Amerks stymied in Springfield, lose 2-0
(Springfield, MA) – The Rochester Americans (24-34-0-2) were unable to get anything past goaltender Adam Wilcox, who stopped all 26 shots he faced to pick up his second shutout of the season while leading the Springfield Thunderbird (25-26-8-2) to a 2-0 win Sunday afternoon at the MassMutual Center. The two clubs are now tied at 1-1-0-0 in the season series, with two more games left to play later this month.
Goaltender Linus Ullmark, who has started 18 of the last 20 games for Rochester, stopped 24 of 26 in the losing effort. The second-year netminder owns a record of 22-23-2 on the season. Defensemen Tyson Strachan and Brady Austin tied for the team lead with three shots on goal each.
The scoring was provided by Anthony Greco and Thunderbirds goal-scoring leader Paul Thompson, both of whom notched four goals in three games while helping Springfield complete the weekend sweep. Wilcox, acquired by the parent Florida Panthers at the NHL trade deadline, was perfect in stopping all 26 shots to record his first shutout as a Thunderbird and first since a 25-save effort as a member of the Syracuse Crunch back on Dec. 3, which was also against Rochester.
Just over halfway through the first stanza, Taylor Fedun was sent to the penalty box for hooking and Springfield would capitalize with the man-advantage. Greco received a pass from Kyle Rau off the right wing boards and one-timed the offering past Ullmark to put the Thunderbirds up 1-0 at the 11:15 mark. Greco’s 11th goal of the season was the lone tally until three minutes into the final period.
The teams traded power-play opportunities during a scoreless second period as both netminders combined for 17 saves, including 10 from Ullmark.
Springfield added some insurance early in the third period when Thompson and Dryden Hunt streaked down the ice on a two-on-one fast break. Hunt fired the initial shot, which was stopped by Ullmark, but the rebound sat in the crease, where Thompson tapped it home for his 15th goal on the season to seal the 2-0 win.
Wilcox stood tall for the duration of the contest as Rochester was shutout for the second time in its last five games.
The Amerks return home on Wednesday, Mar. 15 to square off against the intrastate rival Binghamton Senators in a North Division showdown at The Blue Cross Arena. The 7:05 p.m. matchup will be the sixth of eight meetings between the two teams this season and will be broadcast live on The Sports Leader 95.7 FM/950 AM ESPN Rochester.
SPR: Greco (11), Thompson (15)
RCH: Ullmark – 24/26 (L)
SPR: Wilcox – 26/26 (W)
RCH: PP (0/4) / PK (1/2)
SPR: PP (1/2) / PK (4/4)