Despite Kevin Porter’s first goal of the season, the Rochester Americans fell to the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins 3-1 in Wednesday night action at The Blue Cross Arena. With the loss, the Amerks drop to 7-5-2-2.
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Jamie Tardif and Nick Crawford added assists on Porter’s goal, and Matt Hackett made 21 saves in defeat for the Amerks. Jeff Deslauriers stopped 22 of 23 shots in net for the Baby Pens to earn his league-leading 10th victory, while Cody Sylvester, Tom Kostopoulos and Jayson Megna scored for the visitors.
The Amerks were playing their first game since the recall of leading scorer Luke Adam and top defenseman Brayden McNabb, who were both called-up by the parent Buffalo Sabres earlier in the day. The game also featured the season debuts of forward Johan Larsson and defenseman Rasmus Ristolainen, both of whom were reassigned to Rochester as part of the four-player swap with the big club this morning.
Hackett had to be strong in the early minutes of the game, as the Penguins tested the reformed Amerks defense with a few point-blank chances. Just 2:22 into the opening period, Wilkes-Barre/Scranton had Hackett beaten with a gaping net to shoot at, but rookie defenseman Chad Ruhwedel skated into the crease and blocked the shot to preserve the scoreless game.
With 3:38 remaining in the opening period, Rochester caught a break when a shot from the blueline from a Penguins defenseman found its way to the net, but rang off the left post. The Baby Pens, however, finally solved Hackett with just 3.9 seconds remaining in the first period, when a wrist shot from the point by Harrington that appeared to be heading wide was tipped by Kostopoulos for a 1-0 Wilkes-Barre/Scranton advantage.
The Penguins would add to their lead 4:38 into the second period after an attempted pass by Tardif bounced off the skates of Manderson right in the slot to Sylvester, who made no mistake beating Hackett with a quick shot inside the near post.
The Amerks would cut the lead to 2-1 two minutes later on the power-play. Crawford forced a turnover behind Wilkes-Barre/Scranton’s net, and Tardif picked up the loose puck, shifted to the front of the net and dished a pass to Porter for the goal.
That would be as close as the Amerks would get. With the one-goal advantage, the Penguins sat back in the neutral zone and Rochester could not muster the offense to net the equalizer. With 1:01 left in the regulation, Rochester called a timeout and pulled Hackett for the extra attacker, but an empty-net goal from Megna would seal the win for Wilkes-Barre/Scranton.
The Amerks remain at home on Friday, Nov. 22 as they take on the Utica Comets 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 Sports 1280 WHTK.