck past Primeau, however, an interference penalty behind the play negated what would have been Prow’s sixth goal of the season.
On the ensuing power-play, the Rocket, who outshot Amerks 20-10 in the frame, got on the board with 2:37 remaining as Dubé stuffed in Condotta’s back-door feed.
Following the intermission break, Laval continued to chip into the deficit as they made it a one-goal game with 11:29 remaining in the contest. Dubé retrieved a loose puck that ricocheted off an Amerks defender in-front of Houser and converted for his second of the night to make it a 3-2 contest.
Still down by a goal in the final two minutes of regulation, Laval summoned Primeau for the extra attacker. The Rocket, who had a 17-1 shot-advantage, evened the score at the 18:19 mark when Stephens buried a rebound through bodies in-front of the crease.
With the game tied, overtime was required to determine the outcome.
Both teams traded shots to start the extra frame, however, the Amerks were whistled with their fifth penalty of the contest.
Despite being unable to capitalize on the infraction, Richard called the 4-3 overtime win as he roofed a shot from between the circles prior to the Amerk rejoining the play.
The game started off well for the Amerks, who scored twice in 5:51 to take a 2-0 lead into the locker room.
On the delayed penalty, Prow gave the puck to Davies inside the Amerks zone. Davies sped forward up the ice and dipped down the left wall. As the defenseman reached the goal-line, he centered a pass for Kulich to one-time past the left arm of Primeau at the 13:07 mark.
Later in the first stanza, Rochester took a cross-checking penalty, giving Laval a power-play.
While on the man-advantage, the Rocket had a few looks but Jobst picked off a pass near the Amerks bench. The forward raced in all alone towards the Laval net, and as he reached hashmarks, he wired his 10th goal of the season with 1:02 remaining in the period.
Following the intermission break, the Amerks cushioned their lead to 3-0 as Davies steered in Bartkowski’s centering feed from the wall four minutes into the middle period.
Laval scored once in the second period and twice in the final frame to force overtime before they secured the win 2:53 into the extra frame.
The Amerks close out their five-game road-swing on Saturday, Mar. 4 against the Belleville Senators at CAA Arena. All the action from the 7:00 p.m. matchup will be carried live on The Sports Leader 95.7 FM/950 AM The Fan Rochester as well as AHLTV.
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