Amerks Complete Perfect Weekend with 6-1 Win over Devils
(Rochester, NY) ... With his third multi-point effort in the last three games, Rasmus Asplund led the Rochester Americans (38-18-3-2) to a 6-1 thrashing over the Binghamton Devils (24-34-5-0) Sunday at The Blue Cross Arena, putting the finishing touches on a perfect three-win weekend for the Amerks.
Along with the win, the Amerks regained the top spot in the AHL's North Division standings over the Syracuse Crunch, despite the Crunch having a game in hand. Rochester has now collected 35 out of a possible 48 points in its last 24 games. The victory also gave Rochester points in 13 of the last 17 games against the Devils dating back to the start of the 2017-18 season. The Amerks show a 10-4-2-1 record during that span.
While Asplund added three points (1+2), Taylor Leier and Remi Elie each recorded a goal and an assist. Matt Tennyson, Lawrence Pilut and C.J. Smith all completed the scoring while goaltender Scott Wedgewood improved to 24-10-2-3 on the season as he stopped 18 of 19 shots. The sixth-year pro boasts 15-4-1 record in his last 20 appearances dating back to Dec. 26.
Nikita Popugaev extended his point streak to three games for Binghamton, which dropped 11 of its last 12 games, including six straight. Netminder Evan Cormier made his third appearance in the last six games but suffered the loss while making 26 saves.
With three goals in a span of 6:05, the Amerks jumped out to a commanding 3-0 lead before carrying it into the first intermission.
As Elie entered the offensive zone along the near boards, he dished a centering pass to Leier. The forward, who has seven points (5+2) over his last five games, fired a shot from the right face-off dot and it snuck between the arm and body of Cormier to give the Amerks a 1-0 lead at the 11:02 mark.
Later in the opening period, Rochester took a four-minute elbowing penalty but Leier and Elie teamed up yet again as Leier forced a turnover at the Amerks blueline. The puck caromed into the Devils zone and Elie tracked down the loose puck before picking the upper corner for his sixth of the campaign.
The Amerks added their third of the opening frame just 2:20 after their 11th shorthanded tally of the season, which is fifth-most in the AHL, when Tennyson buried his fourth of the slate.
"We did a good job in securing an early lead," said Leier after the Amerks outscored their opponents 7-0 in the first period over the three games this weekend. "It was good to establish that home-ice dominance we have wanted lately."
"It was a good building block for us and hopefully we can continue to keep it going down the stretch," Leier added.
Binghamton got on the board early in the second period, but Rochester responded with its own power-play goal to reclaim its three-goal cushion at the 18:23 mark. Parked atop the point in the Devils zone, Pilut blasted a one-time feed from Danny O'Regan for his fourth goal of the season and first since Nov. 18.
"Myself, Asplund and O'Regan have some good chemistry lately, and 'Reegs' gave me a good pass and I saw an open lane," Pilut said when describing his power-play marker. "When I got the puck, I just tried to shoot it through the lane."
Rochester tacked on two more tallies during the final frame as Smith netted his 21st of the season and Asplund booked his third goal of the weekend and sixth of the slate.
"I am feeling pretty good," said Asplund after posting seven points (4+3) this weekend. "The confidence is there and the whole team is playing well. My linemates (O'Regan and Victor Olofsson) and the team are playing well, and it's easy to ride the wave of momentum."
The Amerks closed out the weekend with a perfect 3-0-0-0 record and a 16-4 goal differential, which included outscoring the opposition 11-1 at home.
"We had good goal-scoring from a lot of different guys," Amerks head coach Chris Taylor said. "We are feeding off one another and we are getting some timely goals. I don't think that we played well today, but we had some big goals and it solidified the win."
"We have a good group of guys, who enjoy playing alongside with one another," said Pilut. "It's a lot of fun and we are playing with a lot of chemistry. It's definitely a good feeling lately."
The Amerks return to action on Wednesday, March 13 as they conclude their season-series against the Utica Comets with a 7:05 p.m. North Division showdown. The contest from The Blue Cross Arena will be carried live on The Sports Leader AM 950/95.7 FM ESPN Rochester as well as AHLTV.
ROC: Leier (18), Elie (6), Tennyson (4), Pilut (4), Smith (21), Asplund (6)
BNG: Popugaev (2)
ROC: Wedgewood - 18/19 (W)
BNG: Cormier - 26/32 (L)
ROC: PP (2/3) | PK (5/6)
BNG: PP (1/6) | PK (1/3)
1. Rasmus Asplund ()
2. Scott Wedgewood ()
3. Taylor Leier ()
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