(Binghamton, NY) … The Rochester Americans (27-13-3-1) trailed the Binghamton Devils (20-24-5-0) by a pair of goals early in the second period but countered back with three straight unanswered tallies, including the game-winner from Victor Olofsson with 1:01 remaining in regulation, to come away with a 3-2 victory Friday night at Floyd L. Maines Veterans Memorial Arena.
With the win, the Amerks have collected 12 out of a possible 14 points during their seven-game point streak and maintain their first-place lead atop the AHL’s North Division standings coming out of the All-Star break. Additionally, the club has recorded 20 points in its last 14 games dating back to a 4-0 shutout win in Cleveland on Dec. 26.
WATCH: GAME HIGHLIGHTS
Amerks defenseman Brendan Guhle, who took part in his first AHL All-Star Classic earlier this week, tallied a two-assist night to help the Amerks improve to 8-4-2-1 against Binghamton dating back to the start of last season. Forwards Yannick Veilleux and Tyler Randell each added a goal during the second period while Olofsson completed the scoring as he scored his 15th goal of the season in the final minute of regulation to secure the win for Rochester. Goaltender Adam Wilcox (8-5-3) made 16 saves and earned the win, snapping his career-long five-game winless skid.
John Quenneville and Eric Tangradi both found the back of the net for the Devils while netminder Cory Schneider was handed the loss after turning aside 31 of the 34 shots he faced. Schneider, who has appeared in four of Binghamton’s last five games, has gone winless in his last five contests during his conditioning stint.
As the Devils took a 2-0 lead just 20 seconds into the middle frame, it appeared the Amerks’ deficit was about to be widened as Binghamton drew its second infraction of the night with 7:16 left in the period.
Despite being shorthanded, Veilleux forced a turnover inside the defensive zone and raced in on a 2-on-1 rush alongside Eric Cornel. As Veilleux was eyeing a centering pass, he tucked a perfectly placed shot just under the crossbar to cut the Devils lead in half at the 14:10 mark.
Rochester rode the momentum following the shorthanded goal as Cornel and Veilleux won a puck battle to the right of Schneider as the period was nearing its end. As the puck made its way to the top of the zone, Guhle fired it towards the net from the left point. Prior to the shot reaching the netminder, Randell reached out his stick and tipped it into the cage to even the score with 2:05 left in the stanza.
The two North Division rivals went into the intermission deadlocked at 2-2 despite Rochester carrying a 24-12 lead in shots.
During the final 20 minutes of play, the Amerks and Devils clamped down defensively and limited each other’s scoring chances, but it was Rochester that drew its fifth penalty of the night with just 1:46 left in regulation.
The Amerks, who controlled the puck for much of the first-half of the high-sticking infraction, nearly broke the 2-2 tie as Danny O’Regan was stopped on the doorstep. The rebound attempt was poked to the right corner where Olofsson and Guhle exchanged a give-and-go near the right wing. As Olofsson gathered the return pass atop the right circle, he rifled a shot above the shoulder of Schneider, giving the Amerks their first lead of the night with just 61 seconds remaining in regulation.
The power-play goal pushed Olofsson’s point streak (2+3) to four games while O’Regan also extended his point streak (3+2) to four.
Rochester’s power-play unit has gone 17-for-59 in the last 14 games, whereas the penalty kill squad, which went a perfect 4-for-4 tonight, have successfully killed 29 of its last 31 infractions in the last 11 contests since the start of the calendar year.
Binghamton made one final push following Olofsson’s 15th goal of the season to tie the game as they pulled Schneider for the extra attacker. While Wilcox held on for the win, the Devils nearly forced overtime as Blake Pietila rang a shot off the crossbar with 22 seconds left.
The Amerks close out the first week of February as they conclude their season-series with the Hartford Wolf Pack on Saturday, Feb. 2. The opening face-off from the XL Center is scheduled for 7:00 p.m. The Eastern Conference matchup can be heard live on The Sports Leader AM 950/95.7 FM ESPN Rochester as well as AHLTV.
ROC: Veilleux (3), Randell (2), Olofsson (15 – GWG)
BNG: Quenneville (13), Tangradi (6)
ROC: Wilcox – 16/18 (W)
BNG: Schneider – 31/34 (L)
ROC: PP (1/5) | PK (4/4)
BNG: PP (0/4) | PK (4/5)
1. Victor Olofsson (ROC)
2. Yannick Veilleux (ROC)
3. Eric Tangradi (BNG)