Despite erasing a 3-1 deficit with a pair of goals late in the game, the Rochester Americans could not complete the rally, falling 4-3 in overtime to the Binghamton Senators Saturday at Broome County Veterans Memorial Arena. The game was the first of two in a three-game stretch between the intrastate rivals, who will close out their season series on Wednesday night in Rochester.
Mark Mancari led the Amerks with two assists, giving the veteran forward eight points (3+5) over his current five-game winning streak on his way to becoming the first Amerk this season to reach the 50-point mark. The game also featured Matt Ellis’ first goal in a Rochester uniform, while rookie goaltender Nathan Lieuwen stopped 34 shots in just his second American Hockey League start. Maxime Legault and Zemgus Girgensons also scored for the Amerks, who have collected points in four straight games despite seeing their three-game win streak halted.
Corey Cowick scored twice for the B-Sens, including the game-winner with 58 seconds left in overtime, and Rochester native Shane Prince also netted a pair of goals to help Binghamton to its fourth win in its last five games. Nathan Lawson made 41 saves en route to his second straight win.
The B-Sens took a 1-0 lead midway through the first period when Prince slammed home Stephane Da Costa’s rebound for his 13th goal of the season at 11:13. Lieuwen made the initial save on Da Costa’s bid from the high slot, but Prince was there to sweep in the rebound for his first of two goals on the night.
Rochester responded at 15:50 on the power-play as Ellis’ first as an Amerk evened the contest at one apiece. Mancari moved off the left half-wall and fired a low wrist shot toward the net-front that Ellis was able to tip through the legs of Lawson to make it a 1-1 game. Mancari notched an assist on the play as did rookie defenseman Mark Pysyk, who now has points in back-to-back games for the first time since December.
The contest wouldn’t stay tied long, though, as Binghamton quickly regained the lead just 1:03 later after Cowick finished off a give-and-go with Dustin Gazley for a 2-1 advantage in favor of the hometown Senators. The play began with Cowick collecting a loose puck behind the Rochester cage and leaving it for Gazley in the left corner. Gazley, after eluding a defender, then made a quick return pass to Cowick, who slipped a back-hander through the legs of Lieuwen for the go-ahead goal.
Binghamton upped its lead to 3-1 with Prince’s second of the game 2:42 into the middle frame. A broken play deep in the Rochester zone turned into a scoring opportunity as an errant pass bounced to Prince in the low slot, where the rookie forward spun and snapped a shot under the left arm of Lieuwen. Da Costa registered his second point of the game with the lone assist.
The Amerks would remain unphased, however, scoring the next two goals 68 seconds apart to erase their two-goal deficit. Legault jumpstarted the rally with 15 seconds left in the second period, capitalizing on Nick Crawford’s rebound before Girgensons found the back of the net 53 seconds into the final frame off a feed from Mancari to knot the game at 3-3. Legault’s goal gives him three in as many games, while Girgensons’ tally marks his first since Jan. 4.
The teams would have several scoring chances throughout the latter half of the third period, but both goaltenders came up with key saves down the stretch to ultimately force overtime. The first four minutes of the extra frame saw the Amerks and B-Sens muster only a few shots on goal until Cowick somehow found a seam over the left shoulder of Lieuwen with just 58 seconds left in overtime to lift Binghamton to the 4-3 win.
Rochester brings the weekend to a close on Sunday, March 10 with one last go-around against the North Division rival Abbotsford Heat at The Blue Cross Arena. Game time is slated for a 5:05 p.m. start and can be heard live on Sports 1280 WHTK.