The Rochester Americans (31-25-5-3) erased a pair of one-goal deficits on goals from Brett Murray and Jiri Kulich, but it was the Cleveland Monsters (29-26-5-2) who earned the extra point by way of a 3-2 overtime win Wednesday night at The Blue Cross Arena.
Despite the overtime defeat, the Amerks have earned a point in 13 of their last 18 games, going 8-5-3-2 over that span. Rochester, who shows a 3-0-1-1 record in its previous five home contests, is tied for third in the AHL’s North Division standings, five points ahead of Cleveland, with eight games remaining in the regular season.
Along with Kulich(1+1) collecting his second straight multi-point outing, including his team-leading 22nd goal of the season, Lukas Rousek (0+2), who made his NHL debut Monday night with the Buffalo Sabres, also recorded a pair of points. Rousek has notched 12 points (4+8) over his last 10 games to take over the team-lead in points (51) through 63 contests. Murray (1+0) and Ethan Prow (0+1) each had a point as they combined for a goal and an assist, respectively.
Goaltender Malcolm Subban (17-13-4) made 23 saves but suffered the overtime loss in his 34th appearance of the season. Over his last six appearances, the Toronto, Ontario, native shows a 3-0-3 record along with one shutout.
Josh Dunne and Mikael Pyyhtia both scored in regulation before Cole Clayton capped the contest with his third goal of the season 59 seconds into overtime. Goaltender Jet Greaves (16-13-5) stopped 31 of 33 shots he faced to earn the win for Cleveland, who currently holds the fifth and final playoff spot in the North Division.
Midway through the final 20 minutes of regulation, the Monsters were whistled for a delay of game penalty while holding a 2-1 lead.
On the power-play, the Amerks went to work as Mason Jobst gathered a loose puck to the right of the goal crease. The Ohio State product rimmed the puck atop the point for Prow. After grabbing the pass and drifting towards the center of the blueline, Prow dished a one-time feed to his right for Kulich to rifle past the glove hand of Greaves to knot the score at two at the 12:15 mark.
The primary assist by Prow gives him 30 on the season, which is 15th-most in the league amongst defensemen and third amongst all Rochester skaters overall. Rousek, meanwhile, was credited with his 36th helper, which tops all Amerks.
As the third period was dwindling down and the score tied, the Amerks were called for a high-stick infraction followed by a delay of game violation 1:22 apart.
The Monsters called their timeout, but Rochester was able to successfully clear the first of two penalties before the end of regulation and the game tied at two.
To begin the overtime period, the Amerks had nine seconds of carryover penalty time and again, the club kept the Monsters, who entered the contest with the sixth-best power-play unit in the league, off the board.
After the infraction expired, Cleveland trapped Rochester inside its own zone and kept the tired bodies on the ice. After receiving a pass from his fellow defensive partner, David Jiricek, Clayton blasted a shot near the right circle to seal the 3-2 win.
The Monsters, who finished the game in the first minute of overtime, kicked off the scoring 28 seconds in as Dunne tucked a wrist shot under the crossbar after he received a feed from Jonna Luoto.
On the ensuing shift following its first man-advantage of the opening period, Rochester used a nifty display of passing before Murray evened the score at one at the 14:47 mark.
Following a scoreless second period, both teams scored in the third period before the Monsters finished off the win in overtime.
The Amerks continue their push to the playoffs on Friday, March 31 in the first half of a home-and-home series against the intrastate rival Utica Comets at Adirondack Bank Center.