The Rochester Americans made their first visit to Milwaukee since 2007 on Sunday afternoon to face the Admirals, and the home team came away with a 2-1 overtime victory over the Amerks in a goaltending battle between Nathan Lieuwen and Pekka Rinne. With the overtime loss, the Amerks moved to 28-19-4-4 on the season and have picked up points in six of their last seven games.
CLICK HERE TO VIEW BOXSCORE
After two scoreless periods that featured several scoring chances at both ends of the ice, the teams traded goals in a seven-second span midway through the third period before the game was eventually decided in overtime as Charles-Olivier Roussel scored both Milwaukee goals.
Lieuwen, who was starting in the Amerks’ net for the sixth time in the last seven games, stopped 26 of 28 Milwaukee shots and has now allowed two or fewer goals in 12 of his last 16 appearances. Jamie Tardif scored the lone goal for Rochester on assists from Chad Ruhwedel and Phil Varone, giving Varone a three-game point streak and 10 points in his last seven outings.
Rinne, who was in goal for the Admirals the last time these two teams faced off back in 2007, is now a two-time Vezina Trophy finalist and was assigned to Milwaukee by the Nashville Predators last week on a conditioning stint. He finished with 17 saves while Bryan Rodney and Austin Watson each assisted on a goal by Roussel.
With the teams scoreless midway through the third period, Milwaukee struck first when Roussel scored his first of the game and second of the season at 10:13 of the frame. He took a pass from his defense partner, Rodney, and attacked the Rochester zone up the right side. A shot from the face-off circle was denied by Lieuwen, but the rebound bounced back to Roussel, and his second attempt from a bad angle banked in off the netminder to break the scoreless deadlock.
The Milwaukee lead did not last long, as the Amerks needed just seven seconds to strike back and tie the game again. On the ensuing center-ice face-off, Varone won it cleanly back to Ruhwedel, who retreated back to his own blue-line, then fired a pass up the middle of the ice to Tardif, who split the defense and went in alone on a breakaway. Tardif made a quick deke to get Rinne moving to his right, then slid the puck between the goaltender’s pads for his 17th goal of the season.
The two goals in a seven-second span would be all the scoring in regulation as the teams headed to overtime tied at one. Rochester had the first scoring opportunity of the extra frame when Rinne went behind his net to play a puck, but it hopped over his stick and went to Tardif, who threw it in front to Luke Adam, but Adam’s shot rang squarely off the post.
Shortly after, Roussel scored his second of the game to give Milwaukee the 2-1 win. He entered the zone with the puck and took a hard hip-check into the boards from Brayden McNabb, but Milwaukee’s Watson picked up the loose puck and got it back to Roussel, who had moved into the slot. Roussel then surprised Lieuwen with a quick back-hand that found its way past the Amerks netminder to give the Admirals the victory.
The final stop on Rochester’s four-game tour of the Midwest takes the Amerks back to Illinois on Tuesday, March 4 for a meeting with the Rockford IceHogs at BMO Harris Bank Center. The 8:00 p.m. EST matchup will be the second and final meeting between the two teams this season and will be broadcast live on Sports 1280 WHTK.