Amerks Win Streak Halted in 5-4 Overtime Loss to B-Sens
(Belleville, ON) ... The Rochester Americans' (5-2-1-0) bid for a sixth straight victory came up short as Chase Balisy of the Belleville Senators (3-3-0-0) scored his second goal of the night just 14 seconds into overtime to give the hosts a 5-4 victory Saturday night at the CAA Arena.
Despite the overtime loss, the Amerks earned a point for the sixth consecutive contest to maintain their lead atop the American Hockey League's North Division standings.
Wayne Simpson led the Amerks with a multi-point night (1+1) while Rochester's remaining offense was provided by defensemen, most notably from rookies Brandon Hickey and Will Borgen, who each scored their first professionals goals in the first and third periods, respectively. Fellow blueliner Brendan Guhle rounded out the team's scoring with his second goa in as many nights. Netminder Adam Wilcox was handed his first overtime loss of the season after starting 2-0-0 in his first two appearances in the blue paint. Wilcox shows a record of 4-0-2 in his last six games dating back to the end of the 2017-18 campaign.
Balisy (2+1) and Gabriel Gagne (1+2) each recorded their first three points of the season for Belleville as the duo booked multi-point performances while Jack Rodewald and Adam Tambellini each found the back of the net as well for Belleville. Goaltender Mike McKenna, who nearly backstopped the Texas Stars to a Calder Cup championsip last season, earned his second straight victory on home ice after being handed a pair of road losses to begin his first stint with the B-Sens.
The Amerks carried a 3-2 lead into the final period of regulation, but the B-Sens were able to tie the game at the 6:53 mark with 20 seconds to spare on their man-advantage. As the power-play clock was nearing its end, Gagne fired a shot from the left Wilcox, but Balisy was able to track the puck and redirected it behind the netminder to make it a 3-3 game.
After seeing its lead briefly slip away, Borgen put Rochester back on top when he walked in from the right-point and slapped a shot past a screened McKenna with 7:04 remaining on the clock.
Justin Bailey, who recorded an assist in Friday night's shootout win over Toronto, and Kyle Criscuolo were each awarded the helpers on Borgen's first-career AHL tally.
Much like their goal earlier in the frame, the B-Sens drew another Amerks penalty and made it count as Tambellini wired a shot through Wilcox from just inside the right circle with just over five minutes to play that ultimately forced overtime.
After winning the opening face-off in the extra session, Belleville drew the attention of the Rochester skaters as they entered the zone to the left of the blueline. As Tambellini skated down the left circle, he sent a cross-ice feed to Balisy, who redirected the puck into the cage for the game-winner just 14 seconds into the stanza.
While the Amerks have an all-time record of 3-0-2-0 and have yet to lose in regulation in Belleville, tonight's contest was the third straight game that went beyond regulation to decide a winner in Canada between the two clubs.
During the first period, the North Division rivals went back and forth as they each scored a pair of goals.
Five minutes after Hickey's first-career goal, Simpson pushed Rochester ahead as he redirected the Amerks' league-leading 12th power-play goal from Matt Tennyson and Victor Olofsson.
With Olofsson earning his AHL-leading seventh power-play assist on the play, the rookie forward extended his point-streak to six games as he has posted 13 points (5+8) during that span.
Belleville tied the game later in the first period and the two clubs entered the intermission break even at 2-2.
The Amerks regained the lead, however, just 5:01 into the middle stanza as Guhle, who scored last night on a mini-breakaway, virtually duplicated the effort on a nearly identical play as he joined the rush on a 2-on-1 rush and split the pads of the netminder to make it a 3-2 score.
Simpson and Zach Redmond picked up the helpers on play.
By Redmond earning an assist, the veteran blueliner extended his point streak to a career-long seven games (4+8) while Guhle matched his career-best with his sixth point (2+4) in the last five games.
The B-Sens, who were facing a 3-2 deficit with 14:59 to play in the second period, scored three of the game's next four goals, including a pair from Balisy to secure the 5-4 overtime win.
The Amerks return home for the start of another three-game homestand on Friday, Oct. 26 when they host Utica Comets for a North Division showdown at The Blue Cross Arena. Game time is slated for a 7:05 p.m. start and can be heard live on The Sports Leader 95.7 FM/950 AM ESPN Rochester. The contest can also be viewed on AHLTV.
ROC: Hickey (1), Simpson (2), Guhle (2), Borgen (1)
BEL: Gagne (1), Rodewald (3), Tambellini (1), Balisy (1, 2 - GWG)
ROC: Wilcox - 25/30 (OTL)
BEL: McKenna - 32/36 (W)
ROC: PP (1/3) | PK (4/6)
BEL: PP (2/6) | PK (2/3)
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