Despite building a pair of leads, including a two-goal cushion in the first period, the Rochester Americans (7-3-1-2) were unable to stay in front as the Binghamton Devils (5-7-2-0) scored late in the third period before ultimately stealing a 4-3 win in the shootout Friday night at The Blue Cross Arena.
While appearing in their sixth game beyond regulation this season, the Amerks have earned 17 out of a possible 26 points through their first 13 games of the campaign. Additionally, Rochester has picked up points in eight of its last 10 games overall.
Forward Tage Thompson scored his team-leading sixth goal of the season while Curtis Lazar and Eric Cornel tallied their fourth and first goals, respectively. Goaltender Jonas Johansson (2-2-2) stopped 25 shots, plus three of four attempts in the skills competition, but suffered the overtime loss.
Brett Seney notched a season-high three points (2+1) while Ben Street also registered a multi-point game with two assists in addition to the shootout-clincher to give Binghamton its second straight win. Joey Anderson completed the scoring with his third of the campaign while rookie netminder Gilles Senn made 28 saves to improve to 3-2-1.
Following a timeout inside the final two minutes of regulation while trailing by a goal, Binghamton pulled Senn for the extra attacker. Rochester narrowly missed the vacant net with a shot, but the visitors raced up the ice before forcing overtime as Seney evened the game at 3-3 with 46 seconds remaining.
Neither team grabbed the extra point in the extra session and the shootout was needed to determine the winner.
Senn stopped all four Rochester skaters while Johansson made the save on the first three shooters he faced before Street snapped a shot over the glove to give Binghamton the victory.
Rochester opened the game with a pair of first-period goals from Cornel and Lazar to take a 2-0 lead after the first 20 minutes of play.
“I thought we played really sound defensively and within our structure, but I think we got away from that in the second half of the game,” said interim head coach Gord Dineen. “We scored both of our goals by winning puck battles and having net-front presence, but we got away from it as the game went on.”
Less than three minutes into the contest, defensemen Jacob Bryson and Will Borgen exchanged passes inside the offensive zone before Bryson escaped a Binghamton skater and wired a shot towards the net. As the made its way to Senn, it glanced off Cornel and into the net 2:14 into the game.
About 10 minutes after Cornel’s first marker of the slate, Lazar snapped in his fourth from Sean Malone and Jean-Sebastian Dea. Following Dea’s face-off win to Senn’s left, Malone stepped behind the net and pushed the puck to Lazar.
“It was a good play after an icing,” Lazar described. “Mugsy (Malone) made a great play getting the puck to me behind the net and I just flung it towards the net.”
With his primary helper, Malone extended his point streak (3+3) to a career-best six games.
“We started the game by playing simple, getting pucks behind them,” explained Thompson. “I think once built a 2-0 lead, we started sitting back and got a little too comfortable. We started trying to make things in the neutral zone and that is what feeds their offense.”
Midway through the second period, moments after Rochester was whistled for a pair of penalties, the Devils capitalized on the two-man advantage and made it one-goal game.
Binghamton pressed to find the equalizer, and despite trailing 2-1 after 40 minutes, they knotted the game at two goals apiece just 45 seconds into the final frame.
Shortly after Seney’s goal to start the third period, Thompson gathered the puck near the center-ice dot, stepped inside the blueline and handcuffed Senn with a perfectly placed shot off the crossbar to regain Rochester’s lead from Casey Nelson and Scott Wilson.
The score remained the same until Seney tied the game in the final minute to force overtime before the Devils completed the comeback in the shootout.
Rochester continues its three-game homestand on Wednesday, Nov. 13 when they welcome the Syracuse Crunch back to The Blue Cross Arena. Game time is slated for a 7:05 p.m.