Thanks to Michael Mersch’s (1+1) game-winning goal with 1:47 left in regulation, the Rochester Americans (5-2-0-0) pushed their win streak to three straight games with a 4-3 come-from-behind victory over the Belleville Senators (2-6-0-0) Wednesday night at The Blue Cross Arena.
With the win, Rochester has won five of its last six games and rank second in the AHL’s North Division standings. With four goals tonight, the Amerks have scored two or more goals in 17 of the previous 20 get-togethers with the Senators, which includes 12 games where they have produced four or more tallies.
With his game-winning goal, Mersch has goals in five straight games, which establishes a new career-high, and has also recorded 11 points (6+5) over his current five-game point streak. It his longest consecutive point streak since posting a career-best seven-game point streak from Mar. 27 to April 10, 2015 as a member of the Manchester Monarchs when he produced 12 points (7+5).
Jack Quinn, who was honored as the AHL’s Rookie of the Month earlier in the week, collected a pair of points (1+1) for his fifth straight multi-point performance to begin the season and to move into second in the league in overall scoring with 12 (6+6) through his first seven games. Dating back to last season, the Ottawa, Ontario, native has totaled 15 points (6+9) in his last 10 outings.
Mark Jankowski returned to the lineup after missing the previous three games with a lower-body injury and scored his first goal as an Amerk while Sean Malone capped the scoring as he netted his second of the campaign during in the third period. Oskari Laaksonen tallied an assist to push his point streak to four games while Casey Fitzgerald, JJ Peterka and Mattias Samuelsson also all had one helper. Samulesson made his season debut after he was loaned to Rochester in the morning from the Buffalo Sabres and missing the first six games of the season with a lower-body injury.
Goaltender Aaron Dell extended his win streak to three straight victories as he made 27 saves in his third appearance of the season.
Jake Lucchini (1+1) and Zac Leslie (0+2) both notched two points for Belleville, who dropped its fifth contest in the last six games. Mark Kastelic booked his second of the campaign after Roby Jarventie was credited with his first.
Netminder Mads Sogaard (1+2) stopped 20 of the 24 shots he faced but suffered his second loss of campaign after going 7-0-0 during the 2020-21 season.
Facing a 3-2 deficit 1:20 into the third period, the Amerks drew their fifth power-play of the contest early in the frame.
As Rochester was on the man-advantage, Mersch outraced a Senators skater to the boards at the right point before Peterka collected it and slid it to Quinn at the far circle. Despite Quinn momentarily bobbling it, he dished a back-handed pass in-between the dots for Malone. The Buffalo native stepped into the shot and rifled it into the top corner to even the score at three.
The goal was Rochester’s second power-play tally of the night and fifth in the last four games.
The two teams limited each other’s offensive chances during the rest of the third and it appeared the game was going to be decided in overtime. However, the Amerks used the momentum of a late penalty kill before claiming their first and only lead of the contest inside the final two minutes of play.
After Fitzgerald served a roughing infraction, the blueliner picked up the puck at the right point and spotted Samulesson at the far side of the ice. Despite Samuelsson’s stick snapping on the shot, Mersch gathered it and flicked it off the shoulder of Sogaard with 1:47 left in the contest.
Belleville pulled its goaltender to force overtime, but Dell and company held off the attack to complete the 4-3 come-from-behind victory.
Despite outshooting the Senators 12-3 for the first 17 minutes of the opening period and having the game’s first power-play, the Amerks went into the first intermission break trailing 1-0.
Belleville successfully killed off its own penalty before capitalizing on the man-advantage as Lucchini connected on a one-time feed from Leslie and Sokolov from atop the right face-off dot. The shot glanced off the top of the crossbar and in-behind Dell with 1:30 left in the frame.
Neither team generated many offensive chances in the second period until the two clubs exchanged goals 1:55 apart while on the power-play.
On Rochester’s tally, Laaksonen pinched down the right point to give the puck to Mersch parked behind the net. As he stepped out in front of the cage, he sent a cross-crease pass to Quinn at the far circle. The rookie wasted little time as he stepped into a shot and beat Sogaard to even the game at one at the 15:27 mark of the period.
Belleville reclaimed the lead 55 just seconds later as Jarventie steered in his own power-play marker at the 16:22 mark from Lucchini and Leslie.
The 2-1 score remained until 67 seconds into the final period of play as Jankowski scored his first goal of the season.
The Senators again responded on the ensuing shift, but Rochester netted a pair of goals to finish off the scoring and earn the 4-3 win.
The Amerks look to make it four straight wins on Friday, Nov. 5 when they host the North Division rival Toronto Marlies at 7:05 p.m. at The Blue Cross Arena. The matchup will be the second of six scheduled meetings between the two teams and will be carried love on The Sports Leader 95.7 FM/950 AM ESPN Rochester as well as AHLTV.