Devils Top Amerks in Shootout
(Rochester, NY) - The Rochester Americans (26-13-8-6) extended their point streak against the Binghamton Devils (15-27-6-3) to six games Sunday afternoon as the North Division rivals met for the second time in as many days. The 2-1 shootout loss completed the back-end of a home-and-home series at The Blue Cross Arena and also concluded a three-in-three during which the Amerks took four of a possible six points.
Despite the shootout loss, the Amerks have collected at least one point in 36 of their last 45 games dating back to Nov. 1, including 14 of their last 18 games since the turn of the New Year. Additionally, the contest was the 10th game since Jan. 1 and league-most 23rd of the campaign game that went beyond regulation time.
Second-year forward Kyle Criscuolo scored his team-best 15th goal of the season and 10th point (5+5) in the last nine contests. Goaltender Linus Ullmark stopped 29 of 30 shots on the day, including two of three in the shootout, but took the overtime loss in the blue paint for Rochester.
In his third game with the Devils since being reassigned by the St. Louis Blues, defensemen Jake Walman scored his third goal of the season while being the only player to find the back of the net in the skills competition. Netminder Ken Appleby, who made his second straight start in as many games, made 22 saves, including all three in the shootout to earn the victory. On the season, Appleby shows an 8-10-2 record in 21 games, which also includes a 19-save shutout over the Amerks on Saturday.
After the Devils tied the game at 1-1 just past the midway point of the second period, the two teams traded chances for the remainder of the contest to setup the overtime period.
Criscuolo nearly sealed the win 12 seconds into the extra frame as he drew a penalty shot, but his attempt hit the outside of the cage, forcing a continuation of the session.
"I knew the ice wasn't great," said Criscuolo when discussing his penalty shot. "I wanted to try to make a move, but I was a little hesitant. I have to be able to control the puck better and find a way to score there. Getting the extra point in against teams in the Division is crucial for us as the season moves along."
Both Ullmark and Appleby stood tall during the remainder of the period, forcing the shootout.
Rochester elected to shoot first during the skills event but Seth Griffith, Kevin Porter and Alexander Nylander's attempts were turned aside by Appleby while Ullmark stopped Christoph Bertschy and Mario Lucia. Walman sealed Binghamton's first-ever shootout win against the Amerks as he slipped at shot past the blocker of the Swedish netminder.
"I thought we played okay in the first period," said Amerks head coach Chris Taylor. "Just because Binghamton is where they are in the standings, does not necessarily mean a win. They're a good team who has lost a lot of games by one goal, but I am disappointed with the outcome. We cannot be happy with just earning one point, and after Friday night's game, I think we thought it was going to be an easier weekend, but every team plays hard."
The Amerks and Devils combined for 19 shots and 16 penalty minutes during the first period but entered the break scoreless.
Criscuolo tallied the contest's first goal at the 8:50 mark of the second stanza as he redirected a Taylor Fedun shot from the right point. The tally was Criscuolo's team-leading 15th of the season and assisted by Fedun and Nathan Paetsch.
Binghamton, however, answered right back as Walman rifled a one-time set-up from Michael Kapla atop the zone to knot the score at 1-1 exactly two minutes following Criscuolo's marker.
The score remained unchanged until Walman beat Ullmark in the final-round of the shootout.
For the sixth straight year, the Amerks make the trek down the New York State Thruway to play in the home of the Buffalo Sabres on Wednesday, Feb. 21 when they host the intrastate rival Syracuse Crunch in a North Division showdown at the KeyBank Center in downtown Buffalo. The 7:05 p.m. contest will be the sixth of 10 scheduled meetings between the two teams this season and will be carried live on The Sports Leader 95.7 FM/950 AM ESPN Rochester.
RCH : Criscuolo (15)
BNG: Walman (3, SO GWG)
RCH: Ullmark - 29/30 (SOL)
BNG: Appleby - 22/23 (W)
RCH: PP (0/4) | PK (5/5)
BNG: PP (0/5) | PK (4/4)
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American Hockey League Stories from February 18, 2018
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