With a career-high three-point outing (2+1) by defenseman Casey Nelson and two third-period goals, the Rochester Americans (6-3-1-1) opened the month of November with a 4-2 victory over the Binghamton Devils (3-6-2-0) at The Blue Cross Arena.
By doubling up the Devils, the Amerks earned their seventh win in the previous eight meetings between the North Division rivals while also claiming a point in 17 of the last 21 contests dating back to the start of the 2017-18 slate. The Amerks hold a 13-4-3-1 record during that same span. Additionally, Rochester has picked up points in six of its last eight games overall to start the 2019-20 season.
As Nelson netted his first and second goals of the campaign to go with an assist, fellow defensive partner Will Borgen tallied a pair of helpers to help the Amerks earn 14 out of a possible 22 points through their first 11 games of the season. Remi Elie, who missed the last four games due to an injury, also tallied a two-point night (1+1) while Jean-Sebastien Dea netted his team-leading fifth goal of campaign. Goaltender Andrew Hammond snapped his three-game winless streak as he made 27 saves to improve to 4-1-1.
Binghamton forwards Egor Sharangovich and Fabian Zetterlund both found the back of the net for the first time this season while rookie netminder Gilles Senn (2-2-1) suffered the loss as he stopped 26 shots.
It wasn’t long until Rochester jumped in front as Nelson wristed a shot from the middle of the Devils zone at the 16:29 mark of the opening period.
“Sometimes it’s harder to play at this level, especially for defensemen,” said interim head coach Gord Dineen. “Here in the AHL it may not be as structured as it is more phonetic with more action, whereas in the NHL it can be more structured.”
“It can definitely be an adjustment,” continued Dineen.
Borgen and Andrew Oglevie both were awarded the helpers on the goal to give the home team a one-goal lead after the first 20 minutes of play.
The tilt remained a 1-0 score until Nelson struck again for the second time of the night as he lasered a shot from just inside the left point from Eric Cornel and Brett Murray with just over five minutes left in the middle frame.
With the secondary assist, Murray has recorded four points (1+3) through his first six games as a professional.
The Amerks carried the 2-0 lead into the final 20 minutes of regulation and upped the lead as Dea pushed in a loose rebound from the top of the crease at the midway point of the stanza. Borgen had the initial shot on the tally after Elie fed him just inside the Devils blueline.
Binghamton did not leave The Blue Cross Arena quietly as they spoiled Hammond’s first potential shutout as an Amerk as Sharangovich slipped his first of the season past the Amerks netminder with just over six minutes to play.
Moments after trimming the Amerks lead to 3-1, the Devils pulled Senn for the extra attacker but Nelson eyed his first professional hat-trick as he sent a long-distance attempt from deep in his own zone. The shot just missed the vacant net but Elie collected the rebound and tucked it in to regain Rochester’s three-goal cushion with 38 seconds left in the matchup.
“Playing on the left side makes it a little easier to score,” said Nelson, who also earned the first multi-goal game of his pro career. “When I did get the puck, guys were getting in the way and taking away their goaltender’s vision.”
The Devils made the game a two-goal game yet again as Zetterlund scored his first of the season, but it was too little, too late as the Amerks hung on for the 4-2 victory to start the month of November.
“Tonight we played to our identity,” said Dineen. “We realized they are a quick-starting team. We want to carry that tag ourselves as we are a fast-starting team. We want teams to know that we will come out and start the game strong.”
The Amerks close out the first weekend of November on Saturday, Nov. 3 as they head east for another meeting with the first-place Utica Comets at the Adirondack Bank Center.