Amerks Erase 2-Goal Deficit to Win in OTMar 24, 2017
(Photo Courtesy Micheline Veluvolu)
Rochester, NY- The Springfield Thunderbirds (27-27-9-2) could not secure a 3-1 third period lead, and a major penalty sparked the Rochester Americans (25-37-0-2) to a comeback 4-3 overtime win on Friday night at the Blue Cross Arena.
Springfield got some early offense from an unlikely source to take the early lead against a Rochester team that had just one goal to its credit in the last 13 periods of game action.
After pinching to keep some offensive pressure alive in the right wing circle, Josh Brown then moved to the front of the goal and got a beautiful cross-ice feed from Anthony Greco, and Brown settled it before beating Linus Ullmark over the pads just 4:23 into the period.
The rest of the first period went quietly, with the teams combining for just nine shots. Adam Wilcox only needed to make three saves in the first period for Springfield, and he did not have to make any on the game's first power play for Rochester after Sena Acolatse was penalized for roughing at 17:50.
The game's pace elevated strongly in the second period, with Ullmark and Wilcox trading saves on early chances, with no save more noticeable than Ullmark's breakaway denial on Greco.
At the mid-way point of regulation, the Americans finally broke into the score sheet on Alex Kile's first professional goal at the 9:42 mark. The 1-1 score, though, would only last for 67 seconds.
On a nicely orchestrated rush, Mike Downing hit Matt Leitner with a right wing feed, who in turn found a connection with Dryden Hunt on the left wing side, and the rookie winger one-touched his 11th goal of the season behind Ullmark at the 10:49 marker to put Springfield on top, 2-1.
Just 14 seconds later, persistent pressure from Chase Balisy and Jared McCann turned the puck over in the slot, and Balisy pounced to snap home his 14th goal of the season at 11:03, just 14 seconds after Hunt put Springfield ahead.
As the Americans struggled to find offense into the third period, it appeared Springfield would carry the game home. But halfway through the period, Tony Turgeon was guilty of a major penalty for boarding, which set Rochester up on a five-minute power play.
Derek Grant would make Springfield pay not once, but twice. First, he re-directed a power play goal through Wilcox at 11:04 to make it 3-2. Then with time dwindling on regulation, Grant batted a rebound out of midair on the backhand past Wilcox with less than three minutes to go to force overtime in a 3-3 tie.
After the Thunderbirds killed off an overtime power play for Rochester, the Americans stayed with it in the offensive zone, and Cole Schneider finally ended the festivities, beating Wilcox on a turnaround shot at 3:44 of the extra period to up Rochester's perfect 3-on-3 OT record to 6-0.
Springfield will return to the Blue Cross Arena on Sunday to close the season series with Rochester for a 3:05 p.m. ET matinee. Before then, though, the Thunderbirds will make the trip over the border for the second of two regular season matchups with the Toronto Marlies on Saturday at 5:00 p.m. ET.
Interested in being part of the next era of AHL hockey in Springfield? Springfield Thunderbirds 2017-18 Ticket Memberships start as low as $12 per game and feature the most exclusive benefits, including a commemorative jersey and brand new Collectors Mug. For more information, fans may call the Thunderbirds ticket office at (413) 739-GOAL (4625) or visit www.SpringfieldThunderbirds.com.