Amerks Get Shutout in Albany
(Albany, NY) - Scott Wedgewood posted his first shutout of the season to backstop the Albany Devils to a 4-0 win over the Rochester Americans Wednesday night at Times Union Center. The loss marks the first time the Amerks have been shut out on the road since Apr. 18 of last season and drops Rochester to 17-17-2-1 heading into this weekend's home-and-home set against the Binghamton Senators.
Amerks goaltender Robin Lehner, who was playing the third game of his NHL conditioning assignment, turned in a sensational 35-save effort, while William Carrier recorded a team-high four shots on goal in the loss for Rochester.
Brian O'Neill (1+1) and Mike Sislo (0+2) led the Devils with two points apiece, while Pierre-Luc Letourneau-Leblond, Matt Lorito and Reid Boucher all scored to lead Albany to its 11th straight win on home ice, the second-longest streak in the AHL this season.
Rochester escaped a rather lopsided first period only trailing the Devils 1-0 thanks in part to 13 saves from Lehner, who was tested early and often by a persistent Albany team that entered the game having outshot the opposition in each of its last 10 contests. After making several big stops in the early goings, in addition to foiling back-to-back man-up opportunities from the league's second-best power-play, Lehner would eventually be beaten on a fluke play that resulted in Letourneau-Leblond getting credit for his first goal of the season.
As the Devils gained the offensive zone, Letourneau-Leblond chased down a loose puck deep in the left corner, where he was greeted by a pair of Rochester attackers who were also in pursuit. The Devils forward was able to gain possession and spun a quick centering feed toward the goal-mouth that was intended for Corey Tropp, but it instead took a fortuitous bounce off the stick of an Amerks defenseman and past an unsuspecting Lehner for a 1-0 lead. Rod Pelley earned the lone assist on the goal, which came at the 7:08 mark of the opening frame.
Albany didn't let up in the second and continued putting the pressure on the Amerks, eventually upping its lead to a pair despite a strong repeat performance from Lehner. A turnover just inside the Rochester blueline proved costly as Sislo, the reigning Player of the Week, jumped on the loose puck and raced away on a breakaway opportunity. After missing wide on his attempt, Sislo collected his own rebound, curled up and fed a cross-ice pass to a wide-open Lorito, who connected on a one-timer from below the right circle.
The Devils quickly widened the gap, scoring twice in the third period to make it a 4-0 game. O'Neill struck first at 4:48 when he deflected a Dan Kelly point shot inside the right post off a set up from Sislo and Boucher found a seam over the right shoulder of Lehner on the power-play to top off the scoring for Albany. Sislo and O'Neill notched assists on Albany's last two goals to complete their two-point nights and Wedgewood saw his shutout all the way through regulation as the Devils also extended their current point streak to eight games.
The Amerks return to home ice on Friday, Jan. 15 when they take on the intrastate rival Binghamton Senators in the first leg of a home-and-home series at The Blue Cross Arena. Game time is slated for a 7:05 p.m. start and will be carried live on FOX Sports 1280 Rochester. The Amerks have won all three meetings against the B-Sens this season after earning a 2-1 win in the previous get-together between the two teams just four nights ago in the southern tier.
ALB: Letourneau-Leblond (1), Lorito (9), O'Neill (3), Boucher (14)
RCH: Lehner - L (35/39)
ALB: Wedgewood - W (19/19)
Amerks Power Play: 0-2
Amerks Penalty Kill: 3-4
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