A late goal by the Providence Bruins (3-0-0-0) in the final minute of regulation ultimately proved to be the difference as the Rochester Americans (2-1-0-0) came up short in suffering their first loss of the 2019-20 season Saturday at the Dunkin’ Donuts Center.
Amerks forward Jean-Sebastien Dea scored his first goal of the season and as an Amerk while C.J. Smith also tallied his first of the campaign. Goaltender Jonas Johansson stopped 27 of 30 shots in his season debut but was dealt the loss.
Along with Oskar Steen, who provided the late-game heroics for Providence, Jakub Lauko lit the lamp for the first time of the young season while Anders Bjork rounded the scoring for the Bruins, who improved to 8-1-0-0 in the last nine meetings against Rochester. Netminder Max Lagace made 30 saves in the Bruins crease and pushed his record to 2-0-0 in his second appearance with the club.
It seemed the contest between Rochester and Providence was going to be decided beyond regulation with the score even at two goals apiece as the third-period clock was nearing all zeroes. However, Steen made his way in-between the face-off dots in the Amerks zone and beat Johansson with a shot with just 56 seconds remaining in regulation.
Rochester attempted to force overtime as they pulled Johansson in favor of the extra attacker, but the final push came up short as the Amerks dropped their first tilt of the season, 3-2.
Things started well for Rochester as they capitalized on their first power-play chance of the contest late in the opening period. Dea was sprung into the offensive zone from a Jacob Bryson outlet pass and gathered the puck at the blueline before tucking a shot under the crossbar with 2:05 left in the first frame.
The power-play marker from Bryson and Scott Wilson was Dea’s 200th professional point and first as an Amerk.
Despite trailing after the first 20 minutes of play, Providence quickly turned the one-goal deficit into a 2-1 lead as they tallied a pair of goals exactly two minutes apart as Lauko and Bjork found the back of the net prior to the 7:00 mark.
The scoring in the second period continued on the ensuing shift after Bjork’s goal as Curtis Lazar won a face-off to Smith to the right of Lagace. Gathering the puck near the hash marks in the Providence zone, Smith rifled in his first goal of the season to knot the score at 2-2 at the 12:20 mark.
The matchup remained tied until the final minute of regulation when Steen took a pass from Ryan Fitzgerald and gave Providence the victory.