The Rochester Americans rallied from a two-goal deficit Saturday night in Lake Erie, but eventually fell in overtime to the Monsters at Quicken Loans Arena by a score of 3-2 as the teams played past regulation for the third straight time.
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Johan Larsson assisted on both Amerk goals, which were scored by Luke Adam and Nick Tuzzolino. Adam’s goal was his team-leading 14th of the season, while Tuzzolino’s marker was his first as an Amerk. Mark Pysyk and Dan Catenacci also registered assists in the game while goaltender Matt Hackett finished with 17 saves on 20 shots.
Lake Erie defenseman Stefan Elliott scored the game-winning goal 1:12 into overtime while Mark Olver and Karl Stollery each scored first period goals for the Monsters. Netminder Sami Aittokallio stopped 25 of 27 Rochester shots to earn the win in goal.
While the teams were scoreless through 65 minutes of regulation and overtime in Friday night’s meeting in Rochester, it took just three minutes for Lake Erie to get on the board in Saturday’s contest. Olver gained control of the puck and skated back and forth behind the Rochester net before swinging out to the slot and firing a high wrist shot into the top left corner. Michael Schumacher and J.T. Wyman each assisted on the goal.
Less than two minutes later, Lake Erie extended its lead to 2-0. After a clean face-off win in the Rochester zone by Monsters forward Cam Reid, the puck went directly to Stollery at the point, and the defenseman stepped into a one-timer that found its way through traffic, giving the Monsters a two-goal lead just 4:41 into the contest.
The Amerks worked their way back into the game with a pair of goals in the second period. The first came with Rochester skating on a 4-on-3 power play. Larsson, Pysyk and Joel Armia worked the puck around the perimeter before Larsson took a slapshot that was re-directed in front by Adam and over the right shoulder of Aittokallio. The goal was Adam’s team-leading 14th of the season in just his 18th game with Rochester. Larsson picked up his first assist of the night while Pysyk registered his first point with the Amerks this season with the secondary helper.
Later in the period, the Amerks tied it on Tuzzolino’s first goal in an Amerks uniform. With Rochester cycling the puck deep in the Lake Erie zone, Catenacci peeled out of the corner and found Tuzzolino streaking down from his post on the blue-line, and the defensemen fired a one-timer from the high slot past Aittokallio for the equalizer. Catenacci and Larsson collected the assists on the goal.
After a scoreless third period, the Amerks and Monsters went to overtime for the third straight time and for the fourth time in six meetings this season. While the previous three overtime games were decided via shootout, this one ended in overtime as Stefan Elliott scored 1:12 into the extra session to give Lake Erie the win. The defensemen skated in from the blue line and sent a wrist shot into the top right corner of the net for the game-winner.
The Amerks will take to the international stage when they participate in the prestigious Spengler Cup tournament in Davos, Switzerland from Dec. 26-31 for the second time in franchise history and for the first time since 1996. Rochester returns to regular season action when it visits the Utica Comets for their first game of the New Year on Friday, Jan. 3 at the Utica Memorial Auditorium. The 7:00 p.m. matchup will be the seventh of 10 meetings between the intrastate rivals and will be broadcast live on Sports 1280 WHTK.