(Rochester, NY) … Led by Victor Olofsson’s four-point night (3+1), which featured his first-career professional hat-trick, the Rochester Americans (29-13-3-2) cruised to a 7-1 rout over the Springfield Thunderbirds (21-19-6-4) to close out their brief two-game homestand Friday at The Blue Cross Arena.
With the win, the Amerks have collected 17 out of a possible 20 points during their season-long 10-game point streak, going 7-0-1-2 over that span, and maintain their first-place lead atop the AHL’s North Division standings. The 10-game point streak is the club’s longest since a 10-game stretch between Nov. 21 and Dec. 13 of last season. Rochester has also notched 25 points in its last 17 games dating back to a 4-0 shutout win in Cleveland on Dec. 26.
WATCH: GAME HIGHLIGHTS
On the strength of his second four-point night of the season, Olofsson took over the team lead in scoring as he has 42 points (18+24) in his first 44 games, which includes 18 points (8+10) in his last 16 contests. Forward Rasmus Asplund recorded his second-career three-point (1+2) outing of the slate while Danny O’Regan and Matt Tennyson both chipped in with a pair of assists. Wayne Simpson, Scott Wilson and Tyler Randell all lit the lamp for the Amerks, who claimed five of the last six meetings with the Thunderbirds.
Goaltender Scott Wedgewood (17-7-2), who came within five minutes of earning his fourth shutout of the season, stopped 19 of the 20 shots he faced to improve to 17-7-2 on the season. His 17 wins are a new personal-high and rank sixth-most in the AHL. Over his last 13 games, Wedgewood shows a record of 9-3-1 going back to the game after Christmas.
WATCH: CASEY NELSON POST-GAME
Springfield, which entered with a 1-4-0-0 record in its last five games, spoiled Wedgewood’s bid for a shutout with Matt Mangene’s fifth goal of the campaign as netminder Chris Driedger made 19 saves but was handed the loss.
Carrying a two-goal advantage going into the final period of regulation, the Amerks offense erupted for five goals in a span of 7:43 to build a comfortable 7-0 lead by the 9:14 mark of the frame.
“We talked during the second intermission about keeping our foot on the gas,” Wedgewood said. “We wanted to come out in the third and put the game out of reach. During the third, the goals just started going in and the guys rallied behind it.”
WATCH: SCOTT WEDGEWOOD POST-GAME
“We started out the game the right way,” said Olofsson. “The solid defensive play led to good offensive opportunities. Scoring a lot of goals is always a lot of fun, but the credit should go to our defensive play.”
Olofsson, who tallied his first goal of the night at even strength midway through second period, added his second 1:33 into the third while on the power-play. Following Simpson’s goal 1:17 later, Rochester, which was forced to kill a 5-on-3 disadvantage, scored a pair of shorthanded goals just 41 seconds apart as Olofsson completed the three-goal night with 12:40 left in the stanza.
WATCH: VICTOR OLOFSSON POST-GAME
With the hat trick, Olofsson becomes the second Amerk to net a three-goal contest this season (C.J. Smith) and first at home since Nick Baptiste completed the feat on Dec. 14, 2016 against the Toronto Marlies.
“This was my first pro hat trick and it feels really good,” Olofsson said. “Danny (O’Regan) won the 50/50 battle and he hit me with an amazing pass from behind the net. To cap off the night with a shorthanded goal, it feels good, too.”
The Amerks rounded out their scoring on the night as Randell tipped in a Jack Dougherty shot in-between the circles for his third of the season. Yannick Veilleux recorded the secondary helper on the marker, which made it a 7-0 lead.
WATCH: RASMUS ASPLUND POST-GAME
Springfield avoided its second shutout of the season as Mangene scored at the 14:53 mark, but the outcome was already decided as the Amerks cruised to a 7-1 win.
Following a scoreless first period, Wilson and Olofsson gave Rochester a two-goal cushion midway through the middle frame.
“I thought our response to Wednesday’s game and defensive play was awesome,” said Amerks head coach Chris Taylor. “The first two periods, we only gave up four scoring chances and two of those were while we were on the penalty kill.”
“The defensive zone play was really good for us,” Taylor said.
WATCH: CHRIS TAYLOR POST-GAME
For the 10th consecutive outing, the Amerks penalty kill did not surrender a power-play goal, which included a 4-on-3 and 5-on-3 disadvantage. Since the turn of the New Year, Rochester’s shorthanded unit has successfully killed 42 of 44 penalties in the last 14 games.
To conclude the first full week of February, the Amerks visit the Utica Comets on Saturday, Feb. 9 for a North Division showdown at the Adirondack Bank Center. The 7:00 p.m. contest can be heard live on The Sports Leader AM 950/95.7 FM ESPN Rochester as well as AHLTV.
ROC: Wilson (3), Olofsson (16 – GWG, 17, 18), Simpson (14), Asplund (3), Randell (3)
SPR: Mangene (5)
ROC: Wedgewood – 19/20 (W)
SPR: Driedger – 19/26 (L)
ROC: PP (1/4) | PK (6/6)
SPR: PP (0/6) | PK (3/4)
1: Victor Olofsson (ROC)
2. Scott Wedgewood (ROC)
3. Rasmus Asplund (ROC)